A day through Big Bend National Park… Texas

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

“…and lived in France for 24 years, so his English may appear a bit choppy…” quote “Brian”. Where is the smiley when I need one!

windows a

It is again the same mental scenario of overlooking what is under my nose. It is realizing that suddenly it is mid March and we will be out of here in about a month or so, depending on the temperatures. Where? Who knows… familiar areas again, as in Valley of the Gods, Utah, I know will be our first stop. There will be some Minnesota, Wyoming, Montana and everything else in between. I think we will be sociable and attend a couple Rallies which will take us East. I feel increasingly time spinning so fast, almost out of control and yet savoring every moment it is allowing us to pursue this Journey. I use to ask myself “is that all there is?”. That question is now extinct. Yes, that is all this is and it is a lot.

ocotillo b

ocotillo c  

Sometimes I want to do more yet. I want to be here and there, over and under, madness a bit as the brakes sometimes let me slip away out of control. Calmness I am finding out is the key to my own moments. That same luxury I keep bringing up over and over which goes hand in hand. Time… taking the time as it is the only path taken that brings us up, relentlessly to the sights never noticed before.

sotol look out b

Such was yesterday, the first day of the rain stopping. Suddenly, as on cue, the clouds parted reminding me that the skies have such a beautiful blue color to it, such a unique hue around this part of the country. We did not have a destination. “Park” was it and on we went after some lunch to hold us up for the duration. I say us, of course meaning also Spirit! I like Maverick Rd, but not this year! The washboard effect seemingly is always the cause of doubling a certain medication I take. So it was pavement to the intersection making then a right which takes us first to Sotol Look Out, one of my favorite space in the whole Park, specially at sunset.

sotol look out a

It was not as we had never been there before. We had never been there “yesterday” that is. All is always the same and yet never alike as us changing from moment to moment. We are so powerful as Mother Nature is, and yet so fragile amongst this World of ours filled with so much of what makes us whole. It was a fine day yesterday. Mind over matter they say, and the mind was fine. There was no rush, the days are now longer, we just lingered from point to point literally taking it all in as almost one square inch at the time.


It was so nice not to think! Just wander, look, feel, smell, as even Spirit was having a great time. I can always tell as when we ride and his head is over the windshield ahead of me, he is happy. Really happy with his cheeks flapping in the wind. Sometimes he turns around and looks at me almost saying “oups” and sits back a bit. It does not last long, within such short time again he is over the windshield! I often wonder how can he handle all this riding we do? Day after day, miles after miles I have yet to hear a complain…

flowers a

flowers b  

Spring is coming fast in Big Bend, along the vast curve of the Rio Grande river, specially after the recent floods the show should be soon in full strength, even more due to the much rain needed these past days. After Sotol Look Out I realized that sunset was a long ways away. The time change again has thrown me off, my internal clock is unable to keep up with any hands on any face turning to no end. The sun’s position guides me throughout my days, it has been already a good feel as sunshine is lasting so much longer.

flowers d

flowers c  

This part of the Rio Grande River we arrived at is the common place for everyone to see. But the Park is one million square miles, it is even with a fast car and the network of excellent roads, a distance from “anywhere” many do not undertake. There are no crowds, no long buses lined up, it is still quiet and desolate even if that day was a Saturday, which truly for us does not mean a thing. It is not a weekend destination. The Rio Grande flows from its headwaters in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado for 1,865 miles to the Gulf of Mexico near Brownsville, Texas. For 1,250 miles it is the boundary between the United States and Mexico. In a remote stretch in west Texas, right here, only a few miles from “The Oasis”, the river makes a curve to the northeast to form the “big bend.” It is here that the wild character of the river lives on.

santa helena canyon a 

santa helena canyon b  

I felt so humble amongst this body of water with such history, such meaning to the area and so within the grasp of Mother Nature when unleashing her fury. Yet, here was a narrow spring running down, maybe just a few feet wide and only inches deep. Just enough to cool off my feet through these boots of mine, maybe even clean them a bit. It does not look like much above, but I saw a lot right within a few square feet. It took me back to some long lost childhood times when playing with the little trucks and steel figurines when so small trying to cross the big river. This time however the toy was my camera.

santa helena canyon i

santa helena canyon e  
santa helena canyon c  

What a perfect layout I thought, even the little bamboo stick balancing itself only for that day as I knew the next wind would take it away and none would be the same as I was seeing it. The limbs from the near by destruction of the banks had decided to rest amongst themselves as a giant puzzle, this game I use to play when you throw the sticks down and try to remove them one at the time without disturbing the balance of it all. I have forgotten the name…

santa helena canyon g 

santa helena canyon f  

Again I could not set my mind on just one photo I liked better as I started starring at each of them realizing that even without the sounds and the feel of the mist they each represented a feel I could only share here. Flowing through a system of Desert Canyons, the Rio Grande offers his heart and soul for so many miles, and yet, for such a long time I felt this little off shoot was indeed his center of it all.

santa helena canyon j

I guess it is all how one sees things, how much time one has and how deeply involved the senses need to be to see it all. I know that I can go back tomorrow and all will be so different as it was the day before I witnessed this little bit of Magic. The day was moving on, I knew as soon as sunset arrives that the temperatures would drop dramatically, we still had a stop in Terlingua to refuel, a refueling averages about one hour. I was right! We bumped into some Blog readers from Florida which we had never met before, chat chat chat and cameras clicking, it was soon dark and quite much cooler when we arrived back at “The Oasis”.

BB Park c

I think the three days of rain and sitting still has given us a lot of positive energy, a real good outlook on things yet to come, a calm front that enables me to let time flow one moment at the time. It’s all good… We will be back to the Park, most likely without a doubt. It is the only Park we don’t have to deal too much about the anti-dog laws, Spirit of course has made many brown and green uniformed Friends!

BB Park c-2

Twenty nine months of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In “Your Favorites”, in “States”, some labeled “first year” and second year”, now also “Texas the third year”. Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun. Merchandise is also available through SmugMug. If you like to order prints, all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload them on the Galleries.

Internet connections, bandwidth, cameras, fuel… they are all part of this Blog allowing page after page to be published. Contributions to the site are welcomed always. 

Be well…

Ara & Spirit

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4 Responses to “A day through Big Bend National Park… Texas”

  1. texascindy Says:

    Although we have just returned from the Bend, your pictures make me already want to come back! Thanks for letting me see it through your eyes.

  2. Zelda Says:

    Dear Ara, Thanks for more wonderful pictures that human words cannot describe. They evoke the music of the wind, birds, water, and rustles from unseen creatures. I especially like your signature sun star pictures through tree branches, between rocks, etc. If you pass through Iowa on your trip North along the Mississppi we would love to put you up for a couple days of rest and refreshment. Just let us know.
    Pam & Randy

  3. M1tch Says:

    im enjoying the photos as always Ara, especially the flowers, as that is a sign of a new season and new life. i take a few photos of flowers myself. it need some patience if there is even the slightest breeze


  4. cityville Says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

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