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Oct 05

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Day 2: Starry Night – Split Personality

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Last night I slept in my tent without putting the rain fly on.  The mesh that covers the dome of the tent let me go to sleep watching the stars come through, in a moonless sky.  The weather was just warm enough so that I could sleep on top of the sleeping bag.  However, as the night went on, the temperatures started to fall, but only enough to make me pull out a sleeping bag liner to crawl into.
The morning light seemed to have been in tune with the fact that today is Saturday, and took its time to arrive.  When I came out of the tent, the sky was covered in gray clouds, and a gentle cool breeze was blowing.  I prepared my breakfast, which consisted of freeze dried eggs, ham and chillies, and one of my few luxuries of the trip, a cup of espresso.  After that, I did remember the ranger’s warning yesterday that today we might see high winds and rain, so I put the rain fly on the tent, and added more stakes to my set up.  By then it was time to head to the park headquarters to take the guided tour into the canyon, which is the only way visitors can see the pictographs and rock art which make this area famous.  Our guides were a men and a woman who drive here form San Antonio during the weekends, to relief the park staff from this duty.
A steep trail leads into the limestone canyon.  Once you get to the bottom you are met with numerous pools of emerald green water, which host all sorts of creatures, including tadpoles and water beetles.  A brief climb into chambers carved by nature into the rock brought into view red, black and ocker images of shamans with their arms lifter up to the skies, and covered with skins and fibers that made them resemble moths and bats.  Figures of mountain lions, half gorged with blood, gigantic centipedes and hand prints completed the scene.
From there it was back to the top.  As we climbed up to the canyon rim, a noticeable cool breeze hit us in the face.  Shortly after that, the wind picked up and the drizzle started flying horizontally.
I sat in the headquarters building for a while and then decided to ride the motorcycle back to my campsite At this point the wind really picked up, and the drizzle was covering everything, soaking my clothes.  It was time to move the the de-facto refuge in any park, the bathroom.  There I sat for quite while, until a gentleman from North Carolina came by.  We started talking and it turned out he is a retied IT man.  As we exchanged stories, I was amazed to find out how many of his challenges are mine, the only thing that has changed is the underlying infrastructure.
I was bored of hanging out in the bathroom, and was wondering if my stakes were holding up the tent.  With the drizzle having stopped it was time to move back.  Thankfully everything was as I left it.  So I crept into the tent and spent the next hour hearing it getting whipped around, while I read through “The Just Church” by Jim Martin.  This book, produced by Gary Haugen and International Justice Mission, is one I have been reading for a while now, as I face the mental, and spiritual challenges of what is now my five year walk in the fight against [modern day] slavery.

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At some point the winds calmed down enough to where I decided that could attempt at least part of the hike that I had planned for the afternoon, the Rim Trail. This was an awesome walk, along the edge of Seminole Canyon, where one can see the smooth, deep depression of the canyon, encrusted with emerald pools and trees and bushes that latch onto the precious treasure of life, water.  On the path I encountered many a fascinating creature.  Top of the list was a gorgeous brown and golden millipede, but also some amazing fossil shells, which someone had graciously incorporated into a cairn.  However, it was in the plant life where the split personality of the desert made itself evident.  While the expected sotol, cacti, and lechuguilla were all there, the landscape was pepperd with yellow and orange lantanas, bright purple blooming cenizos, and golden parasitic plants that lay on top of their hosts like string of spaghetti. What a treat.
So now it is 5:30 pm, and I am feeling hungry.  In a while I will make a pot of freeze dried Jamaican Chicken and then head to sleep. Tomorrow I am heading to Hueco Tanks, near El Paso, where the weather promises to be better.     

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jaderiderjourneys.com/2endslavery/2013/10/05/day-2-starry-night-split-personality/

1 comment

  1. Armando

    Awesome report! Way to go Sobrino!

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