Backcountry Camping

The southern part of the park was calling our names: we wanted to see the Rio Grande. In addition to seeing the great dividing river, we heard there was a natural hot spring to check out. We picked a backcountry site 7 miles off the main road near the Rio Grande and the hot spring, a win-win.

We had read that the hot spring was a popular destination in the park. Online reviews warned that it would be crowded. Luckily for us, we found the spring empty, a glorious sight! The stone tub of 104-degree water was directly next to the rushing Rio. Nicholas flopped back and forth, enjoying the brisk current and steamy springs. He even crossed the river, wading chest deep, just to step on Mexican soil. Our 40 minutes of solitude was interrupted by twins and an old nudist couple. On our walk back to the car, we discovered small animals made out of twisted wire and beads with a money jar set beside them. We assumed locals set up the trinkets, so Nicholas stuffed five dollars into the jar and purchased a rainbow-beaded roadrunner, now a decoration in one of our cactus pots.

We bumped along the dusty road to our backcountry site, eventually arriving at a spot surrounded by rocky desert and mountains. Night was falling fast so a quick meal of rice and beans was prepared. The hot air became cold as the noir shades were painted around us.  The full moon made its tired way above the square Chisos.

Nicholas suggested we wake up at 4:00 a.m. to watch the sunrise. I agreed reluctantly, only because I’m a supporter of shut-eye. The next morning we crawled out of our sleeping bags to find a sheet of frost on our tent. We climbed the hill next to our site and sat waiting for the moon to relinquish her throne.

The sky beyond the Chisos began to peak orange. Pink fingers reached across the mountains; clouds striped the horizon while the moon lay opposite of the climbing sun, just lingering for the sake of power. Nicholas and I watched the sun and moon dance to a chorus of coyotes.

December 2013



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