Jodi and I headed West over Labor Day weekend for a little R&R. It was very relaxing.
We left Thursday afternoon for Balmorhea. The sky glowed with the Milky Way banded across it like a billion spilled diamonds. A coyote howled as a gigantic moon peaked over the plains. It’s good already.
We headed for the pool bright and early. It was packed with a jaw-dropping four people. The place was ours. We swam and swam, constantly shadowed by schools of little Mexican tetras. Catfish fed along the bottom of the twenty foot deep water, and the turtles came for some sun. Soooo refreshing.
Later we moseyed up to Carlsbad in search of food and a quaint town. What we got was Dairy Queen and a Walmart, so we ambled up to Artesia. The Artesia guide from the Chamber of Commerce proudly displayed the famous “Bulldog Bowl” sign, which I recognized from a 1992 edition of National Geographic magazine. Wandering through downtown, we ran across a busy school spirit shop. I queried a woman about whether a game was to be played tonight. An affirmative, and a wink and a nod toward Jodi, and we bought a few shirts and decided to go.
We munched some appetizers and talked to the woman behind the bar at a restaurant downtown. Deb had come to Artesia all the way from Wisconson with her then boyfriend a little less that two years ago. He passed from a heart attack two weeks later. She’s been working here ever since.
The game was a good one. I didn’t know this prior, but was informed during game intros that the Artesia Bulldogs are owners of 23 state championship titles. Tonight they played Hobbs; also a good team. The Bulldogs ran away with it 34-14.
During the game, however, We ran into the woman I had queried earlier, another woman from another downtown shop, met Winston the Bulldog’s mascot (a bulldog himself, naturally, who retrieved the kickoff stand), and talked it up with three sprightly young lasses, Faye, Faye’s mother Vera, and Roberta. Roberta thought we were “just the cutest couple” and “will never forget us.” Her granddaughter is an actress on “All My Children.” I got a football.
We spent Saturday in Carlsbad Caverns. What an incredible place! Besides the self-guided paved tour, we paid a little extra for a four hour ranger-guided tour to a relatively recently discovered section of the cavern called “Hall of White Giant.” We crawled on our bellies, sometimes dragging ourselves along by our lips (well it felt like it), to get through Matlock’s Pinch and (I’m not kidding) Castration Rock. For perspective, it took us about an hour to go one quarter of a mile. The result at the end, however, is spectacular! There are huge stalactites and stalagmites everywhere in an enormous spherical room.
Climb, climb, climb. That’s what we did. We hiked an eight-mile round trip that rose and fell over 3000 feet. At the middle of that hike is the tallest peak in Texas: Guadalupe Peak. On a clear day, only the curvature of the Earth prevents you from seeing furthar. I’m convinced I could see the mountains in Big Bend National Park from there. Wow.
Monahans State Park, as far as I know, is the only place one can go “sledding” in Texas. The park headquarters actually rents saucer sleds so visitors can slide down the seventy-foot tall dunes. The night before, we heard a pack of coyotes howling. I never knew they were so common.
Overall, this was a fantastic trip. We had not set a tight schedule, which left enough flexibility to see a football game, and visit Monahans instead of making a second trip to Balmorhea for the return home. We had perfect weather. My recommendation: GO!
There are a whole lot more pictures in the archive.