[Part 2: Day Three]
We spent a long night on the Southeast Rim of the Chisos, in which a zero percent chance of rain turned into a very light drizzle and the wind blew so hard we each thought we were being stalked by mountain lions, we awoke right as the sky began to burst with color. This was our last day to hike through the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend, and we had six miles ahead of us hrough the Laguna Meadow trail, thankfully mostly downhill, before beginning the next part of our West Texas Adventure.
Bethany and I huddled up in a sleeping bag on the ridge to watch the sun come through the mountains and low clouds. The morning was cool and the sky went through so many color changes in that first hour of light. Ryan pulled breakfast together and we ate like champs – old bacon, almond butter, fruit, rice cakes and trail mix.
The sky turned a brilliant blue as the sun rose higher and the moon was still visible, nearly full. We explored our campsite more, hopping along the cliffs and marveling at the sheer scale of everything. Ryan wants to come back and climb this:
If you ever get a chance to go, request campsite SE3 as your first choice for backcountry camping. This was our complete view from the site:
As we began packing up camp we had a visitor. A brave female deer came into our camp and spent a while nuzzling the prickly pear fruit and grass. She walked through our tents and wasn’t afraid when we approached her slowly. She seemed curious and we felt honored. She even posed for pictures.
The day began to heat up and we were ready to get back on the trail! Our plan was to hike out of the Chisos, over the South Rim Trail and the Laguna Meadow Trail, then head southwest to Big Bend Ranch State Park to check out the Rio Grand River.
This was Bethany’s first major backpacking trip, and it was by no means an easy little hike. She was awesome. We hiked so hard and her pack was so heavy, I just want to say, Bethany, you killed it, and I’m so proud of you. I had such a great time on the trail and camping with you too! I can’t wait till we do it again.
Hiking along the Rim is one of the most beautiful trails I’ve ever experienced. On the right are lush ecosystems and bright wildflowers while on the left the cliff falls over a thousand feet into a vast grey-green expanse of hills and mountain ranges that extends miles into Mexico. I was in sheer awe of the splendor of this place, and how remote we’d become, throughout the entire excursion.
In planning the trip I was nervous about going to the desert in September. I thought it would be impossibly hot and rather miserable. But in the Chisos we were high enough that the weather was perfect. The nights were cool and breezy and the day was warm enough for us to work up a sweat without getting scorched. September is also a perfect time to see the wildflowers bloom. And…There were many varieties of fascinating insects to see too. Like this Texas Brown Tarantula that was hanging out in the middle of the trail. So big he’d barely fit in my hand – definitely the largest spider I’ve ever seen.
So after many miles climbing up into the mountains we finally began to head around and down into the basin again. The landscape changed and changed, ever interesting and beautiful, but already I missed the huge view of the world from up high. And I wondered, what if I love to climb and hike because of that view, that when achieved, makes me realize how big and magnificent the world is and how I’m just a tiny slice of it. Perspective.
We made it down! And just as we arrived at the trailhead that zero percent chance of rain turned into a massive downpour right over the mountains we’d just traversed. Perfect timing! We made a snack and packed up the car and began the next leg of our journey west to the border and Marfa.
To be continued…