A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go on a road trip to Big Bend National Park with two other lovely ladies; Jamie and Colory. We found each other by signing on via my MeetUp group that I host here in San Antonio. We thankfully were able to reserved the last campsite in Chiso’s basin and had reservations lined up for paddling Santa Elena Canyon. We literally, met that morning the first time as strangers – packed up and headed on the road.
The drive to Chiso’s Basin is flat and long with not much to entertain the eye except for the open road and desert land. During the ride, we got to know each other and established that we were all pretty chill and were just looking to have fun no matter what. Even though Jamie, a single mother, preceded to sleep almost the whole way, Colory and I talked about what we did and liked to do.
There was no real agenda for the weekend except to explore, hike and paddle and enjoy living outside for the weekend. Upon arrival in the Chiso’s basin, we set up camp and just hung out and talked. Slipping into the tent that night was blissful. An early morning rise was rewarded with the best star show I’ve seen since leaving Montana. The Milky Way was out in full force leaving a star studded trail across the sky.
On day two we stuffed our day packs and headed onto the Window Trail near our campsite. This dropped us around 700ft down into the canyon where it led through an eroded canyon and lookout into the valley called the Window. Unfortunately, after hiking all the way down, we had to go back up! No problem!
The next day, we had reserved a trip canoeing into Santa Elena Canyon. The walls of this canyon rose above us around 1500ft. We had to pull our canoes along the river a couple of times going upriver into the canyon. That was just a challenge we enjoyed. After lunch we explored another canyon that put us into Mexico temporarily which was a fun diversion. On the way down, Jamie and I had become one with the canoe and mastered all the little miniature rapids with ease. It was amazing!
We spent the evening in Terlingua and had dinner at the Starlight Theater. It’s a must stop if you are in the area where all the locals hang out. The evening was topped off when a mean game of horseshoes ensued with our guides from the day. The essence of this place is on the porch where locals play their instruments and watch the sun set over the desert horizon.
Colory and I rose early the last morning and hiked up along the Lost Mines Trail. This two and half hour hike landed us at1000 ft on an expansive overlook of the Chiso’s mountains. What an awesome view! Arriving before the heat of the day rewarded us with the peak to ourselves.
Jaime put her feeling together in an amazing way…..
“I did a camping trip this weekend a little different than usual. I not only went to Big Bend with complete strangers but had no concrete plans. The trip was relaxed, without agenda or schedule. We had lazy conversations that took days instead of minutes to complete, we slept hard in the chilly air at night and woke up early before the sunrise to explore. We made new friends enjoying fun food and drink and we were challenged to play an impromptu horseshoe game. We sat on the porch of one of the few restaurants in Terlingua and listened to the chatter of locals and the occasional strum of a mandolin. We gazed in awe at the stars and how many there were over the Chiso’s Basin. We learned how to paddle in a canoe as we weaved our way around the Santa Elena Canyon. I would recommend to anyone to travel like I did – it was one of the most freeing and enjoyable trips I have gone on. I know without a doubt that I have made some new friends for life.” Jamie
As we traveled home, the conversations lead us to sharing our personal lives. After 3 days of outdoor adventures we had become best friends. We trusted each other to open up and share personal stories that belong only to best friends. Transforming from strangers to best friends is not foreign to me. I have experienced this on every women’s only trip I have been on. The magic and power of women together brings each an inner strength that we never knew we had until we connect with other like-minded ladies. Travel and outdoor activities in a short time can break barriers faster than sitting in a square office with a therapist. Something about losing our vanity in the mountains, on nature trails or floating on rivers, allows true feelings and insecurities to fade into the wilderness.
Smiles from your favorite adventuress! Diana
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