Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jan 24 - Chisos Basin

Some nearby wildlife was responsible for the only sounds heard last night through the open windows of our bedroom... accompanied by a light cool desert breeze. In the desert, wildlife prefer the cooler nights to hotter days, apparently true even in January when daytime temps have been in the upper 70s. The big waxing gibbous moon softly lit-up the surrounding Chihuahuan desert, giving it the appearance more of a dream state than reality. It was a night conducive to deep long sleep... a fact confirmed by the 9am start-time for the first pot of coffee this morning.

The complete solitude of a campsite is something we look forward to. Not all the time, mind you... but on a regular basis it's nice to get away from the close quarters, the barking dogs, the "security" lights, and the social activity of the developed campground or RV park. This is about as close to nature as you'll get without backpacking in to remote primitive spots in wilderness areas.

I was happy to see the repaired tire on the toad was still holding air, as was Dar's front bike tire which I also patched yesterday (another danged sand burr!!). The plan today was to head up to Chisos Basin Lodge, one of only two spots in the Park where we could find a wifi signal and connect up with the internet and the outside world. While we were at it we had a delightful lunch and met an even more delightful young woman who was managing the restaurant. She worked for the Park Concessionaire and moves around the country to various National Park assignments. Her goal is to live simply and inexpensively, stay out of debt, save money, and live life on her terms... and to experience as much as she can of the different places she's working along the way. The concept is so refreshing and makes so much sense (it's been our motto for years) as long as there's only a tiny fraction of the US population doing so. If large numbers of folks caught on to this secret, and started living this way, our economy as we know it is doomed.

Chisos Basin is an ancient caldera, or volcano crater, that was active some 400 million years ago... give or take a hundred million or so. In the photo above an active imagination can see the complete volcano mountain as it existed before eruptions and erosion wore it down. The caldera is now called Chisos Basin, one of the 4 activity centers around the Park and the home of the Chisos Mountains Lodge. There's also a campground which is only appropriate for very small rigs, and a number of trail heads. Rain that falls in the basin has only one way out... through "The Window", an eroded wedge-shaped notch in the west wall of the basin. 

Since we still had much of the afternoon we found a couple shorter trails and exercised some long rested hiking muscles. It was another day we'll remember for a long time.