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I ATE THE PROP
Written By: O.C.fotoguy
*Click images below to view larger versions.
I ATE THE PROP
I ATE THE PROP
I ATE THE PROP
I ATE THE PROP
I ATE THE PROP
I ATE THE PROP

    Sometimes I do something that nobody else is doing or has done. Today is one of those. I’m in Big Bend National Park in Texas on March 31st. It’s amazing. It felt like it ought to snow at sunrise and now it’s 100 degrees in the shade. I do family photos in the summer and travel in my nest (slide-in camper on a pickup) in the winter months both in a le’id back style.  No hurry, no hassle, no problem! My life is tough, but somebody has to do it!!! It’s simple and it works. Well, at least most of the time.
    Why can’t the fuznics let the people alone that aren’t hurting or bothering anyone or anything and not doing anything wrong? That’s the question I’ve had for a long time. Why do they need to interrogate a tourist that is just enjoying life? As this green-clothed, badge-wearing and gun-toting person approached, I knew unless he passed me this was not going to be fun, because I know his purpose is to collect revenue for our U.S. Government. I’ve learned a couple things in my 16 years of winter trips and that is one of them.  Ranger Rick is to be avoided, because his goal is to write me or you a ticket. It may be a friendly smiley conversation, but Rick is evaluating everything they hear and can see for a violation and the minimum ticket is $125. Did that get your attention? And don’t ever yield to the request to have access to your vehicle or camper to be searched. A nightmare will surely ensue!
    Yeah, he figured out a reason to write me a ticket and did his best to ruin my day, that had been relaxing, gloriously delightful and as good as it could be, til I encountered him. He took over an hour in the 100 degees blazing sun to extract the information from me to have a reason to write the ticket. Had I refused to talk, there would’ve been no ticket, but I let my guard down and talked in a friendly manner as a normal tourist and he took advantage of what he was hearing. I won’t bore you with all the details of the ticket, but I had done nothing seriously wrong. When I met him I was dragging my kayak to my vehicle and hundreds of yards from the river and the heat had dried my shorts and the kayak.  He did not see me in the River. In the conversation I had talked about the scenery up in the canyon and the depth of the water. A permit is required to use a kayak in the Rio Grande River. He asked for mine. The date box on the permit says, “approximate date for use.” The date on mine was the previous day. He seized on that and exaggerated it to - I didn’t have a permit; that kicked off his lengthy unpleasant process.
    My seething irritation and disgust lasted a while, but now five hours later I’ve moved past it. Rick may’ve ruined the end of me being at the Canyon, but he isn’t going to damage my Adventure! I’ll go to bed early, get up early, photograph the stars, and head for megamart in Del Rio, Tex. There I know Iwon’t have to deal with a revenue agent with $$$ signs in their eyes!
    The next day I’d cooled down and decided to stay one more day and take a nice hike in the desert. After I was home, I complied with the ticket and paid the $125 and wrote a letter to the Chief Ranger (Revenue Officer in Charge) and pointed out the date on the permit was an approximate date, so one day off was within the meaning of an approximation. She agreed, I asked for my $$$ back, and said she’d do what she could to get it refunded. Tickets are to paid to the Federal Court so another department is involved. I’m still waiting!!!
    Now back to the prop that I ate. I’d been paddling up into St. Elena Canyon between thousand-foot walls that towered above me that the water had cut in past eons, listening to echoes of the calls of the canyon wrens, watching the cat fish jump, the turtles appear and disappear, and examining rocks for “artifacts” (collectible junk). It was delightfully peaceful. If I listed the enjoyed relaxing experiences in all my Adventures over the years, paddling in St. Elena Canyon would be near the top.  The Rio Grande is one of our National Wild Rivers, but here it is quiet and tranquil. Droughts and farmers’ need for irrigation water recently has depleted much of the water, but this time the water was deep enough for me to paddle and I went about a mile deeper than people can walk so it’s gleefully quiet. I found the rock ledge that leads up above the river, where there’s a grand view and a wonderful place for my picnic snack, which I used as a prop for my head shot at the beginning of this article.  As I devour the crab, which I purchased about a week ago in Louisiana, then steamed, I know I am the only person eating crabs in St. Elena Canyon!
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