More from Big Bend "State Park". Tx

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

There was a true sense of well being when arriving at the Park, meaning an important aspect for us, everyone is Dog Friendly, real friendly. I get so tired of the eyebrows rising when mentioning Spirit. I agree with the National Park and their rules and regulations, but I do not care for being felt like a convicted felon when spoken so harshly about their “dog laws”. I don’t know why the Park Rangers have to conduct themselves in that fashion. I realize they have had most likely some bad experiences, like the story surfacing lately of the little poodle that was tied to the picnic table while their owners went for a hike and found only the leash hanging upon their return. Maybe Dog owners need a license just like driving! Pass a test of some sort as I feel so often paying the price for ignorant owners. They have actually lost many visitors, that is the National Park, because of that fact. More and more I meet people not wanting to ever go back to the National Parks for those reasons as I met a few at the State Park. Their motto is “if my dog cannot go we will not go”. Big Bend is already the least visited Park… The State Park? I think 300,000 acres will be plenty for us quite often when camping out in their space.

spirit c

spirit b  

Faster than anytime before, I set up camp when we arrived. It has become, I realize, second nature to live within the vast spaces I seek for and make ourselves comfortable at the same time blending in. Cooking apparatus laid out, gathered some dead wood for the fire and on for a hike we went. It is silence within those grounds as away from it all only reachable through the long dirt road now behind us till our exit. Spirit really surprised me and all is due because of being at “The Oasis” lately. He is never on a leash here, I always have a visual contact meaning if I am inside he will be also, and he was also off the leash at the Park with the same 24/7 attention on him. I don’t really believe in training a dog, but I realize that I have, specially those weeks spend here. He understands everything that I say to him while hiking, such as “come”, “stay”, “stop”, “sit”… “no” and specially the word “treat”!!! No fool… So this was a real nice experience for us with much more freedom to hike around a bit more freely, specially when taking photos.

road f

I feel, as even though a New Year is only the continuation of the present moment, a unit of time needed to keep society’s passing by in a timely fashion, I feel a change. The Journey has been such a multitude of layers we have one at the time peeled away never looking back for the ones now vanished. I feel as getting through another one at these later times. I know it has a lot to do with our short outing to the Park and January being such a hard time bringing up such a somber Anniversary. Time is an element I like having lots off… as I sit here feeling these couple days were only a tease. They were actually besides going somewhere we had never been before, a test of our equipment for the months ahead. So I do now have a long list of what was missing, including replacing those cheap tent stakes as every single one now bend, luckily with no bruised fingers. Maybe a folding cot to get me sleeping off the ground as I was thinking… 60 + = cot!!! That is in years of course…

packed b

But besides it all, even as the packing was not yet what it should be, there is a new feeling without any diversity, maybe it is the same feeling which has only strengthen, its main path being “we belong to the road”, there is Life on the road, it’s pulse is felt every second as gliding with ease from one wonder to another. It is my only savior from the obscure thoughts that often surrounds me at this time of the year, ironically after spending good times with such close Friends. I sometimes feel why could I not be like most and a bit more stable, as I finally realize the fact that it is my element, my comfort zone and the path we will no deviate from as long as the weather cooperates and so does my health and Spirit’s also.

road b

road e  

I love it here at “The Oasis”… I love it out there in the other many “Oasis” waiting for us to reach. It has almost become a need, a medicine of Life not expecting anyone to understand it, as long as it keeps the future path balanced within its well oiled gears. We really did not do much those couple days besides riding around, stopping for short hikes and taking some photos of what I thought will retain the memory of the moment.

flat tire a

flat tire b  

A great moment was after sunrise finding the sidecar with a flat tire! I thanked my great teachers, Pete last summer in Utah and Paul, right here up the road, for making this repair such an easy one. Of course I found myself then without a spare tube and appreciated what I had read on the Park’s brochure “Bring two spares…”. I am ordering two tubes now! A back up of a back up, always good to have.

nest a

nest b  

Unfortunately besides coffee I did not cook anything! Still full from the lunch in Presidio I munched a bit on my eternal “24/7 stew” left over brought with us and some bread, realizing how relaxing this space was around a little fire and Spirit by me, staying warm as the coolness of the night was descending on us. More of the same the next day including a nice long hot shower unlike the ones I take here. So long that I started feeling guilty about my usage of water realizing how true it could be that the average American uses 225G of water per day. That is about our usage in one month. The lodge which includes a men’s and women’s bunkhouse, very clean by the way, also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as long as they know more or less how many. I decided to splurge $10 the last night for dinner, the food was excellent… so good that I had double helpings as it is buffet style and forgot to take pictures!!! Grilled chicken smothered with cheese and bacon (sorry Dr!!!), great rice, cole slaw, pudding for dessert, ice tea… and interesting people to sit with and chat while eating.

