I am awake. And I’m excited, not just because of the amazing sunrise or the way the sun sets the mountains behind me on fire!
I am excited because today, for the first time, I know where I am going. Years ago I visited Collosal Cave Mountain Park and fell in love with the surrounding desert, so when I realized that I could make this one of my stops I was ecstatic. I am ready to go back! But I’m also working on embracing the here and now, so before I hit the road, Rocky and I set out to explore one of the trails at Rock Hound State Park.
On our journey, I spot a cottontail. He freezes on the path, waits for us to get closer than hops a little farther down the path. I can’t help wondering if I’m following Peter Cottontail down his bunny trail or if I’m Alice being led to wonderland!
In the parking lot I meet, Tim. He strides over to my car with his white cowboy hat, black vest, faded jeans and cowboy boots wearing a smile beneath his oh-so-western mustache and a sparkle in his blue eyes and says, “Maine, now you’re a long way from home.”
I spent the next half hour learning bout Tim: retired after thirty years in the military, Forester, engineer and now Pecan Farmer. He tips me off to breakfast at Si Senorita and I have my first Mexican breakfast…Yum!!
Per my usually ADHD while driving, I wander off the interstate in search of another historical Fort. This time I find it! Rocky and I head down the 1.5 mile trail to the fort. He really isn’t up to the task and I find myself carrying him most of the way.
After about a mile I am stopped by two border control officers. They want me to know that they are after an illegal who is here in the woods. He’s wearing a red hoodie. I hesitate for a moment, then decide to finish my hike.
I meet a few people, but no red hoodies. And here’s where I’ll probably irritate a few people. When I think of illegal immigrants, I don’t want them crossing the border illegally…but then I think of the person and I wonder what they are running from that would drive them over the mountains and into this desert. It’s easy to feel strongly about a concept, but more difficult to apply that to a living, breathing person.
I considered another tale about finding the illegal hidden away in my car….
I arrive at Collosal Cave and it’s everything I remember.
The one strange thing… The gate to the campground is locked at 5 and opened at 7:30 am. There is no cell reception, but if need to, I can run a 1/4 mile to the 911 phone that rings automatically to the sheriff.
Filled with plans for morning and thankful that it’s not dropping below 60 tonight, I settle in to sleep.