Big Bend National Park + Marfa*TX
June 8, 2007, 7:09 pm
Filed under: Personal

So, I’m back with more photos from our camping adventure and our Marfa experience.  First, I have to recommend that if you’re planning a trip out to Big Bend, shoot for spring or fall, because the summer is HOT, HOT, HOT!! And there is nary a cool water hole to be found anywhere in this desert park, but they do have hot springs.  CJ and I were so determined to cool our bodies, that I convinced myself that I was going to take a dip in the Rio Grande.  Some of you are already laughing, but I thought, so what, it’s a little muddy. I practically grew up on the bayou. 

As I’m making my way down to the bank, a foul smell fills the air.  My feet are sinking about 6 inches into the mud with each step.   I wade in up to my ankles in the lukewarm water before deciding to head back.  We later learn that the Rio Grande is filled with pesticides from the neighboring farms and even raw sewage! Sweet. 

We definitely made some memories on this trip, but it wasn’t exactly “smooth sailing.” We also managed to get a blow-out on one of the rocky backcountry roads right about high noon.  At that moment, we decided that we should refer to the trip as “Awesome Adventure 2007!”  But we persevered.  And by the time we made it to Marfa, checked into our sweet hotel room and did the Nestea plunge into the clear, cold swimming pool, we felt that we had earned a little luxury. 

CJ grilling up some yummy burgers at our campsite.

You know that we had to play around with a little night photography.  This was shot at night with a full moon and me running around with a flashlight. The exposure time was probably around 2 minutes. Can you spot Arne?

Here’s one of Arne in the spotlight.

The coolest dog in the whole world. And the best $30 bucks we ever spent.

We arrive at the Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa*TX and as soon as I see the hotel, I’m in love! The folks that renovated the ultra-hip San Jose Hotel down on South Congress in Austin also took over this old motor hotel a few years ago and brought it back to life.

The furniture is designed by a local artist and each room has original works of art.  It’s a very minimalist, cowboy-zen decor.  And they also have polaroid cameras, record players and cruiser bicycles available.  So cool!!

My favorite part of the whole trip was exploring Marfa on the cruisers.

Marfa is a very slow-paced, friendly town that makes you feel like you’ve time-travelled back to the 1950’s.  Many Austinites are slowly migrating to Marfa, so you’ve got an interesting mix of young artists/entrepreneurs and folks that have lived in this small town all their life.  We had such a great experience here and I love how time just really slows down in a place like this.

To fully understand Marfa, you must know about Donald Judd. Judd was a minimalist scuplture artist who got his start in New York in the late 50’s.  In the 1970’s, he purchased approximately 340 acres of desert land in Marfa and abadoned U.S. Army buildings such as the one pictured below. He wanted to create a permanent art space for himself and fellow artists such as Dan Flavin and John Chamberlain.  And as a result,  over the decades, an art culture has slowly grown in this small town out in the stark mountain desert of West Texas. Marfa is a truly unique place and we’ll definitely be back.

Judd died in 1994, but the Chinati Foundation now offers guided tours through his permanent art installations.

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