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.