If you have a look at a map, you would probably describe where Texas is situated in the United States as south central. Put your finger in the middle of North Dakota, draw your finger all the way down, and you’ll land smack on top of it. Yet, if you live in Texas, you’ll discover it is a place that does not describe itself as that at all. It wavers between ‘southern’ and ‘southwestern’ and just plain ‘Texan’ (the Lone Star State was indeed once its own republic). It seems as though Texas encompasses both elements of the deep south and of the southwest, while still maintaining a strong sense of its own identity.
When you think of far West Texas, you immediately think of Big Bend National Park – dinosaur fossils, majestic Chisos mountains, black bears and hundreds of species of birds surrounded by canyons, rivers, and 150 miles of trails: it’s a hiker’s paradise. Driving along the 90, the main highway, through Big Bend desert, south of Fort Stockton, you’ll stumble upon Marathon, TX.
At first glimpse, it doesn’t look like much. How could a town with population:470 in 5.2 square miles look like anything? In fact, if you visit the website for Marathon it states simply: Marathon – where there’s nothing ‘to do.’ Ah yes. Perhaps not much ‘to do,’ but a visual feast ‘to see.’ There are luxury hotels amid inns and colourful B&B’s, adobe houses fashioned from clay, water, sand and organic matter, all painted in vivid, remarkable hues…chili peppers adorning houses as they dry out in the sun…tiny church steeples…and mesas, cactus and desert that roots you in the gateway to New Mexico and Arizona.
Truth be told, I fell head over heels in love with the desert that day. The rich warmth of the sun as it fell on our shoulders in the early hours of the morning was all it took. Nothing ‘to do’ but to take it all in.