05 March 2006 Sunday

We set our alarm to get up early.  We want to get on the trail before it gets too hot.  On our drive in we see some javelina (hav-a-lina), a type of wild pig, crossing the road.  We’re hiking in the Chisos Mountains, an ancient volcanic geologic basin formation that is in the middle of the desert.  It’s only a 3.7 mile hike, but we gain 1,600 feet in elevation.  It’s pretty much straight up.  And there is no water anywhere on the trail, we have to carry all our water for our two days. At a suggested gallon of water per person per day, we would be out three days, two nights; we are carrying three gallons each of water at a total of an additional 24 pounds of weight.  This is in addition to our regular camping gear.  Heavy packs, but it’s a really neat area to spend the night.  As we hike, we can see the rock layers change in color and texture.  The vegetation here is very different than outside the basin.  Because of the steep canyons and mountains, this area seems to retain moisture better, so there are larger trees and different grasses here.  We got to our camp and Andrew suggested a snack of Ramen noodles for lunch.  This is when I realize I had put my titanium spork (we have two) in my cook kit last time we went backpacking on Cumberland Island.  Because we were carrying so much weight in water, I left my cook kit at the truck.  So, here we are at camp for two nights, six or seven meals, one spork.  What to do…?   I found a couple of dead sticks that looked kind of straight and carved up a set of chopsticks.  Smile [:)]  They worked great!  We set up camp and rested for an hour or so and took a day hike with just water and a snack.  On the trail we talked to someone from Belgium that suggested we visit Lueven, instead of Burgees when in  Belgium (we’ll have to look into that).  We did a loop trail that went along the south rim, about a 6 mile loop, and saw a few deer that weren’t too afraid.  I’m not sure if they’ve been fed by humans or not.  On top of our four mile hike in, we did ten miles of rocky trail with quite a bit of elevation gain.  By the time we got back to camp, we were tired!  Sleep [|-)]

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