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!
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?
Never stop adventuring