Hiking the Franklin Mountains

Franklin Mountains

For Christmas I went home to El Paso to see my family. I think the more the time passes the more I miss my hometown in the Chihuahua desert. Not that I’d ever move back there, there are far too many cities in the world that I have yet to explore, but I’ve really come to appreciate the small things about my home in the Southwest. One of those small things is being able to hike and rock-climb in the Franklin Mountains. This time Neeta, my brother Carlos, my sister Christine and I went for an early hike on Christmas Eve. We couldn’t have picked a better day to go. Even though it had been quite cold during the previous couple days, Christmas Eve turned out to be amazingly sunny (there wasn’t a cloud in the sky), warm, and just an all-around beautiful day. We planned to eat lunch in this cave that I had found many years ago, but once we got to that point we decided to continue on. We climbed through a deep crevice in the mountain where the rock is a soft reddish color and there aren’t as many cacti. At some parts of the hike the mountain became almost vertical and we were more bouldering than hiking, but the rock had good edges to grab and we always had sure footing. There’s always been something spiritual for me about the desert and especially in this section of the mountain that I like to climb. Everything is so still and even though the city surrounds the base of the mountain I still feel far from it all. From the mountain you get a great view of the valley and surrounding areas. I’ve missed seeing the horizon for some time. All the other places I have lived since El Paso have been more lush and the trees impede you from seeing even the next block over, much less the horizon. As we continued to climb we neared the top but we were too tired to go all the way. We scaled a large jagged cliff and sat at the top to eat our lunch, a variety of fruit and cereal bars I had brought. After chilling there for a while we started our descent down a different route. We stopped at the cave which is just a 5 minute climb up some white rock from the crevice. We had a water break in the cave and after a while we continued our way down the last part of the mountain. My favorite part of the climb was being with those I love, and talking and laughing with them. When we got back to the car, about 4 hours after we had started our climb, we were all hungry so we went to grab some Sushi in our dusty clothes before going home and napping it off. It was a great climb.

My brother and I
My brother and I
Lunchtime
Lunchtime
Acrobatics
Acrobatics

 

Advertisements

El Paso del Norte…

The Franklin Mountains
The Franklin Mountains

 

Recently while daydreaming in my miniscule bohemian attic room in Paris, I started pondering my hometown of El Paso Texas. When I first moved away 7 years ago for the first time I saw what life was like outside of El Paso. That elsewhere there were more opportunities, more diversity, more things to do and more people to meet. For a while I developed a slight aversion to my ciudad natal. However, towards the end of my life in Austin Texas and around the time I moved to New Orleans, an appreciation for where I’m from was planted like a seed, took root and since has continued to grow. I still recognize the town for what it is, a place where( for me) life seems to stand still and where, compared to the dozens of other cities I’ve seen, has very little to do by way of amusement. But, I now find a certain charm that exists there. The pace of life is slower and gives time for reflection. The sunsets, with hues of bright orange, red, violet and purple are simply stunning. There’s a certain charm that that land in the desert surrounded by mountains holds. The outpost where I was born where you can see the horizon in every direction, except what is blocked the mountain. The desert is a special place, even spiritual, where I’ve found find a tranquility unequaled elsewhere. When I was younger I used to hike in the mountains with friends or sometimes alone, and feel at peace there. Afterward I moved to central Texas, a much greener land and after that to New Orleans, the city amongst the swamps of Louisiana. Now that I live in ancient Western Europe, in a land highly developed by centuries of human occupation, I am somewhat nostalgic concerning my roots in the desert. It’s a strange thing moving to different cities. Each one changes you in a way and when you return to your hometown for the first time you realize that you no longer fully belong to that place. I know that I will continue to move around for several years, maybe my whole life, and will very possibly never again reside in the land where I was born. However, at a root level I will always be that man who grew up in El Paso del Norte, in the northern Chihuahua desert…

el-paso-tx