Day 6 – Big Bend National Park
Total Mileage 1602.3
Today: primarily off-road trails
Brake light: off and back on again
Temperature: Frickin Hot
National Park # 3
Steve’s phone overheated so did I. I however did not shut down.
JESSICA: Today we explored Big Bend National Park, and some of the off-road and dirt-road areas on the western edge of the park. It was HOT out. Blazingly, blisteringly hot.
STEVEN: (dramatic music, rising from the depths of Hell, inharmonic minor chords building against the backdrop of screeching strings) The very Earth was ablaze with the minions of Satan as we ventured forth into the flaming nether regions of a primal dominion few would want to experience and even less would dare venture into!
JESSICA: It was never our intention to do any hiking, and thank goodness that was already the plan because even the one trailhead we walked to had heat advisory signs posted, and the recommendation that you be finished with the trail by 10:00 AM. We of course were at that trailhead around 2pm…
STEVEN: The oracles had spoken against our feeble attempts to cross the barren plains without assistance! The mortal limitations of our corporeal meat containers would be challenged beyond limit, as their signs portended. As the evils of the path might be shrouded be darkness or the sideways peerings of slanting sunlight, the morning time was favored by the hearty. Past that, no guarantees of survival could be made…
JESSICA: The Santa Elena Canyon hike is supposedly very beautiful – and it starts with having to wade through the Terlingua Creek to actually get to the trail. We watched two groups of women cross, in water up to their waist, and with much difficulty climb up the bank on the other side. One of them lost their shoe in the river mud. Pro tip – if you have to wade across a river where the bottom is clay, take off your shoes first. https://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/secyn.htm
STEVEN: Let not the beauty of the land entice you! Though filled with promise, a waterway as dark as the River Styx awaits your passage. Those too timid to entreat the gods of the underworld and those whose inner voices warn them to heed caution for their guidance huddle together with shared fear. Nearby, a display of the determination of the human spirit. Brave women, scoffing at the limitations restraining our limbs, engage the kingdom of Poseidon to sally forth! Pushed and tossed by the god’s hand, sucked under by his unseen behemoths, the brave Amazons struggled to the embankment where the primordial muck of creation awaited, eager to reclaim what had evolved from it! Victory! The women surmounted the obstacle, though not without costs. Small gurgles, blistering bubbles on the surface of the water marked the final resting spot of beloved footwear…
JESSICA: After pausing at the canyon and taking a plethora of photos, we continued driving, and came across Big Bend River Road. We could tell from the rudimentary park map that it was long, but given the general lack of cell signal couldn’t tell exactly how long, or what the expected off-road drive time was. Nor had we looked it up in advance. Being the brave souls that we are, (It’s not called HiJinx Adventures for nothing!) we tried it out.
STEVEN: We dared not linger too long lest the same creatures that tested our sisters turn their wrath on us. The view was mesmerizing and designed, we were sure, to serve as such bait as needed to delay our escape. Quickly, we recorded the view with our primitive digital canvas, and raced to our chariot to continue our journey. A quick look at the faded map in our possession gave us some hint as our direction but, nay, the muses of adventure, lacking proper contact with the heavens, failed to indicate the amount of sun needed to complete our endeavor. Still… the stirrings of our ancestors, who crossed mighty continents and populated an entire world, screamed to us to move forward! Move! Move!
JESSICA: Gorgeous scenery. We took the road fairly slow, and it passed through MANY river washes – it was pretty easy to tell that the road would be impassible if there was any sort of wet weather. Very glad we have the high clearance and the 4wd. After several hours on the road (we passed a grand total of 2 other vehicles) we finally decided to turn around. We couldn’t tell how much trail was still in front of us, and we didn’t want to do it in the dark.
STEVEN: Satan knew us well! The panoramas and vistas displayed before us were intoxicating! Caution, my friends, we took baby steps careful not to commit to dubious areas of receding rock and shifting sand. Our chariot… brave beast that it is, conveyed us easily above the shards of rock. But where were others? We had seen but a few since our journey began. Was this land totally barren? Had it consumed all who dared to enter it? And how far before we reached…..? Too many questions! Not enough time for answers! The sun began to fall in the horizon, as if retreating from some unknown danger to come. We dared not await that confrontation. With heavy hearts, we turned our mighty chariot and retraced our path to, if not complete safety, familiarity.
JESSICA: In looking up the trail after the fact, we made the right decision. The trail is 51 miles in total and the park recommends having a full day to drive the entire thing. On our next visit we’ll plan a bit better. https://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/river-road.htm
STEVEN: And wise we were to do so, as the muses of our adventure finally spoke and told us of the fate we had avoided. Had we continued, darkness would have surrounded us and our fate would have been sealed as the direction forward was seemingly endless! Still… the call to conquer it is strong. Perhaps another time… perhaps, Satan, another time.
JESSICA: Headed back to Buzzard’s Roost, an epic storm appeared to be blowing in – leaving us concerned that the tipi would blow away (it didn’t) and that we would be drenched (we weren’t). We didn’t however get to charge the jeep tonight, figuring that leaving active electrical out in the potentially pouring rain would be a bad idea.
STEVEN: NO! The demon of the underworld had not finished with us! We allowed ourselves to be seduced into calm on the familiar path back to our refuge when his bloody hand swept the desert, blasting earth and animal alike with air that was both afire and awash at the same time! We feared all might be lost, but it appears this was merely a reminder from the dark master of his power.
The chariot did not feed that night.
JESSICA: Overall, it was a great day! I’d do it again!
STEVEN: Though my manhood should shrink and withdraw into the safety of my mortal cavity with the possibility of repeating this adventure, my life mate appears to have brass ovaries.