historical items; new knowledge; stats

My dad sent some pictures from some old trips – when I was young, and before I was born – to put my time in the great West into some historical perspective. I come by it naturally.

Thanks, Pops.

My mother remembers staying at the lodge at Davis Mountains State Park and finding (just by coincidence!) that my grandparents were staying there at the same time. I was either small or not yet around. Possibly the 1980 trip?

I also want to mention my gratitude for the state park rangers of the last few weeks who have answered my questions: about whose scat is so bright red and filled with seeds at Palo Duro (coyote), what kind of crystal I see in Big Bend Ranch State Park (calcite), whether that narrow little thing is really the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River (it is, narrowed by ill-conceived low water crossings starting in the 1930s, but they’re reforming their bridge system now), and what the low-forking maroon plant in Big Bend is (leatherstem, or sange del drago [dragon’s blood]). And so much more. Thank goodness for our park rangers; and thank goodness I’ll have national park rangers as well to thank in the coming future.

Leaving Palo Duro, I admit to being pooped by the mountain biking and the hiking. In the last two weeks, I’ve ridden about 70 miles (nearly 5000 vertical feet) and hiked about 15 (nearly 2500 vertical feet), Hops joining for every inch I’ve hiked. These aren’t huge numbers or anything, but they’re more than I’d been accustomed to recently. My left knee is swollen and stiff and I’ll be glad for a little time just doing very tame dog walks in the city.

hiking Big Bend

I met up with an old friend out here – quite by chance – with his mother, and the four of us (with Hops) did a few light-and-easy hikes, the only ones where dogs are permitted in Big Bend Ranch State Park. I am here in large part for the mountain biking, but I’m easing into it slowly, I guess. I’m working on a book review under deadline, and while I have these friends here I’m spending time with them. I’m a little anxious to get on the bike! But also luxuriating in the lovely expanse of time I have ahead of me. I can always ride tomorrow…