They oftentimes say the true joy and spirit of a journey is not found in one’s destination, but in the journey itself. Some have gone on to remark that one’s walk through life follows along the same path, though I believe the destination is most important in that particular comparison.

But when I put boots on the ground and start a prowl through these mountains and deserts, both the journey as well as the destination usually prove to be of equal importance. There is something out there serving as a goal to reach, with many a side path and parallel track to travel there and back. Again, sort of like life itself.

On this particular jaunt on an early spring day, I was trying for Little Christmas Spring after having started from near the northern tip of Burro Mesa. Now, if one gets out a topographical map and studies it a bit, you’ll see that is a fair piece of ground to cover in one day.

Especially with about thirty-five pounds of pack and gear on your back, and knowing those twenty-foot contour lines can conceal a whole lot of misery. And even after some sixty years of prowling this country, I still manage to learn the hard way on occasion.

Yet today I made my distance and then some, actually coming to the boundary line for the park on the north side of the Little Christmas. Chalk one up for having scouted out a prior shortcut through the maze of rough, eroded arroyos situated in between.

After climbing up to the spring and having my nooning in an old water trough below, I set my eye on my return route. Usually I try to make a loop out of these trips, but the canyon sort of boxed me in. Consulting my topo and relying upon memories from prior walkabouts, I reckoned to jump across a low ridge to a paralleling arroyo further down.

Then I put everything away, saddled up and cinched down my ALICE pack, and pointed my nose to the southeast. About a mile down I took a game trail over the intervening high ground and dropped into the arroyo.

It was substantially slower going there, scrambling over and around large boulders and the ever-present catclaw scattered along the narrow floor. There were also some small pour-offs interspersed with loose piles of shale, making one more cautious when negotiating.

As the unnamed arroyo merged with Rough Run, I turned around and took this photo. Oh my; Little Christmas to the left, the Christmas range itself on the horizon and a bluebonnet in full bloom front and center.

Both the destination as well as the journey spoke in volumes in this one frame, with joy and the uplifting of spirit all around.

God bless to all,

Ben H. English
Alpine, Texas
USMC: 1976-1983
THP: 1986-2008
HS Teacher: 2008-2010
Author 2016-Present
Facebook: Ben H. English
‘Graying but still game’