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The Grand Canyon of Texas

Posted on November 13th, 2007 after 13660 miles by Dean Croshere.

I woke up shivering. I was in a sleeping bag rated for this weather, wearing a sweatshirt, beanie, and scarf, with every drawstring pulled tight.

It was 4:30 AM. Too early.

I rolled over so I was breathing into the hooded section of my sleeping bag and went back to sleep.

I woke up again at around 7:30 AM with the warm Texas sun beating down on me. After cooking some oats for breakfast, I headed to talk to the ladies at the entrance gate. They gave me a campsite to stay at that night, instructions for where to go, and the best trail to hike.

I found my campsite. It was unspectacular. There was no grassy area to sleep on like there was in the late night entry place so I would have to sleep in my car if I stayed the night. There was, however, a place to set up a campfire, something I had really hoped to be able to do the night before. I looked around at all the other neighboring campsites. Only one was occupied and the owner seemed to be packing up to leave.

I wasn’t entirely sure whether I wanted to stay for another night or not.

Regardless, I drove to the recommended trailhead and checked out my route. The guide said it was an 11 mile round trip. That seemed like a good distance.

I resolved not to take any pictures until I was at the far end, on my way back. That way I would both have a scale for how interesting things were, and I would be able to see everything at least once without examining everything else for it’s photogenic qualities.

I walked a 2.5 mile trail, a 2 mile loop, and the same 2.5 mile trail back.

I’m not sure how that qualifies as an 11 mile trip.

I got back to my site and cooked myself lunch. I took a can of whole kernel corn, a can of precooked chicken breast, and a cup-o-noodles. I emptied the water from the corn and chicken breast into the pot and set it to boil. While it heated, I ate a can of soup. These cans are great appetizers.

Once the water boiled, I poured it into my cup of noodles. After the noodles softened, I ate a few bites, added some corn, ate a few more bites, added some chicken, ate a few more bites, and added some more. It was absolutely delicious.

It ought to be, I figured that with the soup, corn, chicken, and cup-o-noodles, not to mention the salt water everything was packed in, I ingested about 200% of my daily value of sodium.

It’s a good thing I drank so much water on that hike.

It was time to make a decision. There was a roughly 6 hour drive ahead of me to Santa Fe and it was 2 PM. With the time change at the edge of Texas, I would make it by 7 PM.

I didn’t really feel like another hike and I couldn’t come up with anything else that could possibly occupy me for the rest of the day, much less the night. I couldn’t even get cell service in the canyon.

I stopped on the way out at the gift shop/ranger station to pick up that ice cream cone I’d been craving since Oklahoma. It tasted great, after all, it was more salt.

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