Hueco Tanks:”Primitive People”

Dark storm clouds churned and twisted through the valleys and canyons of Guadeloupe Mountain. Attempting to evade the storm, Ben pushed our rental car like Ricky Bobby setting up a “Shake and Bake.”From the passenger’s seat I foolishly ignited my jet-boil camp stove.  Lauren, always “the loving wife” pointed out the absurdity of boiling water in a moving car. Yet in regards to coffee, I don’t concern myself with trivial details such as 2nd degree burns or carbon monoxide poisoning. Plus, I trusted Ben’s driving skill; that is until I realized he was videoing  me with his phone while driving!

morning storms-0475

A meal other than Ramon Noodles, a warm shower, and the comforts of a hotel room called like the songs of a Siren to a lonely sailor. Yet one park remained: a park spoken of with a since of reverence, as a holy place, sacred ground.lens flare-0584

Only from the top of Hueco Tanks did I realize its giant boulders were interlocked. Forming what could only be described as a fortified wall. Outside a desert of sand and cactus stood to the horizon. Yet inside, rock lined pools supported complex ecosystems.hueco tanks wall-lauren--2

Surrounded by shifting shades of green flora, we searched for one of Hueco Tanks famous Native American rock paintings.

A park ranger kindly directed us to grinding bowls cut into the stone. Pointing out multiple Rock paintings he passionately shared the history of the native people who once lived here. A people who aligned their lives with the stars, and the shifting seasons. hueco tanks grinding bowls-

hueco tanks rock wall art-0734

Rain drops began to fall.  As we took refuge in a small cave his “lecture” quickly shifted between ecology, astronomy, spirituality, and anthropology. Through a sea of information, one statement hit me “square between the eyes”. “We call these people primitive based on their technology.  But they lived by their beliefs, just as we live by ours.”hueco tanks cave-

Heading toward his truck, he turned, smiled, and advised us to explore a grove of trees 40 or so yards into the canyon. Cold and wet, the comforts of a hotel awaited. Yet, something suggested we were being given an opportunity rarely granted to visitors.hueco tanks park ranger-

Passing those trees was like crossing the bridge to “Terabithia” or walking through the wardrobe to “Narnia.” There wasn’t a single, foot step, piece of rubbish, or graffiti.  Standing within the mountain, a faint grey light pierced through a crack in the ceiling. The ceiling, hundreds of feet above us, was comprised of solid rock interlaced with boulders, held in place by nothing more than pressure and gravity.hueco tanks cave entrance-0745hueco tanks cave -0755

For more than 130 yards we walked through the heart of a mountain. It was here that I began to understand what our park ranger friend was telling us. Thousands of years from now when future anthropologist study the remains of our homes what will they think of us?  Will they see us as a people who defined quality of life by a standard of instant gratification and comfort? Entire lives lived for the sole purpose of buying bigger homes and cars, lost in luxury? Is that the belief to which we are aligning our lives? Will we be those primitive people?hueco tanks cave -0748

hueco tanks climbing-

goof ball ben
This is what happens when I ask Ben to hold my camera! Ben # no filters



hueco tanks in love-

Never stop adventuring


9 thoughts on “Hueco Tanks:”Primitive People”

  • Thanks for this interesting post with great shots, Curt! I am constantly amazed that we called the traditional custodians of Australia, primitive, and yet they kept the land intact for thousands of years. Their belief that if they looked after the land it would sustain them is what we are teaching in environmental science now. We “civilised” invaders have destroyed most of the Australian forests, made extinct many species and contaminated much of the country in just 200 years! 🙂


    • Jane you are so right. I live in the Texas Big Thicket. In reality I don’t really know what the terrain looked like before the timber industry. I fear we are changing our landscape on a level which may be permanent.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Good job with your observations and great photos. As a kid growing up in El Paso, this was my favorite place to visit. I hate that you can’t explore & climb as you could before it became a state park, but the ecosystem is definitely in better shape and a lot of the 20th century graffiti and trash has been cleaned up. Kind of interesting seeing all the 19th century pioneer “signatures” on the rocks from its days as a Butterfield Trail stagecoach stop. Last time there in 2009, I enjoyed our guided tour & saw lots of wildlife I had never seen as a kid, including javelina.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by. I totally agree, it’s such a challenge juggling preservation against public use and education. From native peoples, settlers and later graffiti, I guess as a species we have an inherent longing to leave our mark upon something we perceive to be immutable.


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