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Big Bend Day 6 A day at the Spa


Clouds with dark underbellies covered the Chisos mountains this morning. Our plan had included a hike on Lost Mine Trail—it is one with spectacular views of the mountains but hiking through fog and taking photos of fog was not appealing. Chilly gusts of wind sealed the deal—-it was off to the Hot Springs.

We decided to drive down to Desert Hot Springs. I remembered seeing cliff swallows in the past and I wanted more photos. This area was a resort area in the past with a bar/canteen with a fireplace  and a motel with about ten rooms.

Each room had a front and back door and a front and back window—no doubt for ventilation and access to the outdoor toilets.

A general store featured museum collectibles and necessities with mail coming from Marathon on a weekly basis. The storekeeper, Maggie Smith, delivered babies, performed weddings, and offered medical care along with the latest news.

The river bed has changed from the last time we were here. There are no longer thick reeds along the bank or naked Canadians. Mexican nationals spread their goods on trees and rocks with bottles and cans and cardboard signs with prices.

Across the river—easily waded—there are vehicles parked and mariachi music can be heard. I was tempted with the embroidered aprons and hand-made dolls—but that will have to be another time when I can cross the border with my passport and buy them legally.

Pictorgraphs and petroglyphs were on the walls of the canyon and as we returned to the parking lot we saw the swallows—up high.

The road there and back has either disintegrated in quality or my memory has faded; there is a large section that is one way with a canyon plunging on one side and canyon wall with vegetation on the other scraping the side mirrors. I wanted to stop for photos but stopping might mean not able to continue up the road—and so I took photos from inside the cab.

As we drove back along the highway, we could see dark clouds hovering over the Chisos—the site of the Lost Mine Trail—-I suggested an alternative—Grapevine Hills with the Balancing Rock.

Again my memory of this road had obviously dimmed as it was a roller coaster of a drive. The high clearance meant a lot of swaying as we rumbled over pot holes and rocks and washboards and washes. When we arrived, we were surprised to see half a dozen other vehicles already parked.

The first part is fairly flat and easy but the last part involves climbing over rocks twelve or fifteen inches or more. I got as far as the trail that involved climbing through two tree trunks over a pile of rocks. As my position sense in my left foot is not reliable, the muscles in that leg weak from the last surgery—I stopped at that point. We do have photos of us both standing underneath that balancing rock—but we both decided our hike was good enough for the day.

On our way back I was surprised to hear someone talking in the cab—that was not Glen. Somehow, he had managed to call the best man at our wedding who lives in Michigan now; I chatted for awhile and then we pulled over and they had fun talking over past events and future plans.

We returned to the cabin where I wrote postcards for grandchildren, we ate leftovers from our Starlight meal the previous evening.

Today’s step count 13,515 Tomorrow maybe the State Park. And mailing our postcards for grandchildren.

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