The second full day was a kayak trip on the Rio Grande. I thought it was going to be in Santa Elena canyon, but it was out by Lajitas in the Big Bend State park. One bonus was the fact that we would have the opportunity to stop by the ghost town of Terlingua. Santa Elena canyon was muddy so the group didn’t plan a hike there. There are a couple of options to kayak Santa Elena, one is to paddle upstream 3 miles and then float back. The other is to do an overnight camp on the river. Our 3 hour kayak trip in a two man inflatable kayak was perfect. We did experience rapids and they were exhilerating! We started the trip on a somewhat swift moving river and immediately crossed over onto the first bank and stopped on the Mexican side…legally? We ate lunch on the Texas side. It was so much fun watching everyone enter the rapids. Everyone was hoping to make it through without flipping. We all did! You definitlely get wet! The kayak guides had dry bags to throw your stuff in and those things stayed dry. The weather was beautiful and the water was probably 75 degress.
This was a great opportunity to get to know your new friends. One of the most facinating things was our female kayak guide and her life off the grid. She came from a family of park rangers and is married to the park ranger that runs the Big Bend State park. They live on solar energy in the desert environment. Solar energy does not provide enough electricity for things like air conditioners. So how do they stay cool, especially at night when sleeping? They spray themselves down with water, including the sheets and sleep wet! WOW! They bring in their water, which must be a task because the closest town is 100 miles away. And here is the best part…no complaints.
Afterwards, we headed to the town of Terlingua. This town was the place I originally thought would be great for my family to say in a hotel…on second thought, no. I was reminded of my plans to stay in a boutique hotel in Venice beach, CA. This was exactly the same idea. Not a good fit for the fam. Camping is MUCH better!
The town is really unique. First of all, the big draw is the general store that has all kinds of interesting things. Some of the group got great T-shirts. (Day of the Dead themed…it is that time of the year) There were people on the porch playing guitars and hanging out. I would describe the scene as straight up hippy….old school style with young people.
We visited a local restaurant/bar and had wine margaritas and pork nachos. Fun day! Bill and I opted for dinner at the lodge instead of cold spaghetti and we both enjoyed a great trout meal and showers at the lodge. We tried to watch the media shower that was obstructed by the massive full moon.
Day 3’s plan was a hike in Boquillas canyon, crossing the border into the Mexican town of Boquillas and a dip in the hot springs. I rode with some really cool people that were so much fun! As we hiked into the canyon, we heard singing. As we made our way to the bottom, we found Jesus…that’s right, Jesus singing. Now who is going to tell Jesus that he can’t come to America illegally and sing to us 🙂
I chatted with our leader Regina about the issues we have with Mexico and the border, namely the dangers of drugs on the border. She thought it was safe and spoke with some of the people in Boquillas who said here wasn’t an issue. Truth? I don’t know. I have heard stories from my own neighbors that cautioned not to go off the trail that there are drug mules in the area and it was dangerous. I can’t imagine, this is a really rough terrain area. For MILES there is nothing but desert. I guess if you are really motivated, you would find a way to do whatever it is that you plan to do. I felt safe, even with very limited ranger support.