An amazing view can change the way you see not only the world, but yourself. It can challenge your perception by showing you how small you truly are. It allows you to see our planet from a different angle.
Today we hiked the Lost Mines Trail at Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas. This land is as beautiful as it is desolate. It’s so massive that most of the time there isn’t another group of humans in site. It’s one place on Earth where it’s easy to feel alone.
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Before we even got out of the car, our jaws had already dropped multiple times. The size of the cliffs and vastness of the canyons was hard for us to really understand. So mostly we just stared with our eyes wide, muttering things like “holy cow” and “where are we?”.
For my wife Allison, the hike wasn’t much of a challenge. That’s no surprise when you consider that she works out hard for an hour a day six days a week. I, on the other hand, am still feeling the pain of the hike in both my back and my legs as I write this three days later. I should probably start exercising more.
About a mile into the hike, the trees opened up and we were greeted with an epic view of the road we had driven in on. It twisted and turned through the valleys until it disappeared into the distant mountains. Needless to say, we once again had to pick up our jaws.
Just then, a group of hikers crossed our paths and one of them muttered “You ain’t seen nothin yet”. And they were right.
The next mile was a cactus strewn, loose rock covered trek. It seemed that every quarter mile we stumbled upon a view that made the previous one seem like nothing special. We passed marker 18, then 19, slowly working our way to 24, which promised the greatest view of all.
When we arrived at the top, silence fell over the group. When you’re faced with this level of beauty, there isn’t really much you can say. You quickly realize that words will only take away from the experience. From here, you could see all the way into Mexico. It wasn’t a harsh divide. Instead, the two lands blended together as the mountains faded off into the hazy distance.
We spent over an hour at the top - it wasn’t nearly enough time. But life, with its pressing commitments and deadlines, has a way of pulling at you, no matter how peaceful you may feel in the current moment.
We took one last gaze over the huge expanse that is Big Bend, then we made a reluctant yet well paced march back to the bottom.
An amazing view can change you. It can even be habit forming. After leaving Big Bend, we felt a craving for nature and adventure like never before. There’s something intoxicating about being that high up surrounded by such beauty and such certain death - one wrong step and splaaaat!
Our Endless Adventure has only just begun, but this day will be a tough one to top. But we’re up for the challenge.
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We’ll see you on the road.