Monday, May 31, 2010

Day Three

I got up at 6:30 and went for an early morning desert run. It was so amazing being all alone out there with just the road, the desert, and the sun casting a red glow on the mountains.

When I got back to camp, Dan and I had breakfast, then packed up and headed to Chisos, a part of the camp that's in the mountains. We arranged for a cottage at the lodge, but were told it wouldn't be available until 4:00. No big surprise. We gathered our gear, packed Audrey more securely than we had the day before, and set out on a hike.

We had a fine time going out because it was downhill most of the way. At the end there was a bit of a climb to a vista point, where we had Clif bars and water, and hung out for a bit.

Going back was trickier, especially the last mile, which was a steep uphill. By now it was pretty hot and I was sweating, so a cold bottle of water from the Chisos store was very welcome.

It was only one o'clock, and Dan and I sat down to ponder what to do until our room was ready. We were tired and dirty, ready to bathe and take a nap. Dan was especially anxious about his guitar, sitting in the hot truck, so I suggested he ask at the reception desk if they could keep it for him until our cottage was ready.

Surprise! Our cottage was ready for us early!

We drove up the mountain to our cottage and were completely delighted with it.

Audrey even got her own room!

So now it was time to shower, put things away, and just relax for a bit. After a little nap, we went down the hill to the restaurant, where we had dinner overlooking the mountains.

In the morning, we're going to go for a run, then head toward City of the Rocks to camp again. We'll stop in Terlingua on the way to check out the ghost town. I don't know if I'll have internet in City of the Rocks, so it may be Wednesday before I post again.

Day Two

I woke up early with the plan that I would go for a run. Unfortunately, Fort Davis is so small that I ran out of town pretty fast, and had to get creative to do even thirty minutes. It was a nice morning to be out and about, though.

Then it was time to pack and check out.

Audrey recalled all the fun she had at the hotel and she said good-bye to her a new friend she made while she was here.

Then we were off toward Big Bend!

Last year, Dan and I had scouted for acceptable campsites and settled on the Cottonwood near the Rio Grande as a good choice, so that was where we went first. We picked a site, and set up camp. Audrey helped pitch the tent.

Then we set off to do some hiking. Since it was midday and hot, we decided to stick to short hikes, of no more than half an hour. Our first was Tuff Canyon. Audrey went along for the ride.

We saw some amazing sights down in the ravine.

Then, as we were heading toward the lookout point, Dan asked, "Where's Audrey?"

"She's not back there?" I asked.

Audrey was gone!

We hurried back the way we had come and finally found her, alone and terrified, on the trail to the ravine.

We reassured her and apologized for losing her, then took her with us to the lookout point. She wasn't much interested, though.

She just wanted to get back to the truck so that's what we did. Then, to make up for all that she had been through, we took Audrey to the Castelon store where we gave her water... cream...

and a popsicle.

All was forgiven, but when Dan and I did our next hike, down on the Rio Grande, Audrey opted to stay in the truck. We didn't blame her, but she missed some great sights.

After the hike, we returned to our campsite, where Dan played some Frisbee with the guys in a nearby site, and I read a book about ghost towns of New Mexico. After awhile, a bus and some vans pulled in, with "Los Diablos Fire Crew" painted on the sides of their vehicles. We had seen these guys earlier overseeing a controlled burn, which was interesting to watch. They sure had their camping system down - pull in, clean their equipment, eat, then pitch their little identical tents and start snoring.

By now it was late and Dan and I were exhausted. I tried to stay up and read for awhile, but too many gnats were attracted to my light. I finally gave up and went to bed.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day One

I had planned to get up at six, but I found myself wide awake at 5:30, thinking of all the things I still needed to do. No point in trying to go back to sleep, so I got up and got to work. There was still some packing to do, and of course there were some things we had to do for the housesitter, like put clean sheets on the bed and clean the bathroom, that had to be saved for last.

We were on the road by 8:00.

Although it was an nine-hour drive to Fort Davis, we found it not as tiring as when we've made the same trip in reverse, at the end of our vacation. I guess one always has more stamina on the first day.

There's not much of interest one can say about a day on the road. When we got to Fort Davis, we got checked in to our hotel, looked around a bit, and then had dinner. The hotel restaurant was booked, so we had to make do with a Mexican place up the street. It was okay, but we've had better. I wanted to check out some of the gift shops, but it seems every retail operation in town closes at 6:00.

Our evening plan was to go to the McDonald Observatory for their Saturday night Star Party, but when we got there, we found it quickly filling up with noisy children. We were both in a contemplative mood, and we also worried that the program might end up geared too much toward the youngsters to be much fun for us. But when the skies clouded over and they told us they would have to resort to a virtual tour instead of actual observations, we headed back down the mountain. We'll come back some other time.

So now we're settled into our room at the historic Limpia Hotel.

We're pretty happy with our accommodations, and I hope to be able to browse some of the gift shops and see more of the town before we leave for Big Bend in the morning.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to post tonight - it depends on if we're camping or not.