Mark and I headed out of Florida- kind of… Our first stop on our way out of the state of mosquitoes and humidity was sleeping at a rest area in Lee. Then we hopped back on the good ole I-10 and headed to Tallahassee to work in a library. After work we continued westward to a Cracker Barrel in Covington, LA. We wanted to avoid New Orleans traffic and had both been enough times to not need to make it a destination on this trip. In fact we really didn’t have any destinations until Western Texas.
Texas, One Last Time
I hate Texas. I don’t like the weather. It is basically either nasty swamp, flooded coastline, or hot desert. I don’t particularly care for the people, and I absolutely don’t care for the laws and restrictions of the rights of humans who are not white and male. I could never like a place who elects leaders who don’t believe that I cannot make my own medical choices (even though my career is literally making medical choices for others). I am sure I could go into further detail but anyone who knows me already knows all of my political leanings and ethical stances. I did not want to go to Texas, in fact we have actively avoided driving through Texas in the past. BUT we have a goal to do all 64 of the National Parks while we are experiencing van life. Two of them are in Texas.
After a night spent in middle Texas, at a Love’s Travel Stop, after a 13hr driving day we finally made it into Big Bend National Park. We enjoyed a hike, rested at the summit and took in the sights. Made dinner and watched the sunset through the window view overlook. It was a relaxing sight of orange and red sky’s. We finished up our evening by heading to our camping spot in a nearby state park.
The following day we spent the entire day in the park. We hiked to hot springs that ended up being flooded so you couldnt get in them, got our feet stuck in mud, and saw a warning sign for quicksand ( which Mark has a fear of). We saw so many wild animals it was crazy! We saw a tarantula, donkeys, cows, javelinas, roadrunners, and a snake.
It was an active and adventure filled day. We left after dark and headed to a Pilot Travel Station in Van Horn. On the way it poured heavy rain and the roads even started to flood, but the sight of the lightning strikes over the desert was amazing. It reminded me of the power of mother nature and how amazing survival in a desert landscape can be.
The pilot left us with the worst sleep we had experienced in a while, then the laundry machine that caused us to choose that location was broken. We drove past our destination at Guadalupe Mountains NP into Carlsbad NM to do laundry, grocery shop and work.
Finally after a long day of errands we headed to the park in time to stop by the visitors center and do a hike. Our hike led to the Devil’s Hallway and we saw another tarantula on the way! It was a great hike up and down washes and trails. We finished just as the sun was setting and headed to a nearby rest area to settle in for the evening.
I had a really good time enjoying the two National Parks in Texas. So I still don’t like the state, but I certainly harbor less hate for it knowing that some amazing ecologists, biologists, environmentalists and such are trying to take such good care of our federal lands so that we can experience them and so that the local animal communities can continue to thrive.
As we move forward from Texas and into New Mexico, I am glad to go and I am not certain I will be back, but I enjoyed by time.