May 1, 2015 – Big Bend Rant

WARNING: This entry is a shameless promotion.  Not to my books or CD, but to the Big Bend region of West Texas.  I’ve been wanting a Big Bend fix this Spring, knowing the wildflowers were in exceptional bloom.  There’s been a lot of rain down there.  Just right.  And we’re going to missBBB it.  Too many weddings and showers.  This only happens every five to six years and when it does, it is phenomenal.  Texans take their Texas Bluebonnets for granted, but if you’ve never seen the Big Bend Bluebonnets in all their glory, you’ve missed out.  They can grow two feet tall.  About this time the Ocotillos should be blooming.  They make a firey red vision across the flatlands.

I guess all of this came to a head at Brandon Hankinson’s wedding last weekend.  Somewhere along the line I started thinking about all of the experiences our families have shared in the ErnstTrans-Pecos region.  I call Brandt, “Corky.”  That’s what his sister named him when he was still in his mother’s womb.  When Corky was five or six years old our families were on an Easter camping trip with several other families when we all hiked up to Ernst Tinaja.  Little Corky ignored the signs and fell in the tinaja.  Just like many a varmint and mountain lion before him.  Ann fished the little booger out of the hole, soaking wet.

Our kids grew up going to Big Bend and the Davis Mountains.  There is a unique beauty and serenity found in the desert mountains and along the Rio Grande.  They rode boats across the river and donkeys up to Boquillas to eat tacos and burritos.  They’ve hiked most of the major Windowtrails and a few of the least known trails.  I could go on about our many adventures, but that would digress from the point of this post.  I can do that later. Right now I want to encourage my fellow Texans to come and explore the Big Bend and Davis Mountain regions of Texas.  When we visit we see license plates from every state.  We hear all kinds of languages spoken, French, German, Chinese.  It seems like most of the Texans we meet are from West Texas and already know the land.

Fellow Texans!  Come and experience the desert mountains.  Sit in the cool grotto of Cattail Falls.  Stand at the mouth of Boquillas Canyon or slide down the sand slide.  Look down on the boulders at Santa Elena Canyon.  Get an ice cream bar at the Castolon store.  Take a side trip to Terlingua and sit a while on the porch at the Mercantile to take in the local music.  Cross the border to Boquillas for a little cultural exchange.  My favorite thing after a long day of hiking and driving is to sit at sunset in the Rio Grande Village campground.  I don’t watch the sun go down.  I watch the sun’s reflection on the bare limestone of the face of the Sierra del Carmens across the Rio Grande in Mexico.  It gradually turns from yellow to orange to blue to purple.  Just as it has for millions of years.  Come and see it.    There is so much to see and do!

You can go to Paris any time.