The mountain was a worthy opponent, though we hadn’t seen it that way when we began the hike up the Pinnacles Trail that late spring morning. We had begun our day with promise mixed with a tingle of excitement, intent upon achieving the summit and without fear that our provisions might run dry. Instead, our water supply was dangerously low, the temperature at the top was dangerously high, and we were worried we might not return by sundown—always a precarious position for ill-equipped day hikers to find themselves in.
We had not thought of ourselves as ill-equipped at the start of the hike. But we had not anticipated the extent of the grade, nor the lack of cover from the relentless Texas border sun in May.
It was springtime, after all. Springtime means something altogether different in Big Bend, Texas, and as (occasional) annual regulars there, we were beginning to understand that.
The descent down the Pinnacles Trail was more than we’d bargained for. But its rewards were beyond what we’d expected, as well: the altitude offered us views into Mexico, and close up on the trail, native species showed us how little we know of earthly pleasures.
Nearing the end, we were spent. Our final successful return to home base, at Big Bend National Park Lodge, with nary a drop of water left in our bottles, arrived, and surprised us. Suddenly our descent had ended. Our unexpressed exhaustion became relief and finally, satisfaction at our accomplishment.
Later that evening, over food and wine, stories were told. ♣