I will keep this post short. We have just arrived in Austin after cutting our trip short by two days. The heat at Big Bend National Park was so unbearable that we were confined to the shade of our campsite making us realize that we are done with the wild. We crave the comforts of civilization. We crave the comforts of our home. We crave the company of our family and friends. Luckily, Scott and Sebastien have received us with open arms and we are now enjoying their magnificent home. I will make sure to share some pictures in a future post. The pool! The view! Incredible! Now we just need to wrap up our affairs before we can fly homewards. Just a couple more days!
Our visit to Big Bend National Park took us within a stone throw of the Mexican border. This also ensured that we had to pass through two border patrol inspections. A rather unexpected and intense experience as we are now travelling on expired visas and therefore had to provide full documentation regarding our application to have our visas extended. Luckily, the two border patrol officers in charge of our inspection turned out to be quite amicable and rather pleasant. Regardless, being inspected in the US continues to be an unpleasant experience for us. It just feels like you are exposed to arbitrary that can take a bad turn at any moment. Having Benni and Alex with us seems to help, but it’s a feeling that we simply can’t shake off. A police force with such extensive rights as in the US is simply scary!
Our week in bullet points:
- We visited Carlsbad Caverns National Park. This gigantic cave located 250m below the surface was simply other worldly! Mieke and Benni toured the big room of the cave, while Alex and me hiked back out the natural entrance trail. We had to split because Alex was so fascinated by the echo in the big room that he wouldn’t stop singing and shouting. While entertaining this was rather a nuisance to the other visitors. Despite separating we all had a fantastic time. Another must visit should you ever travel a similar route!
- We stopped over at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Initially surprised, what qualified this mountain range to be a National Park we discovered that the park once upon a time was a reef and therefore specked with oceanic fossils and a most unlikely vegetation. I made sure to hike to the peak of the Guadalupe Mountain (2667m), the highest point of Texas (13km, 914m elevation gain). Unfortunately, only upon my arrival did I discover that there was a mail box from the US postal service located at the peak. It would have been great to send our remaining post from here!
- We spent a night in Davis Mountains State Park, before arriving at Big Bend National Park. Confined to the shade of our campsite Big Bend turned out to rather be a disappointment. It was simply to hot to do anything (@Gabriel – even hotter than Joshua Tree NP)!
- To break down the drive to Austin into two more manageable stints we stopped over at Seminole Canyon State Park and enjoyed the vista from our campground. In the evening we were surprised to see the countryside turn into a spectacle of lights – thousands of fireflies were dancing around us.