we are staying at a resort built in the 70s for golf enthusiasts. it sits nestled between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park; the adobe villas and old west styled saloon rooms are surrounded by mountain ranges that extend beyond the wandering eye.
we arrived in the sweltering heat of the evening, and took in strolls around the property. later we watched the sunset reflect off the hills in chihuahua, our neighbors to the south literally a stone’s throw away.
rising early the next morning, we met the outfitters from Far Flung Outdoor Center off the main road, then drove around 20 miles into Big Bend Ranch State Park. the twists and turns of boiling asphalt put us in a daze, the meandering of the mountainsides collided in our minds: walls and hoodoos and breaks in canyons all melted together in our memory.
a gravel lot appeared, and we left our vehicle to traverse to the Rio Grande River with the other patrons. unsure what to expect, the break between the river banks seemed small, more like a creek running through ranch land versus a mighty international border.
in Texas tradition, the water was murky and muddy… in all honesty the cleanest dirty water I have ever seen. recent rains washed off the mountain rocks and parlayed into the valley bellow, bringing the dirt and the sand and the leave behinds from the big horn sheep that dot the landscape. the mud on the bank was so thick and sticky our shoes were soon covered in a clay like slime that would become to define our access back to the world we had left.
for three hours we kayaked through small rapids and rocky river runs. without technology to enslave us, we could all finally just listen to the gentle stream, birds flying overhead, and wind blowing through the canes. the local geologic empire amplifying this world.
while floating and steering and swimming down the river, I often wandered how life was before all the border patrols. families literally split apart by only a simple creek. stores are sparse in this region, towns with more economy often hide on the southern side.
it was well past noon when we reappeared to our rooms, famished and swampy and smelly from the Rio Grande. food was stuffed into our showered mouths before we settled in for long overdue naps.
but make no mistake. we would not miss a Big Bend sunset.
the light encompasses our spirits, and drunkens our senses.
behold the great beauty of West Texas.