A breather in Big Bend National Park. TX

Monday, January 20th, 2014

A continuous journal from the road which started in November 2006, roughly 2,700 days ago. At the present time, in between breathers, while editing our book “Freedom on Both Ends of the Leash”.

Sunset in Big Bend National Park, Texas-7 xxx

“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish – consciously or unconsciously – that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.”
~ Dean Koontz ~

Spirit xxx

Old Faithful xxx

It is a January morning at The Oasis. The roads for the coming months ahead are yet vague forms having not taken any shapes or even a faint direction. They are only still in my imagination as I know time has to march on before adventuring away. Where else anyhow would we want to go right now? We are both taking a deep breather between edits while realizing it has been three months when daily, hours on end, "Freedom on Both Ends of the Leash" was taking shape first writing it, then on already through two edits with also my poor editor who is trying to keep up with us. Sometimes one needs to walk away after having spent such time on one project. That is exactly what we are doing right now. For a week? two weeks? The calendar stares at me for a change.

Sunset in Big Bend National Park, Texas-10 xxx

Sunset in Big Bend National Park, Texas-9 xxx

For more reasons than one, lately "time" has been on my mind. That human concept. As the years go by, as one gets older, I am only guessing that the days move on much faster than ever. I will be 66 this year. It has been 10 years since Lance has passed away and a bit over nine months my Mother has. This is what every year January offers me. An Anniversary. I keep thinking 10 years. They have not been a blur, yet, they sometimes feel as a flash has triggered a fast forward momentum I have a hard time absorbing its grasp.

Sunset in Big Bend National Park, Texas-5 xxx

Sunset in Big Bend National Park, Texas.

Our breather is happening in the Big Bend National Park. My only thought these past days has been "We need to get away". A bit comical when The Oasis is already away from it all. Maybe a change of scenery is a more proper thought. So we are now camped on Grapevine Hills Road, coincidentally the same #3 site as we were last year. I also, as previously, forgot it is a double site and we have had a neighbor for a couple nights. A quiet one though. I did not mind. From Houston, another one trying to escape the constant urbanism for his three weeks of vacation while living in his van. Sounds very familiar.

Sunset in Big Bend National Park, Texas-14 xxx

The weather has been generous while nice and cozy in my -10 degrees sleeping bag and from Spirit? I have not heard a single complaint. I think he was also ready for the new smells away from The Oasis. Today I realized we have had a lot of comfort these past months. None compared to anyone living in a house, but quite different from here and it has taken me a day or so to rehabilitate myself. We have more sun power at The Oasis, not as much concern for water, I can build a fire anytime, the land line and the Internet do work well. The later, a nice aspect regarding the fact that they do not work here allowing me to do more reading, writing and use the cameras. As the past seasons have passed on, I have brought myself calling those ten acres our "winter home". There is no avoidance and such a concept which was out of place in years past today feels comfortable.

Sunset in Big Bend National Park, Texas-17 xxx

Sunset in Big Bend National Park, Texas-3 xxx

While here, I only wish there were some clouds in the skies. They do make for some nice photos, but they are absent these days. It is quiet as the space feels sacred. It is 800,000 acres staring at us from an elevation of 1800 feet by the Rio Grande to nearly 8000 feet in the Chisos Mountains. This park has always been one of the last remaining wild corners of the country. The least visited park. In fact, the early explorers finding this region so desolate, called it El Despoblado, meaning the inhabited land. Maybe that is what attracted me to come back over and over these past years. Nothing like it in winter times.

Makeshift grill xxx

Makeshift grill-2 xxx

Makeshift grill-3 xxx

Makeshift grill-5 xxx

Lamb chops xxx

Once again a couple days have passed on.  It is certain now. I could never go back to any other lifestyle. My neighbor has left for another location in the park and the nearest soul is miles away. I don’t know how to describe it, but I feel it. I feel the emptiness surrounding us even more so than at The Oasis. How could I ever trade this and the howling of the coyotes for urbanism?

Lamb chops and rice pilaff-3 xxx

Time stops. It does as we have gone nowhere. Yet. Probably tomorrow. I did cook however. Fires are only allowed in a an enclosed grill and I devised one with my bucket and slat grill. I used charcoal for the first time ever and it worked out wonderfully well while grilling these Australian lamb chops accompanied with a rice pilaf cooked with dried cherries. A salad on the side topped with feta cheese. Who needs a real kitchen? The next evening was steak and potatoes.

