04 March 2006 Saturday

This morning we got the bike tires pumped up and chains lubed and we’re ready for a bike ride.  Our ride is about 1/2 mile to Ernst Tinaja.  This is a natural formation of rocks in hte bottom of a canyon runoff that holds water in times of rain.  The word “tinaja” means “earthen jug”.  The largest pool is maybe 10 feet by 25 feet oval, but several feet deep.  The sides are very deep and the rangers have said they’ve found a mountain lion and several deer that have drowned in the pool, unable to climb the steep sides.  The day we’re there, a vulture if floating in the water, victim to his thirst.  The colors of the sandstone forming the canyon are all the colors of the rainbow.  We saw some other guys there who told us about some dog racing in nearby Terlingua.  Chihuahua races!  We may have to check this out.  As we were leaving, we run into the guy we met in Pine Canyon that reminded us of our friend Coyote (we never did catch that guy’s name).

We rode our bikes along the dirt road, but I had no idea this ride would be this difficult!  It’s not the heat or the rocks, but the sand!  We rode through pockets of sand that sucked up all of our momentum and throws you off course.  We rode a little while, but the sand was too much for me.  I headed back to the truck while Andrew continued his ride.  

After lunch we packed up the truck and headed for the park office to get move water and see what they knew about Chihuahua races in Terlingua.  

Terlingua is a little town just outside of the park, so we head that way.  We’ve been to Terlingua on a pervious trip here and it was pretty much a ghost town (on the park map it is described as a ghost town).  This little town has grown in five years!  They now have a theater, bar and a couple of gift shops and art galleries.  And…. an annual Chihuahua race!  We’re in the Chihuan desert, so of course, they race Chihuahuas.  We saw several of the racers and their handlers strutting their stuff.  It was a hoot!  We talked to some folks from Albuquerque, NM, Ralph and Arlene Odenwald.  They told us about some mountain biking in the Terlingua and Lajitas area.  I took some photos of the old cemetery and adobe ruins.  We hated to go, but we had to get our backpacking gear together tonight.  

We found our site at Paint Gap and found we had neighbors.  We showered on the other side of the truck.  [smile]  We got our backpacked all loaded and ready to go.

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