At the farm

I forgot to mention that while in Austin, we shopped at Whole Foods Market’s Flagship store – the original store founded in 1980. We also browsed a local outdoor market in the city and were delighted to see all the fresh produce grown in Austin and harvested in December. The tender lettuce was amazing! It makes us miss the folks at Willoughby’s Outdoor Market. I should point out that the entire time we were in Austin, the temperatures were in the mid to high 70’s… I think we were in shorts every day. Nice! –

We left Austin yesterday morning (Monday). As we drove toward our next campground in Junction, Texas, we lost track of the number of wineries along Route 290. We had explored this hilly region west of Austin 10 years ago and were amazed at how many new wineries and distilleries there are.

Our ultimate destination is Big Bend National Park on Wednesday. Tonight we’re staying at a Pecan Farm, complete with chickens and goats. Our hosts greeted us with a sample of candied pecans. The chickens are free range and everywhere. Sadie was afraid of then at first, but is now a farm dog (sort of). Sadie did not like the rooster’s crow. After checking out the farm, which includes goats, we enjoyed a relaxing walk down to the river.

The farm is decorated for Christmas, complete with lights and whimsical displays. After Austin, this was a nice reprieve and a chance to chill (and catch up on my blog). When we took Sadie out for her evening walk, imagine our surprise when we stepped out and saw a herd of about 8 deer almost at our door. They scattered a bit when they saw us, but basically went about grazing (or whatever deer do in the dark). The temperature had already fallen to 47 degrees and is expected to hit a low of 33 tonight – yikes!

We were thrilled to see so many stars in the the dark, dark sky (we are out in the middle of nowhere). We know this is just a taste of what we’ll experience in the Arizona desert. When we backpacked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in 2006, we hiked through a lot of California high deserts and one of our best experiences was “cowboy camping” where we slept in our sleeping bags under the stars – no tent. What a wonderful way to fall asleep, watching the stars, comets and satellites.

We arrived in Alpine Tuesday afternoon, early enough to visit most of the Big Bend Museum located at the Sul Ross State University campus. Unfortunately, they close at 4pm, so we missed an entire floor of exhibits. After dinner, at the recommendation of our camp hosts, we took Sadie for a ride with the goal of ice cream from Scoops Creamery. We weren’t disappointed and enjoyed our three scoop indulgence (yes – this is considered a “medium” serving – watch out crazy calories), while sitting in the small park-like area. BTW, I did take two of my scoops home. Although not as dark as last night (due to city lights), I enjoyed star gazing during Sadie’s evening walk. The town is under a burn watch, so no campfires tonight. While trying to fall asleep last night, I heard an owl calling out “hooty hoot, hoot who,” another wonderful memory of our times on the AT and PCT. I’m loving this adventure!

Good Wednesday morning! Fester went back to bed after our coffee chat, and after yoga, I started on the blog. It was still dark and I heard last night’s owl again… a pleasant way to start the day. We’re heading to a campground in Terlingua, a “ghost town” located near the western entrance to Big Bend National Park. We’re looking forward to exploring Terlingua and spending the next three days at Big Bend National and State Parks.