We didn’t exactly get up early on Friday morning. Especially considering the time zone change. In fact we barely got the car back to the rental place before 10am. Then we started on the long drive towards Big Bend, about 5 hours from El Paso. Unlike the rest of Texas, El Paso is in the mountain time zone, so we experienced another time zone change, making it yet another hour later. We drove through some spectacular downpours on US-90 outside of Marfa, TX but when we headed into the park, it seemed that the worst was behind us. We were wrong.
We arrived around 5 o’clock. It was very hot and sunny, but with a lot of dramatic clouds in the sky. We continued up into the Chisos Mountain Basin, where the campground was located, and discovered it to be about 20 degrees cooler that the surrounding desert. In other words, low-80s. Perfect! Except those dramatic clouds in the distance started looking darker and more ominous. We rushed to get our tents set up in order to weather the storm, if it came. At first we had an inconsequential summer shower that came and went. Maybe that was all? Nope.
Suddenly it began to downpour. We dove into Dad’s larger tent and watched it rain and rain and rain. The rain was coming down so heavily we couldn’t even see the surrounding mountains. Everything was just grayed out. And then we noticed water in the tent. It was coming up from the bottom. It was dripping down from the top (even with the rainfly on). The rain was not letting up, and it seemed Dad’s borrowed tent was not waterproof.
So we decided to throw in the towel. We ran to the car, leaving the tents behind, and headed up to the lodge, hoping there’d be a room available. There was, as well as a restaurant (with no power!) so we sat down, ate ham sandwiches off their “power outage menu”, and watched the rain and lightning show through the floor-to-ceiling windows. By the time we were done with dinner, the rain had let up, so we went back to the campsite to tidy a few things up and check on our tents. Ours was completely dry, but Dad’s was not, so we emptied it out, and headed up to our cabin for the night. It was particularly nice knowing we’d get good night’s sleep, as the next morning we were waking up at 6 to go rafting down the Rio Grande.