A few weeks ago my sister Umulu and I took off for a few days of camping in the desert. Big Bend National Park sits right at the border between Texas and Mexico, and from what I'd heard it was beautiful. Given that most of Texas is... um... well. Not so beautiful, let's say, I was kind of psyched to see it.
So we drove for hours and hours and hours and hours and HOURS through the west Texas wasteland, and when we got there, guess what. It was beautiful. Hooray! It was worth the siberian death march! So first we spent some time in the desert, where I got to exclaim over the thousands of ocotillo, which is one of my favorite plants. See this tall sticky looking thing with red flowers on the end? Now pretend it's the top of a person's head, and that person has about 15 braids hanging down, all fastened with red barrettes. Now that person sticks her finger in a toaster oven, and WA-HOOOOOOO!!!! Ocotillo. Just try and tell me that isn't an amazing plant.
And of course, it's springtime in the desert, which is just about the most wonderful season on account of all the flowers. For example, the famous Texas blue bells. But you know what, I think I don't know my Texas wildflowers that well, because when I called them blue bells, Umulu said, "wait, I thought they were called bluebonnets." Which sounded right to me, too, but then why is the ice cream called Blue Bell? So many unanswered questions.
So right now you're saying, "wow, the Texas desert sure is beautiful!" And you're correct, but wait, cause you ain't seen it all yet. Big Bend has a whole mountain range, too! Here you go, the Chisos mountain range. Lovely, no?
Naturally, there was celebratory leaping.
But deep in these mountains lie unimagined dangers, some of which put Umulu a little on edge. For example, bears.
Lucky for us, that sign told us just exactly what to do in case of a bear attack. Unluckily for me, Umulu got so freaked out at the possibility that she accidentally mistook me for a bear, but at least she followed the Bear Attack Rules correctly.
Rule number one: throw things at the bear:
Rule number two: wave your arms and scream. Scare the bear.
Lucky for me, I'm smarter than a bear, and I managed to disarm her and calm things down, and we kept on climbing the mountain. At times it was rough and windy going,
But eventually we got to the top. Look at this picture and tell me that wasn't worth the risk of bear attack.
(Coming tomorrow, tales from the low desert.)