“Fresno” site, Mariscal Mines, Big Bend, TX

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

“Paragraphs of Daily thoughts, a bit of mental therapy, published weekly or so…”

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“Your Living is determined not so much by what Life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to Life. Not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens”
~ Khalil Gibran ~

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I keep thinking [I know I use that word a lot, that’s ‘what’ happens when…] I want to write about "Your Own Backyard". It has become important for me to do so, yet, I am a terrible, I would say "horrible" and "difficult" [I have been told so] Magazine type setting writer. So I am not going to attempt it as such, but I would like to take that direction toward the ones that do not have the good fortune of unlimited funds and time and vehicle to “Go Around the World” as today I call it “The Fashion”. I say because of others embarking on such ventures, yet they have never even seen their own Country, this one right here. I have been present into such category, have been since day one. Fuel as a dent as never before throughout present times. But look where we are. 3 million acres of Canyons, Mountains, a couple Parks, hundreds of miles of unpaved roads, some colorful and inviting little towns, and as if that was not enough, some incredibly Good Friends. So, no complains, no wanting to be there when here, within a short radius we would still need more than a Lifetime to explore this present area.

Mariscal Mines

Mariscal Mines in Big Bend National Park. Texas that is. The camp is set up. I look at Spirit while in the heat of the afternoon, he is laying on the only shade available as Crusty is facing west, he is on the east side. I wonder when he is going go get up and help me.

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So what are we doing here? About 40 miles of dirt, unpaved roads, sometime trails not that difficult, sometimes broken up, two wheel drive engaged the whole way. "Old Faithful" would have never made it even though we have been here before but the conditions were much better. There is a little breeze at times which feels good through my wet water soaked bandana. This is a few steps up the ladder above than "The Oasis" on the silence level. Nothing. Just rugged Desert with the closest Soul miles away as there is only one campsite the Visitors Center assign. It is called "Fresno". We are away from "away". No connections here, no help if needed, no water or toilets. Not a Soul. Only a SPOT and a SAT phone if needed. 

Music by “The Rhythm Hounds”, titled “Lover’s Rhumba”

Can be watched in 720p HD [settings]

I realized half way here having forgotten some items. I have a map (list) made per bag, but I realize today it is not going to be enough. I finally need a complete list. I am forgetting important items behind. "Crusty" has a center stand which can be used to change the pusher tire tube, but no jack to lift her for the other wheels. That is a very bad "I forgot"! The tires are knobbies, they are fairly new, I keep an eye on the sharp rocks and think positive I will not need one. I had to buy soap on the way. Again also for a flat tire needing soapy water. In case. Of course with no jack the soap is not going to help much. Forgot my towel, little table for the stove [rocks work also well], little broom and dust pan for inside the tent. I think that is about it. There might be more. We are too far in to backtrack. We are here for a few days, as long as our water last as we will leave with a full gallon. We carry 6 gallons. Plenty of food, no refrigeration needed.

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The chair is new. "Kermit" is about 20 years old, the wood has split, she is now semi retired staying behind at " The Oasis". This is an Exped sleeping pad actually, a Sim 10, rated at R9.5, meaning good for down to -54 degrees, and the XL chair slips on it and never needs to be removed. Too comfy! Puts me to sleep right next to Spirit who also has his own pad which doubles as the one in his car. The pad? Tarp? Exped again, called the "Multipad". Light, 4 stakes or rocks and is a no shoe zone. I use my tripod to lean on while I take my campsite moccasins off. Love the set up. Nicer than just a plain tarp as lined with some hard foam, easy on the feet. A slight luxury. 

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The sun is gone behind the hill where the mines, their building stands. There is not a single cloud up there in the skies which start turning from a blue to a pink and again blue a bit further up. This is what we are doing here. Contemplating this rugged Desert as Life itself is which has no forgiveness of error towards us Humans if unprepared. As much as I know this Park I feel like a stranger in a strange land. This space right here right now could be anywhere in the World. A couple signs directed us, yet, by ourselves there is such a strong feeling of being in the middle of a Land of Eternity as it was centuries ago. Unmanned, left aside for the few of us to sink in into it’s bowels of indifference toward us. What an incredible Backyard we have and most sadly enough for many which do not realize it’s grandeur offered for the taking.

