Following up from my last post, I can tell you are incredibly anxious to know the reasons for why I did not explore the cienegas.
Well, friends, the wait is over.
The story goes: I'm strolling into Balmorhea State Park head quarters after an invigorating swim in the springs when I see a familiar vehicle cruise by. It's the Leave No Trace Subaru!
With a burst of enthusiasm, I come charging in, flip flops flopping, arms waving and a smile I could not hide. Turns out they're used to this kind of behavior as they're so well known, kind of like local celebrities in the outdoor community.
Aaron, the sole occupant of the flagship vehicle rolls his window down with a smile, probably because my approach was humorous, and in a few minutes, we were kicking it at their campground. Aaron and Danelle are one of four LNT teams that travel the country for an entire year educating the public on the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace and Outdoor Ethics.
It was fun to get to know the couple and hear about the year-long journey they're on. It was also fun to speak with others who are passionate about conservation. We shared stories about our work with educating the public through recreation and how rewarding it is to work with urban youth in this arena. At the end of our sesh, we exchanged some swag and gave each other a "keep up the good work". It felt right.
To make the encounter all the more serendipitous, it was the night of the SUPER MOON! As the sun was setting, the behemoth moon rose, then shined. It shined so bright and if you're like me, you poorly photographed the moon poorly because we are not photographers and have no idea what we're doing.
What else was cool about the super moon? As I left my new LNT pals, I was headed to the McDonald Observatory which was less than an hour away. It is located in one of the darkest places in the country - the Davis Mountains. The moon was so bright I could drive by its light. In fact, for the next two nights, the moon was so bright it woke me up as I slept under the stars (moon).
Having the super moon rise at the end of a day filled with learning, experiencing and connecting was the ultimate night cap. I think I nailed the Wilderness and Friendship portion.