Friday, March 15, 2013

Big Bend Babymoon Bonanza

One of the benefits of working in a program that follows a school district calender is that, even as a grown-up, I still have a Spring Break.  And, luckily, Andyface had some vacation time that needed using . . . so we decided to steal away to Big Bend National Park in (very very) southwest Texas.  This is very likely our last grand adventure to precede the huge adventure known as parenthood.

Our original plan had been to explore the Pacific Northwest, a place neither of us have been, but are very interested in.  Unfortunately, what with the Sequester and all (what? you don't receive government funding for your vacations?), we realized we should downscale.  Next option was a possible road trip to the Grand Canyon, though if we made that drive, we'd barely have any time to enjoy the Canyon itself.  So, after kicking around a few more ideas, we landed on the winner: Big Bend National Park.  A mere 8 hours from home, cheap, and impressive.

I'd been with my family as a kid, but Andy had never been.  Despite that Spring Break is the busiest time of year for the park and all the reservable campsites had already been spoken for, we decided to try our luck and head that way anyway.  With a forecast of highs in the mid-70s and lows in the mid-40s, we just couldn't pass it up.

Turns out we were right.  It was an amazing trip.  So, I'll stop my blabbering and just show you what I mean.

This was our first night, in a little campsite just outside of San Angelo, TX.  Since we both had obligations on Monday morning, we left Monday afternoon and stayed halfway between home and our final destination.  It was a pretty quiet little park, and we were lucky enough to see about 20 deer grazing in a field across the road from our spot by the lake.  It was a special moment! 

After a good night's rest, we headed off to Big Bend.  Our first stop was to see the Rio Grande at Boquillas.  Look!  I can see Mexico from my house!  


I really wanted to go to Mexico.  (When I was there as a kid, my family went across in a rickety boat rowed by a Mexican national.  We drank some Mexican cokes in a cantina, bought some bracelets from kids on burros, and were back in time for dinner.  My one experience on Mexican soil--Andy wouldn't let me swim across this time).  

While down in Boquillas, we also met this guy (in his own words) "Victor Valdez, el muy famoso cantante de 'Las MaƱanitas' ":

I love the way his voice echoes on the canyon.  (I used to have this fantasy of being huge and playing my cello sitting on a mountainside, but after hearing that, I think my new fantasy is to play in a canyon.) Read more about Valdez and Boquillas here.   Interesting stuff.  Apparently, pre-9/11, it was legal to cross like my family and I did years ago.  Also, they're soon opening up another formal crossing there.  We should have bought some stuff to Stick It To The Man, but we did give Sr. Valdez a donation. 

 We climbed a mountain, too.  Lost Mine Trail.  The view was breathtaking.  Nature is awesome.   

The next day, we hiked up Santa Elena Canyon.  We came at the perfect time of day, just as the sun was starting to set.  The light in the canyon was so soft, and the shadows were striking, too.    

What a good looking fellow, enjoying looking up at the canyon. 

26 weeks! This was in our 7th mile of hiking for the day.  Not gonna lie, one of my favorite moments was when, on one of our hikes, a woman passed with a big smile, and said, "Wow!  You're brave.  Good for you!"  I'm hardcore, y'all.  

Perhaps my favorite picture of us from the trip.  Tired (we'd hiked 11 miles in a day and a half) and stinky, but happy. We were just about to head home, but not before stopping to enjoy some more of the scenery.  

It was a much-needed, and thoroughly enjoyed, vacation.  We learned a lot (it was only our second camping trip together, after all), and grew closer as a couple.  It was so good to be able to reconnect and remember why we love each other, especially as we are facing the big transition ahead.  

Finally, a shout-out to my sweet love.  Thanks for sticking with your preggie wife and taking those easy hikes nice and slow for me!  I love you!