To get there I take a 2 hour flight to Houston, then a 12 hour drive across the Pecos, far trans Pecos, then south, right to the border, through Marathon, to the improbable bulge the Rio Grande takes into Mexico. Painted desert badlands, dry creeks, boulders, the unlikely bits of green high in the Chisos. It is Big Bend National Park and nothing about it is easy. It lives in the minds of any true Texan, perhaps in the back, perhaps as a luxury destination, as Marfa has become. The issue is water and so it has always been. If you want to understand Big Bend, go with the Rice University geology class and camp waterless for a week, mapping beds, and learning rocks. If you want to understand Big Bend, read Craig Childs’s Secret knowledge of water. Few books are as good. Or you could come with me, my constant spider companion Molly, and my family and friends, and explore it for yourself.
The first time I went was in 1975. The next time in early 2000s we rented a minivan, and drove across the state, four kids in back, listening to Kerouac‘s On the road (mom, I’m actually listening to this – are you OK with that?). Now, improbably, we’re going back. Stay tuned.