Sleeping in a van in near 100-degree weather may not be most people's idea of a babymoon, but oh god is it ours. We had an amazing trip to West Texas last month. It was *almost* too hot, but did not ruin our time. We were so excited for the trip that we decided to leave "after work" instead of the next morning, and by the time we actually packed and left it was around midnight. We stayed overnight at Enchanted Rock, and made the rest of the drive the next day. We stopped in Marathon to see if we could catch our friend Richard at Eve's Garden where he often does work, and sure enough there was his truck parked outside. Richard is the original owner of our van -- we bought it from him a couple years ago. Finding him at Eve's is exactly what we love about going out there, and the best example of the indefinable magic of that area. With no phone call or texting ahead of time, we rolled into town and found our good friend within minutes and picked up like we'd seen him yesterday. We chatted for awhile before getting back on the road to Big Bend.
Aiming to go to the hot springs in the south of the park, we went right down toward the Rio Grande, followed the bumpy dirt road to the parking lot and found the trailhead. It's about a 1/4 mile walk to the springs and along the way there's an abandoned post office and pictographs on the cliffs above.
It's eerie, especially after dark. We heard the river water lapping ahead and knew the springs were around the bend. The water in the square hot spring fed pool was HOT indeed, and after a long drive it was glorious to soak in. We decided we'd return the next morning to see it in the light, and made our way back down the trail. Here are some photos from the next day when it was light out:
Back to that night. At a certain point, Ryan was walking ahead of me a bit and I was breaking flashlight etiquette by shining the light only at my feet. All of the sudden a RATTLE sound emerged - loud and close. Ryan had stepped on a stick that startled the snake, which was right in the middle of the trail. Inches from us, until it slithered into the brush, rattling the whole way. My first rattlesnake siting, I've been waiting for this terrifying moment since moving to Texas over 6 years ago, and in my confusion I still didn't process that it was a real-ass rattlesnake for a good 30-seconds. It stayed close enough to get a blurry photo of before we scurried back to the van, laughing and "Holy shit"-ing the whole way.
The rest of the trip is a blur of more hot springs soaking, star gazing, swimming in the Rio Grande, a night in the State Park listening to the cries of a baby bobcat, a stop in Terlingua, foil pack campstove dinners, and granola & Jetboil french press coffee breakfasts. We spent our last evening in Alpine dancing the Cumbia and bid farewell to Richard from there the next day.
It was amazing and beautiful and probably our last road trip as a twosome. It was just what we needed. And plainly, I was proud of my 7-month pregnant body for allowing me to hike and swim and play in the mountains. Sleeping in the van took a bit of a toll on my back and hips, but for the most part fears of my being totally uncomfortable did not play out. Thank you, desert, for one last hurrah. We can't wait to return with our babe next time.