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Old 03-11-2012, 09:42 PM   #7
mudmullet OP
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Joined: Jun 2011
Location: South Texas
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Big Bend -- Life in the Desert

Thanks, guys. I'll have an installment on the River Road, too, as well as the old Maverick Road. The adventure has just begun.

After 11 hours on the road, we were pretty beat, but we started dinner immediately and rehydrated. We'd brought about 10 liters of water, and as soon as the helmet came off, the hat went on.

The evening was so pleasant that we decided to skip the tent and spread our bedrolls onto the tarp. Looking up, the Milky Way was a sight to behold. (My pictures of it didn’t take–all I got was a black screen.) While we were winding down, discussing the vagaries of life that only a father and son could find interesting, we saw two satellites and one shooting star. I made a wish. Before long, Dad was asleep.

Alone with my thoughts, they took me to the father who, two weeks earlier, used his pocket knife to rescue his son from a mountain lion attack here in the Park. I located the scimitar Dad had set down between the bedrolls, stuffed my flashlight under the front of my knit cap, and grabbed my new book to occupy my mind while I stood guard with 20 lithe moths. I couldn't swat them, and I couldn't squish them with a finger, but a quick closing of the book usually took care of four or five of them.. .

Life in the desert is rough–really rough. Mr. Santiago and Juan de Leon met their fates at the hands of other men. The people in the book, for the most part, delivered themselves to their fate, one decision at a time. I really recommend the book. It is a collection of third-person accounts of death and rescue in the Big Bend over the last 30 years. It tips you off on some of the mistakes people made, but it also gives you some insight into the heroic work of the Rangers. Those guys are champs.

That night, I read about four deaths in the area we’d traveled just a few hours before. An American couple that got in over their heads when they tried to walk out after breaking down. The other three were Mexicans–one of whom was a local from Boquillas.

I half expect an overweight, middle-aged American smoker, dressed in shorts, a T-shirt, and a baseball cap to go toes up in the desert, but one of these guys cashed it in only 20 miles from home. Not much of a home field advantage. The only survivor from those two events was a lady with a big hat, long sleeves, and long pants, who made a wise choice after her friend went over the edge. Although she was in flipflops, exercised regularly, and didn’t smoke, she decided to stop moving until it cooled off. I guess when you’re dodging bullets, a quarter inch is as good as a mile. For many, perhaps, our quarter of an inch is technology and our machines, and I kind of wished that we'd brought a bit more water.
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