Thursday, March 26, 2009
We just returned from a great trip with two other couples to Big Bend in Texas. Two of us took our RVs, and the third took their car. It was a good time to go, as the weather hasn't turned hot yet; summmertime heat down there can be brutal—110 to 115 degrees, we're told.
Big Bend, of course, refers to the bend in the Rio Grande that shapes western Texas. Travelers can tell they are getting close to the river by the strip of green that stands in sharp contrast to the barren, beige landscape. In the middle of a massive cliff is a notch that's visible from miles away; that is the Santa Elena Canyon, through which the Rio Grande flows.
We also spent time in Fort Davis, an old fort designed to protect a travel route against marauding Apaches who might be bent on stealing some of their land back. The fort is in the Davis Mountains, which is also the site of the McDonald Observatory, where we spent our first evening watching the stars on a perfect night. Our guide used a Star Wars-like laser pointer to show us Aldebaran, Polaris, Betelgeuse, Sirius, a passing satellite, and many other celestial objects. The laser itself was a wonder, as it looked like the fellow was scraping the stars.
On our first morning, our friends saw javelinas, but all I saw were some tame deer that seemed to have no fear of humans.