posted: January 25th, 2010 | by:Bert
©Bert Gildart: The torrential rains, which I mentioned in my last posting – and that lasted for five full days – have finally ceased. They stopped three days ago leaving the ground saturated in a way they’ve not been in years. Mike the mechanic at a local garage said he’d lived here for 20 years, emphasizing “I’ve never seen the equal!”
Though the rains have forced most of inside we Pegleggers are an industrious crowd and have found things to do. Charging batteries in the rain has been a problem, forcing us to rely on our generators. To keep them dry we placed generators on elevated blocks of wood beneath the lowered the tailgates of our pickups. To keep the contents in the bed of our pickups dry, we spread tarps over the opening and then Bungeed them in placed so the winds wouldn’t whip them around.
Made comfortable in that manner we then went about our various activities, which wasn’t a problem for me as the seclusion allowed me to work on stories and photographs.
VERBAL INTERCOURSE THAT WAS PROFOUND
But you can’t work all the time, so Janie and I have played cards with Fireman Ted and his wife Carol. Ted and Carol are both great readers and had introduced us to a book called The Road. Authored by Cormac McCarthy the book is listed on Oprah’s Book Club. By the time the rains had arrived we’d all read the profoundly dark master piece, which has a post-apocalyptic setting. None of us could put the book down and the bleak rains seemed to provide the proper setting for much verbal intercourse. Might McCarthy portend the future of mankind?
The rains provided yet more. One dark and bleak night Bruce the lawyer invited us to the VFW for taco night. The club was packed and the mood was so festive that the rains of the evening were themselves drowned out by all the bon home.
Click on each image to see enlarged version and to see extended caption. L to R: Driving through Slot Mountain, “Wind Caves,” Badlands as seen from Wind Caves.
But now, after enduring such extreme hardships we’re delighted to report that all here at Pegleg have survived – and that all but a few remained. And these people should take note that we no longer view them as true Pegleggers, for they couldn’t tolerate a little inconvenience .
On the other hand we have proven to be more than just fair-weather Pegleggers. We remained, and can report that our Airstream didn’t float away. We’re safe and sound and now out hiking local trails accessed from our RVs and admiring the distant peaks some of which are now covered with snow! (see image of Janie above.)
And now we’re exploring a little more of this incredible park.
CAVES ETCHED BY WINDS
One of the places we’ve long wanted to see is an area accessed through Split Mountain known as Wind Caves. We joined Don the forest economist and his wife Nancy and, using their vehicle, drove about 20 miles to an area of the highway known as the “Texas Dip,” (probably because it is so big) and then on along a dirt road which we soon accessed through a series of immensely slotted canyons. After about an hour, we reached our trailhead and then struck out.
The climb was steep, but the hike worth the effort for, indeed, the area is appropriately named. Below badlands spread out, and off in the distance I saw a couple threading their way through an austere landscape created by hundreds of completely eroded hills. At this point, we were not far from the Mexican border.
A little more hiking and we came to a series of hills that contained caves, arches and windows all of which demanded exploration. We explored these features then we sat and soaked up the scenery and ate lunch.
Several hours later we retraced our steps, and as Don and Nancy were descending the light was such that it etched the gully washers in a way that dramatized the rains not only of the past few days but also of the eons. Cast against this immense landscape of time and breadth Don and Nancy looked incredibly insignificant, reminding me once again that the universe is big and that we’re small — but hopefully not irrelevant.
Good Lord, I hope we remain rain free for the remainder of our encampment, else how will we Pegleggers ever survive the accretion of such murky thoughts?