I’ve been organizing some old photos from our 2011 trip to the National Parks in the Southwest. One of the great surprises of this trip was Big Bend National Park. It may be a one of the lessor-known parks, but we loved everything about it… the smells, the silence, the window views, the wide-open spaces, the hot springs, and of course, the one and only, Ranger Dan.
But what we loved most? Playing in the mud!!
Our hike along the Santa Elena Canyon trail on the banks of the Rio Grande started off ordinary enough. But then the magic happened. The magic of what kids do when they have the freedom to just… be kids. They discovered a particularly muddy bank next to the rock face and the antics began: the chasing, the swimming, the slipping, the climbing, the laughing, the playing. Even my 13 year old daughter had a blast with her younger siblings.
And when we climbed out of that particular section of the trail, into the wide-open mud-flats along the river, they were actually crawling their way across the bank on their hands and knees, playing mud monsters. I thought at first the well-dressed Japanese tourists were shunning me and my parenting methods as they watched my children crawl their way back to the car caked in mud from head to toe, but soon enough one of them pulled out his video camera and started recording their hilarious progress. We were all, adults and children, Japanese and American, sharing the laugh together.
I will never, ever, ever forget that day. What is one of your favorite National Park moments?