The Daily – Shelob’s Maples

Thursday 4/25

Lost Maples to Amistad National Recreation Area, Del Rio, TX

While my image of Texas is dry, sandy cowboy eyes, I admit there is more to it. Anything that large has to have at least two things going on. I find that Texas has four things goin on– swampy swemps in the east, your standard fair cities in the middles, the hill country just west of that, and blazing dusty desert in its far western reaches.

So we left the cities for the hill country. Anyone from Appalachia would scoff mouthfuls of chewing tobacco and coal if they heard this name. Truly, they are more mounds than hills. Lost Maples may be the exception. This little haven is but a green blue ridge, with different trees. Namely, the scrawniest maples I’ve ever seen. Everything is bigger in Texas? However, as with elderly woman, the scrawniness of the maples only increased their appeal.

We woke in the valley, flanked by maple crusted hill country and surrounded by retired birders, roving in herds through the campground. We followed them into the mountains on a long, somber hike. We went up and we went down. The streams were full of fish, the mountain vistas full of trees, the rocks shaped like chimpanzees, and the snakes ungodly quick.

We drove out, trading our potential for kinetic, towards the Texas desserts. We stopped in Del Rio, Texas. Del Rio is one of many towns we’ve seen that appears to exist for no real reason, but it was hospitable nonetheless.

Of three campsites nearby, we picked the closest, a huge mistake. A barren field of sands,rocks, and grassy bits. We looped around seeking the best spot, though they were all the same.

Lukas slams the brakes. These are the brakes. Misguided excitement about the ‘sick’ ‘dope’ scorpion on the road ahead quickly becomes dread. Tarantula number one makes his entrance.

We drive away and nervously park. I demand Lukas guards my perimeter while I anxiously poop. We walk back to the car to set up our tent and there she is, Tarantula number two. Though our fear skyrockets, we leave her alone… until she starts heading towards slugger.

I’m sure she was simply seeking the warm embrace of sluggers exhaust pipes, as we all do, but… we couldn’t allow it.

Despite the multitude of tarantulas and the excess of wolf spiders, we slept with the arachnids, in the spider den. The google searches that ensued led to some crucial knowledge

In Texas, you are never more than 5 ft from a spider.

With that, we crossed Texas off the potentially habitable list.


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