The US/Mexico Border Daily
SECTION Twelve: Del Rio to Carrizo Springs
We were all somewhat astounded to be hiking again (“we” included Bob, an honorary member of the team) but in fact we did make it out of the hotel and down the road!
We're hoping we get an award for getting off our butts??
The first part of the day involved walking past the many restaurants, fast food, and grocery stores that we have become acquainted with over the last several days of living in Del Rio. This part wasn’t so bad as we could fool ourselves we were just out for a stroll. We ran into a spot of trouble trying to cross the railroad and the creek that bisect the town but we eventually made it across a bridge without getting decapitated by the busy traffic. Texas doesn’t always love their pedestrians.
After being in the desert for so long, we are loving the lushness of this area. Del Rio sits on an aquifer and is overflowing with water. We walked along the San Felipe Creek for a moment and saw a ton of wildlife. We have heard that there’s a lot of pollution in the creek but it looked clear and fast-flowing to us. Nice spot.
The signs of town faded behind us as we left city limits and continued along the highway. The road runs in a straight line southeast parallel to the border. Sometime in the future they’re adding a third lane to the highway, so we walked on an elevated pile of gravel compressed into a side road that will eventually part of the construction. The culverts were all sectioned off in various states of repair, some with new concrete pads in front or piles of rebar neatly stacked nearby ready to be incorporated. We hide in these culverts on most breaks so were particularly interested in their state of wellbeing.
We’re far enough away from the border that we can’t see the river and there are few clues to remind us where we are. Even Border Patrol was strangely absent, although we occasionally hit one of their service roads. Our main stimulus for the day was the roadkill that lined our path. The smell would hit us first as we approached and then we’d see the poor furry remains that lay in various states of decomposition. Even though we are both pretty tender-hearted when it comes to animals we’ve developed a sick fascination with staring at their grisly carcasses. Their bones and fur scraps were literally everywhere.
Aside from the animal cemetery, there wasn’t much to report from the day. Like the section into Del Rio, this walking is simultaneously monotonous and stressful. The terrain is unchanging but the high speed semi trucks set our nerves on edge and force us to pay constant attention to our safety. We had a hard time getting back into the groove of hiking and took more breaks than usual. Lots of complaining and playing the world’s tiniest violin today.
At a pullout in front of a ranch we called it quits. Bob had told us he would pick us up but we wanted to preserve his goodwill, knowing we’d need a lot of help in the next couple of days.
Though we did question, is it even possible to ask too much of Bob? He's capable of doing 50 things at once.
Time to stick out those thumbs and get a’hitchin! Many, many cars passed before we noticed a small black sedan that had pulled over a ways past us. We jogged over to the window, not knowing if it had stopped for us. The car was packed full of stuff but the passenger seat was empty and the kind-looking woman driving told us she’d take us if we didn’t mind squishing. No problem! Claire got in first and Tenny folded her body on top. Not the most comfortable position or the most dignified but we couldn’t care less.
Leo (a nickname for Leonora) was one of the loveliest people of the trip. She had just turned 50 and shared some stories from her life and about parenting her two daughters, who were 19 and 20 and attending university in San Antonio. She had this deep compassion to her that we felt immediately, and she went out of her way to make sure that we were safe and taken care of, despite having her own set of challenges. She told us what she told her daughters, “to keep running, no matter what, and to not let anything stop you. Life has a way of working itself out”. Not to sound too intense, there was plenty of jokes and laughter, but we felt a meaningful connection. We haven’t met many women on this trip, especially ones that aren’t accompanied by men, and so our ride with Leo was particularly special. We hugged goodbye at the hotel with true gratitude and love. The hiking was whatever but the end of the day made it all worth it.