Yesterday marked the first full year of my retirement. Living the life we love together brought our relationship even closer. Enjoying places we had not seen before makes us even happier. Meeting people from all walks of life makes us even more open. We are blessed to be able to enjoy nature (such as our yesterdays hike to the Chimneys) and will continue to "Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer" (John Muir).
The National Parks and especially Big Bend National Park are a paradise for hikers. After being on duty as campground hosts we are always looking forward to our off days and to hit the trails. Hiking is such a great exercise for body and soul and after three days of volunteering we fully agree with John Muir: "The mountains are calling and I must go."
Prior to starting our volunteer time at Big Bend National Park we had the pleasure of having a field day with Don, the park Geologist, introducing us to the geology of Big Bend (thank you Don).
Considered as a paradise for Geologist, some scientist disagree and look at this area of twisted and tortured rocks as a "Geologists Nightmare".
From 500 hundred billion year old rocks at Persimmon Gap to modern day windblown sand dunes at Boquillas Canyon, Big Bend shows a wide variety of depositional styles.
The images may only give you a reduced picture of the rocks that make this stretch of land "rock".
Most of all, Big Bend National Park allows us to reflect about the beauty of nature and how we are an integral part of it: "Rocks and waters, etc., are words of God, and so are men. We all flow from one fountain soul. All are expressions of one love" (John Muir).
Traveling from Fernandina Beach, Florida, to Big Bend, Texas, was a lesson in Small Town America. We encountered that it is alive and vibrant.
We had a chance to talk to some people and that is what they feel about Small Town America:
"We know our neighbors - so far as we have the right to know them. We hear of their joys and their sorrows, and hasten to make them ours so far as we may. Life in a small town is like a layer cake. One gets the whole of it, frosted top, lemon filling and all." (Laura E Richards)
The previous posts were about the places we went, the hikes we did, the mountains that surprise us still everyday, however traveling means so much more:
It is meeting new people and each time when we connect with new friends it etches memories into our hearts.
As Anna Sewell points out: "It is good people that make good places".
Yesterday we hiked the Window Trail a second time. After the recent rain it was a celebration of water.
Water that is:
"Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, whatever is done and suffered by her creatures. All scars she heals, whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts".
It is already more than a month that we are camp-hosting at Big Bend National Park. We are still fascinated by this wonderful piece of earth. We have encountered the rich green of the Rio Grande Valley, the heat of the desert and the stunning flora and fauna that can survive in it. We have cherished the endless vistas of the mountain region that offers new and unexpected views at every turn of the trail. On top of that, we have met wonderful people that come to Chisos Basin on purpose to follow John Muir's advice: "Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt".