Kirt Kempter is Study Leader for several of our natural history and adventure tours. A geologist by trade, Kirt takes some time here to tell you about an action-packed day in Big Bend National Park. Click here for more on Kirt and to learn about traveling with him.
Waking up at the Chisos Mountains Lodge in Big Bend National Park this morning was refreshing for both body and mind. The early morning sun was pristine and soft, beckoning all to take full advantage of a spring day in the park. The chatty cactus wrens around the parking lot seemed to be excited as I felt about the day ahead.
After breakfast, we set off on a hike near the lodge, enjoying the brisk air while the sun was still at a low angle in the sky. The Chisos Mountains rise like a verdant island in a brown desert sea, offering pine trees and cool morning and late afternoon air. I’m constantly amazed at how well Smithsonian travelers hike. Bill, 73, had a knee replacement less than a year ago and walks with no limp or pole, leaving me hopeful that I’ll be hiking as well at that age. Hiking in the Chisos on a gorgeous spring day like today leaves one feeling exceptionally privileged—like there is no better place to be in this world on that particular day. While on the hike we spot a roadrunner, several rabbits, a horned toad, and two javelinas (Spanish for peccary). (more…)