After a great day, we had a Thanksgiving dinner of hot dogs with chili. I put a can of Minestrone soup on the burner too so we could feel healthy. It was very cold, and we ate heartily. We walked the kids up to the bathroom and back, and then we made sure they were zipped into their bags well. We stayed up for a while having adult conversation, but this required hats, gloves and coats. It’s a bummer you can’t have a fire at Big Bend, but it could be a disaster if you did.
The next day we drove to Boquillas Canyon. It is a beautiful canyon with the Rio Grande separating it into two countries. We started at the top of the canyon, and then we hiked down into it. It is only 1.4 miles round trip hike, and this is great because we could take our time along the river letting the kids explore. The way down is moderately steep and the kids could hike without assistance. It’s interesting as a parent to try to give instruction without imparting fear. Try it. Observe yourself and what comes out of your mouth. I think most of us live out of more fear than we realize. And it really isn’t productive at all.
All of sudden we were at the river, and I kept seeing the other side so close. “That’s Mexico, Mom!” Anna yelled. Weird. I could just walk across. No guards are there. It’s just a simple river border. It was peaceful, lovely really. I wished for one minute that all borders could look like that. And then I heard singing. It was a Spanish song, and the singer had a nice voice. I looked up and saw him up on a cliff on the Mexico side. Then we came upon his hat. There was some money in it, and I wondered what his life must be like to sing for money in Boquillas Canyon.
We moved along the river slowly letting kids throw rocks in the river, pick up sticks, and all the other ways kids explore. It’s actually fun for adults to do this too. You should try to throw a rock, play with a stick and twirl whenever you think about it. It’s good for your soul.
Once we made it to the end of the canyon, I was amazed at how the canyon surrounded us. It actually went on, but we would have to cross the river to continue. And that would be illegal. So we stopped and were in awe of the beauty of the rocky walls rising up around us. And then we saw it! Oh, yeah! The sand hill!!!!! I can hear you all saying, “What in the sand hill are you talking about?” There is a cave way up the canyon, and the whole way up is sand.
We all looked at each other, threw our bags down, and began to climb. Well, I really kind of stood there and watched with my sister-in-law because we were looking at our 3 and 4 year old girls. However, they had minds of their own because just as I turned to ask Mattea if we should let them follow the others, they were already on their way. She sat down and shrugged. I followed them. They were not very efficient climbers, but they sure had a lot of try. With every step, they both said, “Almost there!” over and over and over again. We climbed and slid and climbed and slid and finally made it to the cave.
The view from the cave was grand and made us feel taller than we ever could be. But, what good is a sand hill except to slide down? We took in the view for a bit, and then we were off. Pure delight registered on the kids faces as they slid, and I couldn’t wait for my turn. I didn’t quite go as fast as they did, but the fun was worth the sand collecting I did on the way down. The kids climbed up several times, and then we had to start back. We had plans for to go to the Hot Springs on the way back to camp, and we wanted plenty of time there to play and swim.
It was a short drive to the Hot Springs, and then we had to hike a little to get to the Hot Springs. As we hiked, we saw the old spa cabins. They were pretty rustic for a what I would call a spa, but I think desperate sick people came to the springs to get healing, not pampering. The Hot Springs area to get into is not very large, and there were a lot of people there when we arrived. But we are used to crowds, and we just barreled right in and found a good soaking spot. The girls began to go between the Rio Grande and the Hot Springs. It was quite a contrast in temperature! I felt like I was depositing a lot of Boquillas sand into the hot springs water. We stayed for awhile and then we hiked back out to our cars. As we were leaving, we were gifted with this. I will leave you with it too.
To be continued…