Next morning we woke up to very brisk, very cold air and very deflated air mattress. At least Nora was a warm heating pad as she slept on top of me!
Bacon and eggs are our traditional first campout breakfast. Next to creosote, it is my favorite smell.
The Chisos Mountains are the mountains that form the Basin, the area we prefer for camping in Big Bend National Park. Peaks are over 6000 ft, the campground is over 5000 ft. From the basin, one can view the desert floor through the "Window" an opening in the mountains. Javelina, deer, skunk and even mountain lions and black bears roam the area, not to mention a horde of other little critters, insects, snakes and many many birds.
There are so many things I could write about Big Bend, but I guess I should recommend that you should go visit the place yourself sometime. I have been visiting the park for over 30 years. My mom has painted the Big Bend since I was a young teenager and even as an adult we would take the kids camping there every time we got the chance.
So we ate our breakfast, cleaned up camp then drove down the mountain to Boquillas Canyon. A short hike to the mouth of the canyon leads one past metates, holes made by native americans who ground their maize and mezquite beans into flour. They are found in the limestone near the Rio Grande. I asked Thomas if he wanted us to grind our grain that way, but both of us decided we are perfectly happy with our stone burr mill! The cold Rio Grande flowed into the mouth of the huge canyon, walls looming over us. The kids did their favorite thing, that is, climb up an enormous sand dune. Enormous. Humongous. Gigantic. Then fling themselves down, roll down, run down and get completely covered in sand.
It really is fun. But I decided against the flinging myself down the sand dune since we had several days to go until we met up with a shower. Maybe I should have. Talk about a wonderful exfoliation experience.
Anyway, after we had all the sand we could stand, we hiked back to the van, drove the 45 minutes back to the campsite and started making our late lunch, early dinner: lentil stew with homemade flatbread (thanks, Dad, for the use of the cast iron griddle!). Mom, Dad, my sister Christine and her son Jake arrived and set up camp with us. Yeay! They even brought Christmas decorations!
Another night of stars. I even saw a shooting one. Cold red wine in a jelly jar, long underwear and a visit with my sister sitting at the picnic table was a very good thing.
(a leaky air mattress is not, but c'est la vie!)