Steaks on the grill xxx

Steaks and potatoes dinner xxx

Seems we are tucked in a quiet corner of the park as yesterday taking a ride to Rio Grande Village we came across crowds present for a 50K Marathon. The run is all off road, starting on Glen Spring Road to Black Gap Road, down to River Road East and back up Glen Spring Road. They picked a good day as finally some clouds are making their presence, the temperatures should be perfect. We also came across a couple vehicles going around the World, both from Germany.

Travelers from Germany-5 xxx

Travelers from Germany xxx

Travelers from Germany-4 xxx

German travelers-2 xxx

German travelers-6 xxx

German travelers xxx

Nicely set up, a smaller Toyota Landcruiser with a nice cab in the rear and also the giant Unimog with its big cab. One couple, the one in the smaller vehicle seemed to be having a great time and very friendly, the other couple, not so. The Unimog is a lot of vehicle. It seemed as they were more on a mission than anything else. That is generally the case when heavily sponsored as we also met a motorcyclist not long ago with that scenario. He literally made me nervous. It is for them "work" versus pleasure even if it pays for their traveling. They become part of "the industry", a facet we got sucked in a few years back and exited when realizing the loss of freedom.

The skies at The Oasis xxx

The skies at The Oasis-2 xxx

Sunset in Big Bend National Park xxx

I think we will stay one more day here with a ride to Santa Helena Canyon and back. Finishing our book comes in and out of my mind as I also have to choose some photography and a couple videos which will be included on a DVD and with the digital books.  Plans being in Jell-O we never made it to the Canyon and we returned instead to The Oasis. More editing, that is indeed what has been on my mind.

2014 Happy Sunsets Calendar  LuLu Journal

2014 Calendar

Stay well,
               Ara and Spirit

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13 Responses to “A breather in Big Bend National Park. TX”

  1. Babs Says:

    Enjoyed reading your posts. Very interesting. Hope to keep up with you and your travels! Fascinating.

  2. Randy Says:

    Thanks Ara. Made my evening reading your post on a cold -5F snowy night In Iowa. I can’t wait until the next reasonably good day to mount the Northstar camper back on our truck. It’s those German vehicles that got to me.

  3. Old Fat Man Says:

    Right now I am 67 and last week I was 61 and quitting my last job. At least it seems that way.

  4. Ara & Spirit Says:

    I was 57 when we left… I was a young man? Stop by again sometime “Old Fat Man”… Ara and Spirit

  5. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Better do it now… Those vehicles “are” something else! Stay well. Ara and Spirit.

  6. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Thank You Babs. Was reading also your own words. Stay well. Ara and Spirit.

  7. Upriverdavid Says:

    MMMM…Your dinner menu looked fantastic……I’ll keep watch, maybe next time you are up in my neck of the woods, Idaho, Wa. Oregon. and Montana we can visit again.
    Take Care,
    David

  8. Pleinguy Says:

    I too camped on Grapevine Rd when at Big Bend. Wanted the site you had, but it was full with young rowdy folks. BB is indeed a peaceful and enjoyable place.

  9. Suzanne Says:

    Both dinners looked awesome. I gotta ask. Where do you get your proteins out there and how do you keep them refrigerated when camping? Coolers are so cumbersome/heavy and ice doesn’t seem to last very long after spring.

  10. scruffy Says:

    thanks again for sharing Ara ~ always a treat to read your latest post. How are you publishing?
    Love the quote above, speaking truth 🙂 Be well you two ~

  11. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Hi Scruffy… It will be both hard copies and Internet. Self publishing I think with a lot of help!!! It is just a book… Stay well. Ara and Spirit

  12. Ara & Spirit Says:

    Hi Suzanne. We have gone on for years now without refrigeration. All the info is in the journal and recipes. There is much protein without meat if you do a search. Refrigeration is much overrated. Stay well. Ara and Spirit

  13. Dave Parry Says:

    WOW! That’s me and my friend Jody in the pic of the giant German truck. This is crazy — I have read your blog for a long time and saw the bike in the dog in the parking lot across from the store, but I thought, no…… cant be. I wish we’d come talk to you. Finding this made my month. That was such a beautiful day.

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