Big Bend: A Shared Experience

On our last morning at Big Bend, we decided to drive an hour west to the Chisos Mountains from Cottonwood. The park is huge, but the roads are so beautiful that an hour passes quickly. We chose the Lost Mine Trail, a 5 mile hike with 1100 elevation gain and stellar views at the top.

Legend has it that the Spanish found ore here on their search for gold and silver in the mountains. They enslaved the Chizo tribe, making them work blindfolded so that they couldn’t give away the location of the mine. The Chizos revolted, killing every last Spaniard and sealing up the mine. We didn’t find any lost mine, but we did see these scrub jays within 20 minutes of our ascent.

We also got to experience beautiful juniper trees on the trail. If our mead business doesn’t take off, there’s always gin…

It was a beautiful day for a hike and we were filled with gratitude for such a lovely stay at Big Bend.

We reached the top and got to experience the majesty of Juniper Canyon and the northeast rim of the Chisos.

We also made some new friends at the top who are also city shopping and hitting as many parks along the way; we hope to see them again as our paths cross soon in Carlsbad.

As we were descending, we ran into a guy we met while looking at pictographs in Seminole Canyon. He’s currently biking from Florida to Oregon and very, very tan.

Toward the end of our time on Lost Mine, we chatted with a 75 year old lady leaning on her walking stick. She hikes slowly while her 79 year old husband hikes to the top of whichever trail they’re doing. She waits for him after she does about a mile, and seemed to enjoy their new system, although she used to be able to keep up.

You meet really wonderful people on mountains. It kind of reaffirms what you’re doing too.

There is always a bit of alarm when you tell friends and family you’re quitting your job, giving up your apartment and living out of your car for six months. But people you meet on mountains smile knowingly and say, “Where to next?” or “Let me tell you about…” or “Have any recommendations for…?” Sharing experiences of wonder with strangers is beautifully connecting. In a world that stresses differences, factions, and fractures, it’s undeniable that nature brings us together. The sun illuminates every smiling face in just the same way, after all.

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