Hueco Tanks Party Time!

A small slice of our new climbing heaven!

Yes indeedy, we have arrived!  Well, we’ve been here for over two weeks actually, but I’m finally taking the time to write about it.  We are in Hueco Tanks, TX, which is a state park about 10 miles east of El Paso.  As you can see from the photo above, I guess there’s some rock climbing to do.  Who would ever guess we’d pick a rock climbing destination as our first stop?  🙂 

So, on January 4th, we drove from Albuquerque to El Paso, and met up with the fantastic duo of Kyle and Leslie, the ‘Can’ in Can-Am.  We were PSYCHED to start climbing.  We headed in, set up our campsite, and caught up on what we’d been up to during the few months since we’d seen each other. 

Canada and America, in a beautiful peace treaty of rock climbing.

Our campsite, with the green ‘Taj Mahal’ in the background.

And we’ve been climbing, resting, and camping ever since!  No really though, that’s about all we’ve been doing.  Hueco is incredible.  The first few days here were the most complicated, as Hueco is a little bit difficult to get access to if you don’t plan far ahead.  We didn’t have reservations for the first few days of climbing, so we were forced to compete for 10 walk-in spots the park keeps open.  People camping in the park get first dibs on these 10 walk in spots, but you have to be the first 10 people in line!  In order to make sure we could get in to climb, we had to wake up at 5:30am and go directly to the headquarters, to wait until 8am when it opened.  The first day we were a little on the slow side, and by the time we arrived, we were literally numbers 7, 8, 9, and 10.  We barely made it, and we were there at 6am on the dot!  5 minutes after we parked, another 2 climbers rolled up.  They were too late!  Clearly, climbing here is serious business. 

We were forced to do the early wake up for our first 3 climbing days, and then we had reservations, so we could be a little lazier.  Our days have quickly taken on an easy routine.  We are camping in a site with both water and electricity, so it’s really not like camping at all!  We have a huge green tent we picked up at an outlet thanks to our good buddy Stephen Meinhold– this tent is HUGE.  It’s 7 feet tall.  It’s 6 feet long.  We’ve dubbed it the Taj Mahal.  The Taj is genius for our nightly ritual of Settlers of Catan, but the Taj has been taking a beating in the high desert winds.  Luckily, it’s made of some pretty stern stuff, so we haven’t had any issues (besides noise– the Taj is like a giant goose flapping it’s wings on windy nights). 

Since we have electricity, we’ve purchased 100 ft of extension cord between all of us, and we each have an extension cord running to our respective tents– the most important item I got for Christmas was a space heater.  Thanks Dad!  So, with the space heater in the tent, and a splitter for the extension cord, we can charge our phones, heat the tent, and play music on speakers all at the same time.  Livin’ large, I tell ya.  Home away from home.

So our routine is established: wake up, make french press coffee.  Cook breakfast (sometimes two breakfasts– I get HUNGRY!), pack a lunch, go climbing all day.  Literally all day.  10am to 5pm.  This place is like a playground.  Then, come back and start dinner.  Eat dinner, usually right after it gets fully dark (like 6pm or so?), then head to the Taj Mahal for a game of Settlers.  Talk lots of crap (Canada is convinced that since they have more natural resources than us, they are better at the game of Catan, since they’ve had more practice managing resources.  I call this total crap.).

A very serious game of Catan.  We’ve graduated to Cities and Knights of Catan.  We’re adults.

Anyway, we keep a record of who wins each game.  This is a very serious tally.

The sad part is, we usually end up in bed at like 8 or 9pm.  We’re like retirees over here.  It’s dark!  How many games of Catan can you play in one night?  And we’re tired!  Anyway, I can’t justify it, but we do go to bed early.  We’re usually up early, like around 7 or so, but for the first few nights after our reservations kicked in, we were easily sleeping 12 hours a stretch.  Being unemployed is just so HARD.  🙂  There was lots of sarcasm in that last sentence.  I know that doesn’t translate well via blog, but just know it was there.

And we’re climbing!  So here are some required climbing shots:

Leslie Timms, killin’ it on ‘See Sharp’

Me, setting up for a big jump

Perusing the guidebook, trying to decide on our next destination

Cool rock and moon shot

So Yeah!  That’s what we’re up to.  Hueco is also really cool because it has all kinds of rock art, some that dates back 10,000 years.  We went on a tour and saw some really cool stuff:

Super cool snake rock art.  Points towards water, apparently.

Jason touching smooth rock– smoothed by wooly mammoths rubbing their tusks on the rock!

Dam built in the 1800s

Our tour guide and a cool view of some rocks

Dancing rock art

Our guide also pointed out a crazy fact– apparently Texas is 99% private.  WHAT?  Only 1% of the ENTIRE state is open for public use?  Crazy.  Just mind blowing. 

But we are indeed doing some Texas experiencing.  Since we are super close to Juarez, the Mexican food is delicious, so every time we go into town we get some amazing and amazingly cheap burritos and tacos.  Yum.  We do our grocery shopping at this little Mercado, and everything is ridiculously cheap.  15 fresh made corn tortillas for $1.50.  SO DELICIOUS. 

So yeah!  Hueco is amazing so far.  We’re here until at least the end of the month, and then new adventures will occur!  We don’t have the month of February really planned yet, so anything can happen.  And of course, you know I’ll make sure to keep you abreast of all our wonderful escapades.  We miss you guys!  All of you!  Except for Kyle and Leslie of course, because you’re right here.  Probably setting up the Catan board.  I’m ready.  I think I’m probably going to win this one. 

Posted in