Wednesday, December 9, 2015

You 682 - Big Bend, Pt 3

The last of Big Bend!

We packed up camp and did more hiking on our way out of the park. Surprised?

Sam Neil Ranch was first.

This desert oasis is so cool. Literally thick, lush vegetation in the middle of death. We wandered around watching for snakes. I took what I thought was a trail that would lead somewhere, only to soon realize it was a game trail at best. But I was still certain it led somewhere cool and continued to push thru spiked vines and whatever else got in my way until both Dylan and I were quite stuck and nowhere cool.

Morgan was smart and stayed back on the real trail.

Then more driving thru the park.

Until we got to another trail that I thought would be a good idea.

The Chimneys trail. Just a short 2ish mile hike to some cool rocks!

It was a bad idea. Completely exposed desert hike in the middle of the day with no change of scenery between the car and the rocks. I mean, the rocks were cool, just not hike along a rock path in scorching hot desert for over an hour cool.

Santa Elena canyon in the distance!

"This hike was unnecessary." Is what they're both thinking.

Then more driving along Ross Maxwell scenic drive until mile 0. "Did we just cross into Mexico??" Alerted Morgan as she flirted with the car brakes.

Nope. But we were close. Behold Santa Elena Canyon.

"Dylan, get back in the US!"

The original plan was to loop back to the park exit along the unpaved "Old Maverick Road", but there were warning signs at the beginning of that road cautioning against taking a vehicle sans four-wheel drive.

Raaaaaaats. I need four-wheel drive.

So it was back on the paved road and then hours of delightful desert scenery back to civilization and a post-camping hamburger.

At Sonic. Boo. But it was the first restaurant we came to and we were starving. They got my order wrong and I was slightly angsty but I've since had 5 months to recover so I'm over it.

And then we drove thru the Davis Mountains and by golly, I've found a part of Texas I truly love! It was so pretty! I took 0 pictures but drove with my mouth in a surprised smile for over an hour. Why must it be a six hour drive away?? This state is too big.

We took the long way home so we could swing by Balmorhea State Park and cool off in the massive springs there.

It was a good idea.

You'd think after frying in unforgiving desert for four days that we'd be ready to jump right into a cool spring-fed swimming pool. But we were not. It was chilly! And I painfully inched in, toe-to-head, instead of just jumping.

But after that it was great.

And lil fishies!

The drive home along I-10 was arguably one of my favorite parts of the week. From Fort Stockton to Junction, we sang along to the radio at the top of our lungs. Mostly Garth Brooks. And were as crazy and animated as three sisters can be while maintaining safe control of a moving vehicle, of course. I love that memory and those hours.

Morgan had to leave the next day, but not before we showed her Eisenhower Park and stocked her up on goodies from Trader Joes. And Taco Cabana.

The original plan was to get up early and check out some popular swimming holes in the area, but I realized the night before that they require reservations. What?? Texas. Stop.

Then Dylan left me for the summer. I was so sad! Extra exclamation points. She did spend most of a week hanging out with my dog all day and playing with him while I was at work before leaving, so that was nice. But I still cried as I watched her car pull out of my parking lot for the last time that Friday morning.

The night before she left we ticked one more item off her San Antonio checklist and got the HUGE cinnamon roll from Lulu's Bakery and Cafe. No, we didn't eat the whole thing in one sitting.

And that's a wrap to Big Bend and the summer with Dylan.

Have a great day :-)

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