Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Desert Hiking

I think K thought he was going to get away without a blog post on this one.  But, I'm never too busy to share a funny story involving my husband.  I'm so thankful that he takes my teasing in stride and for the way that he makes everything funny. . .

So returning to our trip to Big Bend.  The one part of our trip I left out in my last post was our ill-fated desert hike.  I mean, honestly, is there any other kind of hike through the desert at 108 degrees?

After a pleasant morning of hiking in the Chisos Mountains, K and I had lunch at the Chisos Mountains Lodge.  The night before K and I decided that in addition to hiking the Lost Mine Trail, we would also hike out to the Cattail Falls located off an unmarked dirt road in the dessert (what could possibly go wrong?).  We were hot and tired while eating lunch.  In a moment of  stupidity exuberance, K and I decided our morning hike would be much more fun if we turned it into a hike/run.  We were exhausted.  We sat at lunch like zombies barely talking, barely able to lift our food.  Then we hobbled our way to the car (to be fair, I was the only one hobbling) and began our drive out of the park.

This is where our accounts begin to differ.  K apparently left lunch with his mind set on the trail at Cattail Falls.  I left lunch fully intending to head straight for the hotel pool.  As we drove past the convenience store at the Chisos Lodge (the only one within about an hour's drive), K casually asked if I needed anything.  No I responded (unless they sell margaritas and have a pool out back).  And so we continued our drive out of the park.  I finally realized something was up when we turned off the paved road and onto a rocky dirt road that looked like it headed straight to nowhere.

            Me: "Um, K?  Where are we going?"
            K:   "To hike Cattail Falls.  It's going to be great."
            Me: "You realize it's 108 degrees out right?"
            K:   "It'll be fine. The hike is only half a mile."
            Me: "You realize we don't have any water."
            K:    "What?  Really?  You said we didn't need any when we were leaving the lodge?"
            Me:  "THAT was you asking if we needed water for an afternoon hike through the desert?"
            K:    "Um, yeah.  I guess so.  It'll be fine.  Look here's a bottle left over from our drive down."

K then produced a 1 liter bottle of water that had been sitting in our car for 2 days.  It was hot.  Like we could have used it to brew tea hot.  And so we began our half mile hike to Cattail Falls.  The only problem was the the half mile part of the hike turned out to be the distance from the end of the dirt road to the trail head.  We had another mile and a half or so to go before we actually reached the falls.

I really did want to hike to the falls, but I also really wanted to avoid ending up in one of those books about the ways people die in national parks.  After K assured me that no one dies on a three mile hike (even if it is over 100 and even if they don't have any water), we set out on our way toward the falls.

This is our trusty water supply.  Yes.  It's empty in that picture.  
See how K left me a little at the bottom.  He shouldn't have : )

In all seriousness, though, I'm so glad K's common sense prevailed over my irrational fears.  The falls were beautiful.  Well worth the hike.   And well worth putting ourselves in danger of heat exhaustion.

First, the desert turned into a lush creek bed.

Then, we saw the falls!  Like an oasis in the desert.  Literally.

If anyone reading this works for the national park, I promise we really didn't know there 
was a no swimming rule until we saw the sign on our way back to the car.

It was so amazing to see this little sanctuary appear out of the desert.  There was shade, lush foliage, and the water was cool and refreshing.  Such a special memory and well worth the hike!

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