Hueco Tanks, El Paso and Juarez

Updated: Mar 7, 2019

From Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico I continued west via highway 62 through the Guadalupe mountains that surround the area. The scene is basically more hot, dry desert with short brush, endless straightaways and no shade for days. My planned destination for the night was to be Hueco Tanks, a state park about 20 miles outside of El Paso famous the world over among rock climbers for it's very unique round rock formations dug out from the rock face by wind & water.

From Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico I continued west via highway 62 through the Guadalupe mountains that surround the area. The scene is basically more hot, dry desert with short brush, endless straightaways and no shade for hours. My planned destination for the night was to be Hueco Tanks, a state park about 20 miles outside of El Paso famous the world over among rock climbers.

I arrived mid day at the stony mecca. It looks as if someone threw a bunch of oversized, round boulders together in an area the size of a mall, parking lot included. And all around is dessert with more such formations visible in the far distance. Despite the heat I was still looking forward to meeting some climbers and using the rest of the day to explore the tanks. So I dropped by the Hueco Rock Ranch, a private property where all the rock climbers congregate. Normally during high season the place is overcrowded but today, it was as lonely as the desert around it. Absolutely no one, not even cars in the distance. I stayed there an hour or so, regaining my energy and planing my next move. The option was to stay there for the night which would be completely fine, or move on to El Paso in hopes that someone would answer a last minute CouchSurfing request.

And a wonderful Mexican-American family. Lovely Candice was the one who answered my request and while I prepared to make my way to the city, she was reporting the news of the approaching stranger to her unsuspecting family that was at the time completely unaware of such a concept called CouchSurfing. Very understandably, her two older brothers were not exactly thrilled at the idea of some stranger, a biker nonetheless,  spending the night at their home, almost completely unannounced. But immediately upon my arrival, the Gibbs family opened their home and welcomed me as if I were some relative from afar that hasn’t visited in a while. We talked a bit, ate together and I even got to speak on the telephone with the man of the house, Robin, a guy from Michigan, himself a biker currently stationed in Iraq.

In the morning I was off northward to New Mexico again. And that was my great experience in El Paso Texas, as a stranded stranger welcomed by a wonderful family that sent me off as if I was a Gibbs myself. There truly are some incredible people out there. Thank you for everything.

As for the city, I didn’t really spend much time there.

I hear El Paso is continuously ranked as one of the countries safest, although a stone throw’s away, just across the border in Mexico a war is taking place, so violent and brutal that Ciudad Juarez sadly retains the direct opposite title for a few years counting. Ciudad Juarez is one place absolutely everyone is trying to avoid right now. The fighting between the infamous drug cartels and the police is so prevalent in daily life that the city has become even more dangerous than the places where actual war is being waged daily. Juarez can easily be pictured as a literal hell on Earth where nothing is for certain. And all this lunacy and violence just on the border of our own nation. You can practically smell the fear, hear the chaos. A cruel irony though, it is as if we on this side are watching a horror film unfold, comfortable in our snuggie, mildly entertained when we choose to devote it some attention.

Think about that for a second: The only thing separating the safest and the most dangerous place on earth is a fence. What a cruel condition of modern life that a mere fence separates a life of abundance from a life of misery - how did we get here? How do we help our neighbors? What has to happen for these conditions to change?

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