La Frontera: Which Side is Mexico?

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When we first arrived in Big Bend National Park I expected the Rio Grande to be some huge, raging river between the two countries. But, as we explored the park more and more I realized that in this area it’s not the river that acts on behalf of border control, it’s the desert. Crossing back and forth between the U.S and Mexico within the park is rather easy, my fiance and I simply waded across with water not going past my knees. Mexicans ride their horses across and leave walking sticks, little beaded souvenirs, and other handmade items for donations. ‘Jesus’ waded across the river to play his guitar and serenaded us as we walked along the river into the canyon, his voice floating along the canyon walls only to disappear.

For many of my Texan friends it is hard to believe that there is even an inch of the border that is not manned by the border patrol. I tell them that nature does it for them. After you successfully cross the small river here you must make it about another 70-100 miles to the nearest towns, Marathon or Terlingua. This is a major feat even by car, making it near impossible via foot. With temperatures that break over 110 every summer, there aren’t many who would even dare try to illegally cross into the U.S through Big Bend.

I was genuinely shocked at how much greenery was in the area, even though we were in the middle of the desert there were huge strips of green trees and brush. I want to go back to explore some of the areas that we didn’t have time to see, and my fiance needs to get a passport to cross over into Boquillas del Carmen.

Have you experienced the border between the U.S and Mexico? Was it what you thought it would be?

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Gorge to Scale

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As we entered the Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia the temperature immediately dropped about 10 degrees, I could feel the cool air rising from the cold, rushing water before it bounced off the cool gorge walls and hit my skin. This gorge is only about 1.5 miles in length and is lined the entire way by a wooden boardwalk that crosses from side to side following the river all the way to a waterfall at the end of the gorge. The river is fed by runoff from the mountains and is intensely cold, and I’m from Minnesota so I’m used to cold water. It was hard for me to believe that this gorge existed; how was it made? Why is it so short? What has been it’s purpose?

I could have looked more into this, but when traveling I like to revel in the mystery that is Mother Nature. For this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge of Scale I chose this picture that my dad took of my sister and I walking through the gorge because I think that it really highlights the the height of the gorge walls contrasted with the slim boardwalk. The river itself was not that wide, but it was deep and moving quickly. You could easily see the bottom of the river as the water was clear and one of the deepest blues I have ever seen.

Is there anywhere you have been that made you feel small?

How I Almost Lost My Car to the Ocean

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A few years ago, I believe in 2009, my boyfriend and I went camping in Port Aransas, TX when Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf Coast. I had been wanting to go to the beach, being from MN I needed my yearly beach trip, and I insisted on going this particular weekend because it was Labor Day and we had an extra day off. My boyfriend refused to go so, I simply told him I was going whether he wanted to come or not. Needless to say, he ended up coming. As we drove into town all the stores were boarded up, the gas stations closed, and the beach completely empty. We set up camp and enjoyed our time alone with a strong breeze nearly blowing our tent out of the sand.

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In the middle of the last night we woke up to water seeping into our tent. We had to move it to the sand dunes, which is actually not the best idea because of snakes that live within the grassy areas. This particular photo is not the best quality; however, it really shows how the water started taking over. At this point a kind gentleman had safely towed my car out of the water to safe ground near the entrance to the beach. Tow trucks and police won’t go and rescue your vehicle on the beach so, we were lucky that there was someone who comes out and checks the beach to make sure people like us aren’t stuck on the beach.

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After my car was towed to a safe distance we had the luxury of watching the hurricane hit the coast and see the sun rise over the ocean. It was still dark when my car was towed so we walked up the beach a little and decided to rinse off in the outdoor showers and watch the sun rise. The sun poked out from behind the clouds in rays of orange, red, and pink creating beautiful patterns that bounced off the huge waves. I thoroughly enjoyed this moment, the warm water rushing over my face, the strong salty wind brushing against my body. I felt such a sense of calm amongst the crashing waves and howling wind.

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As the sun came out in full force the water started to rise and almost covered the posts that mark the farthest point that you can park on the beach. These posts are probably 2-3 feet tall, the tide was coming in quickly. The water started to make it’s way up the road that leads to the beach, where my car had been safely parked until that moment. My boyfriend finally convinced me it was time to go, we really had to leave before the ocean overtook my car and we were stuck in Port Aransas. I always feel sad when I leave the beach, like a part of me has been left behind. Even since I was young I have felt a deep connection to the ocean; I first saw the ocean when I was seven years old. Ever since that trip to Alaska (we drove from Minnesota), I have done everything I can to spend time on the beach. Even if it is ‘just the beach in Texas’. I will never forget the weekend that I almost lost my car to the sea during Hurricane Ike.