Slanted

Each night at Enchanted Rock we were surrounded by coyotes, storms, and gun fire however the sky above us remained clear, full of stars and little more than wind blew into our campsite. Coming back to Austin feels like we're now in the middle of what was off in the distance, with the latest bombing occurring a mile from where we picked up food last night. I didn’t have cell service or even battery life over the last three days to do little more then send a quick text back to Austin to say “I’m out here, love you” and I thrived in the remoteness of the park. My brother and I climbed up and down the sides of the immense granite domes, sat for hours on top of boulders that gave us a view of all the stolen land along which a line of cars full of desperate visitors sat waiting to get a chance to see the world as we saw it.

Most days we walked silently along the quartz-lined pathways, watching the sea foam colored grass blow in the hot wind. A tree behind our tent hummed all day as swarms of bees pollinated it’s blossoms. The energy from the rock was so stimulating that even though I hiked for miles each day, sometimes with 20 lbs or more of water and gear on me, I had trouble falling asleep. My dreams were short. I was awake for the most part.

For the most part is too little I realized after we got back and had eaten and played Rocksmith and watched weird Twitch clips when the alert came telling us to stay indoors because two young men were injured by another explosion in our area. Suddenly, the two ambulances and fire truck that passed us on the way home had a destination. The next few hours tried to compensate for the most part, of anything suspicious we’d noticed or conjecture on who was behind this. I sent a text to a friend who lived a half a mile from the explosion. I woke up to news that this may be a more sophisticated attack then they once thought.

At one point during a hike in the park, I tried to sit on a rock that a rattlesnake was lying under. I quickly backed off once my brother alerted me to it. We watched for several minutes as the diamondback slowly coiled itself into a tight heap in the corner. We went back the next day to see if it was still there. It was gone, but the nightmare of the bite and the crisis that would have unraveled lingered in our minds for the rest of the trip, still now that we're home.