The Daily – We Got the Bends

Saturday 4/27

Big Bend National Park to Marathon, TX

The lesser of Big Bends campsites, we decided we’d abandon our Rio Grande Village campsite in search of butter things. Our usually relaxed morning was hastened by a righteous ranger telling us our tents location would be irrigated soon.

How soon?

Well…the water should’ve been here 30 minutes ago.

We packed up quickly.

Rio Grande Village campground has a single, somber, sweet hike; A brief daliance across the pittance of a trickle called the Rio Grande (the snakes and fish there may disagree). We went up a mound and saw Mexico. She did not wave back.

At the top of the mound were a few informative signs with pictures of the view directly in front of the sign. This photo-of-the-immediate trend is common in national parks and redundant to me. These particular photos were taken by Bob Smith, a pseudonym no doubt. I forgive the silliness of the photos for the informative signs though, I  adore informative signs.

We rolled out of the campground and a few spiders hitched rides, refugees fleeing the irrigation. Resplendent with informative signs, the visitors center was rich with the smell of caucasians covered in sunscreen and all the eldery wore visors.

We approached the information desk and inquired about campsites. While we exchanged formalities and capitalist goods, I noticed his name tag. B. Smith.

Are you Bob Smith??


Sorry, I just noticed your nametag, we were on a hike this morning with pictures some guy named Bob Smith took.

Oh, those are mine. [insert rant about how he made a bunch of money from those and they used one in a brochure, even though he wrote a contract about single use, resulting in a spicey conversation].

Though I usually enjoy subpar photographers and old men with ponytails, we left with no desire to speak with Bob again.

[Bob did make one important contribution to our travels– he confirmed that our 8-legged friends from the prior night were tarantulas and that they have fatal venom. The venom is only fatal to rodents and, while bites hurt, they are ultimately unharmful to humans. Bob was adamant about this.]

We pishpasheddiscashed for 10 minutes and somehow logic’d ourselves into doing the most brutal hike in the park, starting around noon.

Emory Peak is one of the highest points in Texas and offers spectacular views. 7 Liters of water and five hours later, I can confirm. The views were good, the talks were nice, but the heat left us husky and inhuman. I won’t do it again. There are better views for better prices.

Defeated, we staggered into the nearby grocery store and mindlessly shoved ice cream into our face holes until we could speak again. The heat was brutal, the shade was minimal. Against all logic, we decided we had to leave. Headed towards some campsite near Marfa, we drove out towards cotton candy clouds.

We didn’t make it to our campsite because we found the Marathon Motel/ RV Park. I don’t know why we stopped there. Maybe we were just tired, maybe it was the cute adobe cottages, maybe it was th RVs. Any other time, we wouldn’t have stopped (RV parks are usually more expensive than campsites). Maybe it was because I saw a single tent.

Though I don’t know why, we did. We stopped and found out it was cheaper than we could have imagined. The sunset was perfect. The site was lovely. The chicken coup was nearby and quiet.

We waddled to the bathroom after our meager dinner and found ourselves surrounded by stargazing seniors with enormous telescopes and crimson red headlamps. The cult bid us goodnight and we slept in their warm red glow.


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