Section 12: Del Rio to Carizzo Springs
Up and at it bright and early today. Marta picked us up at the hotel at 6:15 on the dot and we were hiking before 7. Gracias Marta! The air was still cool from the night before but sticky and full of moisture. We walked down the mostly empty road, enjoying the dramatic, low-hanging clouds that offered little flashes of sun like a can can dancer flirting with the flip of her skirt. Even south Texas highways have their beauty!
By the road was a sterile fly production facility that Saúl had pointed out yesterday.
What!? Yes that's right, you heard correctly, they genetically modify flies to be sterile and sell them to farmers.
The buyers use the sterile flies for pest control, as the flies continue to mate but don’t produce offspring. Strange. Saúl said they ship the flies all over the world, using South Africa as an example. The flies are timed to hatch on arrival. Hmmm. Opposite the fly facility was a feedlot which boasted to be the largest producer of beef in Texas. Mass production.
As the day grew later, it became clear this was a well-traveled stretch of highway. Over 8 different cars stopped throughout the day to ask if we needed a ride. It’s not unusual to get the occasional good samaritan, but 8 is definitely a record for us. We had to catch ourselves a couple times actually getting annoyed by the attention. Check yourselves Tenny and Claire! A big thank you to Eagle Pass for having such a high concentration of compassionate people. Some credit should also go to the upper-90’s weather, which made us look extra pathetic.
Town outskirts always bring us past fenced in yards with all manner of domesticated animals to ooh and ahh over. Tenny assumed the adorable dog behind the fence couldn't get through and that it was a safe bet to goo-gah at it. Wrong. The pup was overwhelmed by her attention and squeezed under the fence to return the love. Oops! Unlike other dogs that have ambushed us with extreme cuteness this one was not susceptible to our scolding nor could Tenny really assign punishment with any umph. Each attempt at aggressive, harsh words softened considerably at the first little wag of tail or trusting eye contact . Oh well. Eventually she had no choice but to take his little body and shove him back beneath the fence.
We thought our main threat was the traffic and stayed as far over to the side of the shoulder as possible. But we weren’t accounting for the dangers there!
Hadn't many people warned us about the wild things that like the warmth of the sun baked pavement?
Walking just on the edge of pavement and grass, Claire heard the vegetation moving from a big...something. She looked over and saw it, an enormous snake slithering slowly (too slowly) away from her. She called Tenny over with obviously faked calm and we watched the snake for several minutes. It was very, very big. The markings were similar to a rattler’s but we couldn’t find the rattle. Later on we found a dead rattler on the side of the road and swore they looked the same. For the sake of the story, let’s just say that it was a rattlesnake and that it looked mad...