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Desert! Nothing like it. Humbling.

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Good Morning World! Another Day. Birds and the crickets gone now quiet. Sunrise was magical even if not a single cloud. Cool as slowly the temperature is rising while Spirit and I are sharing the little bit of shade Crusty is for now providing. We both have had our breakfast. His Canidae, myself coffee and oatmeal. A short hike to almost the Mines. We will get up earlier tomorrow to get closer and take some not so harsh photos. We never did, as I add!

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Amazing how late winter is around here. These are almost summer temperatures for us. Sometime into the night a wind picked up and woke me up while listening to the tent sounding like unraveling foil. I stuck my head out refreshing myself with the cool air realizing how long also it had been since seeing such skies and stars almost able to touch them. Zero light pollution, brighter than ever almost as if combined they had the intensity of a full Moon. They did.

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For some reason, maybe "time", maybe this space, I feel as my own present has caught up to this real “now” present. Maybe that is why we are here, alone on this barren solitude. Oh! So much I miss my Boy, so much I want to pick up these rocks and crush them against the faith of Life, yet I know such would be so worthless. I can however look up these clear blue skies and smile even if a couple silent tears roll away as at the same time the reels of that joyful past replays over and over with more sound and sharpness than ever. What a Life. Has been and it is. Maybe too much awareness.

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This day is also ending. We have done nothing besides moving every hour or so to be in the shade from this harsh specially afternoon sun. Crusty did a good job I must say topped with my rolled up sleeping bag giving us an extra couple feet of the precious commodity. I read a whole book today. One of those I will never remember the title or author. Diversion, entertainment. I have about 200 of those in my phone. Ate, drank a lot of water, hiked a bit more, wrote and wrote some more of the items I forgot starting a list. 6 Years later, I knew this was coming.

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A motorcycle sound. Two. Friends riding West and East River Rd. Ed and Bob. Amazing to see them here. Company for a bit as they took off to finish their own Journey for their day back to Terlingua. Nice to be two as they are. There are definitely advantages and also compromises. On this terrain I think a second vehicle is of an advantage. I experienced help when coming back from Toroweap [isolated North Rim of the Grand Canyon] a while back and breaking a bolt which held the sidecar and no spare. We were two. Michael rode 120 miles of unpaved roads that day for a bolt and a nut! He then himself had two punctures and no compressor which I had. It finally rained on us and the road turned into a slippery mud condition. We camped on the side of that road for two days. Never leave your camp thinking you are going to make it back that day. Always leave with plenty of water and provisions. I knew that when it happened. That was “Plan B”. We did not need “Plan C” luckily.

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For more Information on “Mariscal Mines”

2 “2013” Calendars of the Best Photos taken these past 6 Years. One is of “Nature”, mostly “Sunrises” and Sunsets”, one is of course “Mr. Spirit and Old Faithful”.

Both available from Lulu

LuLu Journal

Calendar Nature

Spirit Calendar

Stay well… explore your “Own Backyard”

Ara and Spirit

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5 Responses to ““Fresno” site, Mariscal Mines, Big Bend, TX”

  1. Michael Says:

    I too remember our days behind the mud of Toroweap. It ended up being one of my favorite adventures. Tell Waldo Bob we’ll be back after Christmas.

  2. Box Canyon Blogger/Artful RV Adventurer Says:

    The bigger the “backyard,” the better.
    Keep on keeping on, Ara and Spirit.
    Box Canyon Mark… currently exploring the heights and depths of Zion National Park

  3. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Should be quieter times there for now. Enjoy, off season will make it even better. Ara and Spirit

  4. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Pretty much a highlight of these past 6 years. We will be awaiting for you two to also spend some bit of time here at “The Oasis”.

  5. Randy Says:

    All I can say is wow! Especially now that I’ve experienced a little of Big Bend.

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