kitchen a

lodge a  

It was time to leave, pack up, find a different place for some bags, reshuffle it all, it is starting to make a bit of better sense now as I do have to keep in mind that it will at times of course rain on us. There is always seemingly too much room and at the end never enough. The laptop and its peripherals and the camera with two lenses themselves are taking up much space. Cannot leave those behind. Food in two little coolers, one cold and one dry goods with cooking gear also is a bulk. Cannot leave these behind either. Change of clothes is three sets not including hot and cold weather, laundry once a week is a must. Spirit’s food get pricier as I cannot carry a big bag, smaller ones being more expensive. Water and fuel, not filled at all time but their containers still even empty taking up much room. It all works out at the end when ready to leave with nothing behind, obviously. Camping for just one night however is truly much time consuming to set it all up and repack within 12 hours. In real good weather overnights are just the bivi bag with sleeping bag and pad on the side of the bike, Spirit on his comfy cushion in the sidecar, coffee easily unpacked in the morning, maybe a breakfast bar and there we go. I have only done this for gazillion years, it seems as I enjoy finding new ways every year which turn out to never be much different than the previous one! All mental.


road b  

A “blonde” Javelina…

rocks a

We know the Artist… don’t we?

rocks b  

I could not tell what those were. They looked like quartz eggs, hollow, really beautiful. There were a few placed on a big giant rock on its ledges and I put them back after feeling the enormity of their age. I like it when I find out that others have been respectful also and have left such artifacts behind where they came from, where they belong, within their “home”.

wagon a

food shark  

“Old Faithful” and “Spirit” decided to stop at the “Food Shark” again while coming back through Marfa. I had to oblige them and force myself to eat my favorite “falafel” sandwich. Being New Year’s Eve we met many from out of town, always interesting to find out what people think of their residence in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas or Austin. But the greatest news are down below…

beware of this dog 87 Pit SI

There is 22 years passed between these two pictures! We all know the stigma associated with Pit Bull’s. I was myself told to be insane to take Spirit on the road as we are for the past 25 months. This is sweet “Jasmine” above on the right, a front cover that has just come out a few days ago, something I am real happy about. We all know about “BSL” (Breed Specific Legislation) against Pit Bulls. In Aurora for example, a suburb of Denver, they will come to your house and take your Pit away… period! We all know, should know, that it is the owner and not the dog. The article is fantastic, you can read the complete story here and hope that if any amongst you had any doubt on the goodness of Pits, it will make you change your mind. As I quote “”Of all dogs,” says Dr. Frank McMillan, the director of well-being studies at Best Friends Animal Society, (where Spirit and I have visited) a 33,000-acre sanctuary in southern Utah, “pit bulls possess the single greatest ability to bond with people.” Yes…

Till next time…

Help us keep the site alive. Please contribute… The logistics of it have become costly. It is an open book, its pages for the taking with always the hope that you will support their presence.

Two years 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 a print all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload on the Gallery.

Be well…

Ara & Spirit

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6 Responses to “More from Big Bend "State Park". Tx”

  1. jerry Says:

    looks like you and spirit are having a great time.Happy New Year to you both
    and thanks for the fantastic photo’s , Big Bend is a fantastic place

  2. genete Says:

    Thank you for adding in this article. I really enjoyed reading it & it made me cry. I am so glad that so many of these dogs were able to be helped. Enjoy Spirit & all the love he has to give you!!

  3. Colorado Kid Says:

    Hi Ara and Spirit,

    I live within a few miles of two national parks (Arches and Canyonlands) and never visit because of having dogs, you’re right about the attitude of the Park Service, it can be very Nazi like. Too bad, as there are owners who are responsible, yet everyone suffers from a few bad apples. I’ve often dogsat for friends so they could go to the parks, but everyone generally just ends up hiking elsewhere, it’s not worth it.

    As for Pit Bulls, I’ve only seen good ones, and yes, the owner is who makes the dog bad through cruel treatment. I think of you and Spirit and it makes me very happy that you found each other. He’s one lucky pup!

    Love your blog, just such a sense of peace about it, I return to it when I’m feeling uncertain, it always centers me. May you guys have happy trails for 2009.

  4. Richard van Zyl Says:

    Your journeys only inspire me to get out there and ride. Thanks for the great entertainment. I wish for you both many many safe and happy miles in 2009.

    As for pits. I know a few and love them all. Any breed imitates its owners and they only want to please their owners. You get what you breed I am afraid. Bad owners = bad dogs.

    Love your blog. Keep writing.

  5. Sandra B Says:

    Ara- love your blog as usual. I actually wrote the National Park service after our visit on their unwelcome policy for dogs. We probably won’t be going back there as it doesn’t make sense for us…..where we go – so do our dogs about 98% of the time. I feel sad for so many aspects of how we have structured the world. I don’t know what can be done…but I just keep on hoping for the positive to shine forth and doing what I think may help, where and when I can.

    I hope 2009 is full of good things for you, Spirit and all the rest of us too.

  6. Denise Lopez Says:

    Ara, finally grt a chance to say hi and happy new year. Just went thru your archives and got a chance to see the picture of my dad and grandfather, if you remember my fiance and I were able to purchase a picture of yours back in Alpine, for the Alpine gallery fest. We really admire the photo and will always cherish it, it was a pleasure to meet you, and hope to run into you again.

    P.S. my dad owns a pit bull, that was inherited to him by one of his dear friends, and I can tell you that she is one of the most behaved animals I have encountered, may god bless you and wait to see more photos

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