Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Alpine and Big Bend National Park

Hello from Alpine!

On Saturday, Brendan and I packed, got our house in order, filled some coolers with ice and headed to HEB to grocery shop before leaving for spring break in Alpine.

We arrived to our cute Air B&B place a little after 5:00pm.

The place has a full kitchen, and we quickly filled the fridge with all the groceries we bought and food we brought from home. We ate an easy dinner of leftover hummus, veggies, pita chips, and chips and salsa. On Friday, our monthly cheese club shipment arrived just in time to bring with us, so we had four kinds of Zingerman's cheeses. This cheese club from Brendan's parents was really the best gift!

We played Scrabble and tucked in early, since we had a big day planned.

Sunday morning, we were up at 5:00AM getting ready and packing food for a day at Big Bend National Park. For the two of us, we packed: four sandwiches, four bottles of water (knowing we could refill them), four clementines, two granola bars, and two apples. We were in the car at 6:30AM, at the park by 8:30AM, and on our first trail (Lost Mine Trail) by 9:00AM.

The first hike was 5 miles long and climbed 1,000 feet of elevation. It took much longer to get up than it did to get down. The views at the top were spectacular and worth it. Thanks to almost daily barre/yoga class, I felt like I was in good shape for the trail. Having real hiking shoes also helped.

I definitely felt like I deserved a rest at the top.

After hike number one, we headed back to the visitor's center to refill our waters and go to the bathroom before hike number two. Luckily, we had an hour long drive and a picnic lunch between hikes, so my poor tired legs had some time to recuperate.

Brendan promised hike number two of Santa Elena's canyon wouldn't take nearly as long, since it was only 1.7 miles. On the way in, we saw a woman stuck in the mud and two men trying to help her out. Brendan joined the rescue mission. The woman lost her shoes but was freed from the mud. Warning heeded, we walked over a makeshift trail of tree limbs instead of through the mud to start our hike.

This hike offered spectacular views of the canyon. We had seen it nearly four years ago with Brendan's parents, but we did not take the trail to get this view, and we were glad we planned enough time for it this year.

After the hike, we were sunburned and exhausted. We drove to the Starlight Theatre in the ghost town of Terlingua, Texas. I changed in the bathroom there, and then, we enjoyed the best meal of the day with a prickly pear margarita for me and a beer for Brendan. When we had visited with Brendan's parents four years ago, the food had taken a long time, but this year, we were there before sunset, and everything arrived very quickly, which was great since we were really hungry.

The drive home was a little scary since it is pitch black, and my cell phone got no service for most of the drive. Listening to season two of Serial helped take my mind off of how in the middle of nowhere we were. We made it home by 8:30PM, fourteen hours after leaving. We took bubble baths in our claw foot tub and greatly enjoyed the salts, bubble bath, fluffy towels, and foot balm our thoughtful hostess had left for us. We were asleep by 10:30PM.

Yesterday, we wanted to enjoy a quiet and relaxing day in Alpine, and we did just that. We slept in, and then made breakfast tacos upon waking.

After breakfast, we stayed in reading. I started my friend Emily's book, The Devil's Swallows, and quickly became addicted. We went into Alpine, parked the car, and walked around town for several hours. We went to Murphy St. Raspa and got snow cones, we went in and out of many little gift shops (I got some cute souvenirs at a place called The Brown Dog Gardens), we perused a book store for a long time, and then we ended up at a coffee shop where I got a chai tea and read some more on my phone. Once home, I continued reading Emily's book, stopping only to make us a dinner of pasta and salad. After dinner, we cleaned up and played Scrabble again. I found myself sneaking peaks at the phone in between turns to keep reading! I read until 1:00AM and woke up this morning at 8:00AM and started reading again. I finished the book by 10:00AM. If you can't tell, I really liked it. I'll let you guys know when you can get the published version.

Okay, now, we have a hiking day in Fort Davis planned. Please wish me and my feet good luck! I hope everyone is having a good week. We are enjoying ours.


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