12.05.2007,8:27 AM
Winter in Big Bend: Prelude

A world all of itself.
Quiet. Vast. Timeless. Primitive. Raw. Harsh.

Desert. Mountains. Canyons. River. Endless sky.

The power and source of our beginnings.

And endings.

I submit to thee.

Everywhere I go these days announces the coming of the holiday season: Christmas. For several decades I've harbored an aversion for this time of the year. I see it bring out the best and worst of people. Like dueling extremes of our humanity. The only real solace during this holiday time is either with my daughter or sequestered away in the middle of nowhere. Alone. Away from the rampant commercialism, crowds of stressed people, redundant X-mas music, insane traffic, and gluttonous binges.

Since my daughter is unable to visit from the Pacific Northwest, I will succumb to the calling: Big Bend, Texas. Nine days in the desert, canyons and mountains will be my present to myself. Yes, I freely admit the selfishness and self-indulgence, but it's cheaper and more effective than therapy. It is my therapy.

Loading camping gear and the Sherpa into the truck, the ten hour drive down to the northern Rio Grande will be anticipation in motion. Like a lost bird migrating home. This trip will fill in two holes from my introduction, the March trip, to Big Bend: Santa Elena Canyon and the Chisos Mountains.

At the end of a gravel road in Big Bend National Park is a canyon that haunts my days and nights. The Sherpa will easily navigate the Old Maverick Road to Santa Elena Canyon. And Pinto Canyon Road, another anticipated gravel ride northwest of the park between Ruidosa, on the Rio Grande river, and Marfa.

After examining the topo maps last night, I decided to extend the hike up into the Chisos Mountains to a two-day exploration, camping on or near the South Rim. It will be damned cold up there at 7,400 feet. I never denied that I was insane.

Preparing for this trip occupies my mind every day. Anticipation grows. A part of me is already on its way. The rest will follow in two and one-half weeks.

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posted by Macrobe
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