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A Show Anyhow
Written By: O.C.fotoguy
*Click images below to view larger versions.
A Show Anyhow
A Show Anyhow
A Show Anyhow
A Show Anyhow
A Show Anyhow
A Show Anyhow

    On my way from Cisisos Basin Camp Ground in the mountains, where I spent three le’id back days, I stopped to see if there were any rafters, kayaks or canoes in the Rio Grande River which flows through St. Elena Canyon at the west end of the park to Terlingua Abaja along the Terlingua Creek, my favorite campsite in Big Bend N.P., Tex. There has been a long drought in this part of the country and there is an immense demand for water from the River for agricultural purposes by both the U.S. and Mexico. I was surprised to see that River appeared to be higher than I’d been told by people who visited here several months ago. There is also more water in Terlingua Creek, but it goes dry about a mile before its mouth at the Rio Grande. I suspect there’s a cavern down there and it flows into it. Here in the Chihuahua Desert it’s very arid and hot almost year round, but all that water can’t evaporate or disappear. I’d already decided that I’d give kayaking a shot on Monday, check the conditions today, March 29, and spend tomorrow walking north along the creek in the morning to see what wildlife shows itself; then the old mining town across the Creek later, but not between 1 and 3 p.m. Then I’ll be in the shade. It’ll be over 100 degrees in the sun and that’s too much for me to enjoy being in. Other visits I’ve been in the Park for two weeks, but this time only one. I’m ready for the beach, steamed crabs, Fager’s Island Deck Parties and Seacrets Radio’s Bloody Mary contest at the end of April.
    After checking the River today, I found a comfortable spot to soak my feet in Terlingua Creek. Why my heels give me trouble here each visit, who knows. I guess it’s the dryness and I wear sandals almost all the time. The dead skin cracks at the edge of my heels where it meets the live stuff and it’s painful, so I let the water soften the soles up, and then rubbed the dead skin away. As I did it the minnows amassed to feed. That’s fine with me, but occasionally they nibbled my foot; that’s out of bounds. For dinner I had chili, which I began earlier with heating the beans (a blend of several types of beans with black ones that have the most flavor) and letting them sit in the hot water for hours, then I sautéed some diced onion, green pepper, and added a diced tomato. My chili is a mainstay menu item and always at Big Bend. It says Texas to me. I also made a couple oyster tacos to round out the meal.
    I finished in time to climb a nearby bluff for sunset. The sky really had potential. There was the right type of striated clouds, which were not too dense. I waited to well after sunset; sometimes waiting is what it takes. Only a small amount of color occurred, but I got a show anyhow. All of a sudden hummingbird-sized moths appeared and descended to feed on the ocotillo cactus flowers. Dozens zoomed around from flower to flower battling the breeze to seize the nectar with their long proboscis. I can see in their photos that they can bend their proboscis. It is not stiff!  Amazing! Just as suddenly as they arrived, they were all gone. Amazing. I never know with what or when Mother Nature will astonish me!
    Here in Big Cypress I can be sure that I’ll see something each day that others never see in a life time and I’ve been to both places many times in my 16 years of winter trips, My Adventures. Here there’s not the diversity of wildlife as in the American jungle, Big Cypress, but it sure is unique. Here the morning starts with a chill in the air and clear blue sky. The sun will be intense enough later to, as they say, “fry an egg on the hood.” The aluminum of my lawn chair got so hot I couldn’t touch it and the top of my bar stool made of dark wood I found in Key West that I use for a “table” was so hot that if I touched it, would’ve burned me, too! Surprise - the heat is most intense here from 3-5pm. I guess because of the time zone and daylight savings time.
    There’s no electric service to the campsites, few airplanes can be seen in the skies (a Border Patrol plane occasionally), almost never any radio stations, although I did get the local National Public Radio station up in the mountains, and no cell phone service, you need to bring all your water, and my “morning constitutional” needs to be done cat style, which gives “outback” a whole new meaning. I have selections from: Yanni, Vangelis and Enya playing via my laptop powered by solar panels that collect reddy kilowatts of electric power for inspiration prior to my morning walk.  
    Lighten up, you really don’t need that microwave oven, dish washer, or shower every day. However safe food storage and sanitation related to cooking and eating is extremely necessary.  Illness that requires a comfort station frequently needs to be avoided. I’ve made it easy. Any food I have that may decompose producing a toxin is refrigerated or frozen. The nest (slide-in camper on a pick up truck) has a propane powered refrigerator. Before, when I tent camped, I took very little food like that along. Dry Beans, grains, noodles, limited canned goods, and fruits & vegetables were the main stays.  Oysters, conch, fish, and this time steamed crabs are replacing the mainstays. What needed refrigeration stayed on ice in a cooler before I had my nest. Everything is heated to boiling or at least 140 degrees, hot enough to kill bacteria, most molds and yeasts, that are pathogens. As for sanitation, I’m only one person, so one plate, set of utensils, and many meals I eat directly from the pan it was cooked in. Sanitizing those items is with boiling water or steam; nothing I can use is more effective.  So there’s some food particles or carry over - once again, lighten up, they’ve been sterilized! Once in a while I’ll get out the detergent and give everything a good scouring.
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
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