Alpine 2, TX

I slept well on the concrete table. It wasn’t too cold, nor were there any biting insects. I was one of the first up in my area, so had plenty of time to make coffee and pack up before the worship service.

basin amphiteater
The Sunday morning service was in the amphitheater, which was a short hike from the campground.
These books were laid out on the seating. The 4 young women I met the previous day were working in housekeeping at the Park’s motel, and also put on the ACMNP service as volunteers.  I was privileged to attend their premier service (June 4th was their first one).

In the actual service, the songs were a capella, with Claire setting the key. Since it was 4 chicks leading, the range was a little high for me. Everyone had a part, Laura reading the call to worship, and Sabra delivering the actual sermon. She shared an interesting perspective from her friend who asked God whether he should go to Guatemala. The answer was “do you want blessings, or more blessings?” the implication being that we are all abundantly blessed already. But that there is also a cost associated with abundant living.

This was the entire attending congregation, except for the guy taking the picture. But as Claire mentioned in the service, whenever 2 or more of us are gathered in His name… L-R: Lily, Jesse, Cassandra (daughter?), Anaya (g-daughter?), Claire, Sabra, Emma, Laura.

Claire keeps a journal, and asked whether there was anything she could add on my behalf. Just safety, I guess, to join the prayers of all you guys praying for me.  And wisdom.

Note: if I’ve mixed-up some of the names, would someone please correct me?

ready for the window trail
I decided to try hiking the 5 miles round trip to the Window. If my shoes got trashed, so be it. Things are to serve us, not the other way around.  I want to take good care of my stuff (be a good steward) of course, but the whole purpose of shoes is to help me explore.
beginning of trail
That gap down the valley is where the Window is, I think.
camp trailhead
I soon came upon the campground where I had stayed the previous night, and realized that if I had started from there, the round trip would have been only 3.6 miles. But that would have involved leaving the car in the campground, and I wasn’t sure if that was okay.
rest bench
About halfway, there was a bench to rest on. I saw about a dozen other people on the trail.
Several of these big lizards were on the trail. Including the tail, I’d say they were 12-16 inches long.
shady portion
Closer to the bottom, there was shade, and the trail wove in and out of a stream bed.
For the very last portion, there were steps carved into the rock, or cast with concrete. No guardrails. This would have been much better with actual hiking shoes.
The Window
This is the Window. There were no guardrails or fences. I wasn’t actually sure whether it was a sheer drop into the canyon at the window, with a waterfall going over in season. And I wasn’t about to find out, as the rock was smooth near the edge. Although this picture didn’t capture the depth well, the crack in the rock is actually in the wall at the other side of the canyon.

I didn’t time how long it took to get down there, but the trip back up took 1 hour and 20 minutes. Possibly, it was actually faster going up, as anyone who has hiked steps in Hawaii may know.

Upon returning to the Lodge, I got straight into the car without stopping for lunch. My intention was to return the car by 5 pm, saving a day’s rental. The drive took over 2 hours, but when I got to the car rental place, I found that it was closed on Sunday. One of the people running the place happened to stop by, and advised me to just lock the key in the car when I had unpacked.

My next missions were motel and cash. Cash first, as I didn’t expect finding a room on Sunday to be an issue, and there was always the Highland.

Learnings: Chase Bank is rare in small towns, and their credit unions generally don’t have ATMs, either. Except for big chains like Safeway, most supermarkets don’t allow cash back on debit purchases. ATM’s with a fee are abundant, however.

Porter's Thriftway
Here was the solution. Porter’s will give up to $40 cash back on a purchase. I got 2 bananas, a half gallon of Ruby Red Grapefruit juice, and a cafe helados.
Bien Venidos Motel
I could have gone back to the $55 Highland Inn. But I thought I’d check out this humble looking place. It looked like it was being remodeled, and that there were a few permanent residents on one side, but no transient visitors, otherwise. The room was $52 including tax, which was a slight savings. The room was of much lower caliber than the Highland, but still clean, and far more than I needed. The outlets were 2-prong, so I was glad I had my adapter.

Tomorrow’s goals: visit bike shop in Alpine (last shop before Del Rio), and bike to Marathon, 31 miles away. There is a hostel in Marathon, that was recommended by Katie.

Miles today: 4 (estimate, riding around Alpine)

(Visited 75 times, 1 visit(s) today)
  1. Nice images from the park. (Stairs… I hate stairs… all progress slows to a crawl when I have to tackle stairs… Those look a lot more ergonomic than the stone stairs in the Sierra, though.)

    Warp would have gone nuts for those lizards!

    1. The lizards could run, but didn’t seem particularly fast. If memory serves, I think dogs were banned on the Window trail, perhaps precisely because they would decimate the lizards.

      My only concern with the stairs was that they might be slippery. There actually weren’t that many. What you see in the picture is maybe 1/3 of the total.

      1. “only 1/3”? Even worse!

        If the lizards were *that* slow, Warp might not have known what to do with them. (Poor dog… he seems to be “challenged” in some respects…)

        Dogs seem to be generally banned on trails in the CA State Parks (the ones local to us, anyway), and in at least some National Parks. Some SPs here (like Castle Rock SP), you can’t even have a dog in the parking lot – no dogs PERIOD! (At least up at Mt. Diablo SP, you can walk the dog on the park road, or at least that used to be the case.) Not disturbing the wildlife (whatever kind of wildlife) is generally the reason given, though I have to suspect that there are others. (Don’t get me started…)

        Thankfully there are still the open space preserves (some of them) and the county parks…

  2. Had to reset my password again, I wrote my username but forgot to write my password. I am still having trouble with accessing yahoo mail from my laptop, will figure it out this week. Great pictures of your hike, the stone stairs look very cool. Glad you could take a side trip to experience the park.

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