1.15.2008,11:48 AM
Desert Rats' Big Bend Adventure

I am.
I'm not.

One of the many lessons learned on this journey (after all, that's what my trips are: to explore and discover) was that nothing can express or convey the stark beauty, magnificence, expanse, and vastness in the Texas Big Bend region. Not just the national park, but the entire Trans-Pecos area. As a writer I try to convey not only what I see but how I see it; the mind's eye. I try to do the same with my photography.

Regardless, words and photography fall short of what exists there (and many other places). My ultimate joy is riding off-road through country like this. *That* is truly experiencing it. The only better experience is to live it; live there. I don't (yet), but I am grateful to the people who do and truly know this country in all its flavors, all the good and all the bad. And share it with me.

I am just a visitor. But just like the dream I had as a child of riding my horse around the country, riding a dirty bike around the country and getting out there off the driven roads is second best.

What I try to do here in my travelogues is to share what I see, what I know, what I experience and feel with others. In essence, everything channels through my fingers from my head as if it was the only way to purge it all from inside me. Yet I always long for more.

On my journeys and travels I prefer to approach and experience places as a blank slate. A huge white board where first impressions are painted and written all over it without the cultural and physical preconceptions. To me, this is how you experience anything in the moment; that first glimpse, smell, taste, melody. Because you experience it as it really is. Not a preconceived construction in your mind which filters out many impressions, objective and subjective. Many people arrive with so many expectations they shut themselves off from really experiencing anything.

I arrive as a blank slate, but it is soon layered with impressions, stories, facts, and history. One of my favorite curiosities is geological history. If you look closely at the land you can often times read its history like a book. For instance, the cliffs of Santa Elena canyon and the ancient volcanic beds near Study Butte are open books.



The vast vistas, geological history, abundant variety of land formations, and the peaceful solitude were sometimes overwhelming. Only because all of it is laid before you at once in its raw and unforgiving nature; there is no pretense. People treasure, steal, kill and die for diamonds and gold. But to me, what lay before me was more precious than any of that.



Many different perspectives can see the many facets of the desert and its cycles of life. It depends on how aware you are, how you look at them. And if you allow yourself to really see.



A travelogue of my experiences there over the recent nine days is pages long. I hope to upload them to a website in the near future. Also, in response to urging by many readers and fellow riders I intend to compile selected photographs and essays or reports of my adventures into a collection to publish in a small 'coffee table' format. The daunting task is choosing which photos and stories to include. If you have any favorites, feel free to comment. Input is welcome.

Meanwhile, check here on the blog site for updates or additions to the recent Big Bend adventure and the upcoming book. A link will be posted as soon as the website and pages are complete.

Meanwhile, ride safely. Look around you; experience and enjoy what you see. Nothing lasts forever.


Elzi on Sherpa in the Terlingua Desert. Photo credit: David

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posted by Macrobe
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