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  • Writer's pictureRuss Newton

3rd Day of the trip was the Best!

Though it didn't start out that way. We first drove to the famous Hot Springs. It was closed. Then we went to Boquillas del Carmen, a city on the Mexican side of the border. Also known as a crossing from the US to Mexico at the Southern most point in the park. It was closed. It took us most of the day to visit these two locations, so on the way back, Jim suggested a look a site called the balanced rock. We had to take a right on Grapevine Hill trail. It was on the way back. Jim didn't mention at first it was a gravel road. As we got closer, he did mention it. Now I am going to pause here and tell you all a tale. The first time we came to the park a year ago, we were in Santa Elana's Canyon late in the day and noted a "short cut" called Old Maverick road. We asked a couple of rangers if we could make it down the 12 mile road. They took one look at my car and said "No way". Well I decided to chance it. And it was a rough road but passable at slow enough speed. Halfway down the road, we flagged down a Mustang coming the other way. the car held two Russian Nationals on vacation in the US. But the assured us the road they had come down was passable. So we took the road again this trip as Jackson had not seen it. And it was basically the same ride as the last time. Okay, back to the story. So we start down the Grapevine Hill Trail and it was way worse then Old Maverick Road. I bottomed the car out twice without seeing what was causing it. It was a rough ride and no balanced rock in sight. Well we came to a clearing with eight or nine cars parked in it and this sign was outside of it.

Here is Jim and Jackson, not gasping for air

Note the description of the hike to the rock. "Most of the trail is easy but the last quarter mile is steep" You think? Look at this picture of the steep part. And a warning about high heat? It was in the 40's the day we were there.

And this doesn't do the climb justice. It is a difficult climb up there for anyone and for me with ALS, I am very proud that I made it.

Here is the balanced rock.

Here is me, gasping for air!

Here is view of the canyon we walked up to see the rock.

And here is a second picture.

And here is a third. Hard to photograph it, it was so large. To quote Jim, it looked like we were on another planet.

But in conclusion, it was the highlight of our trip. An amazing view of a miracle of nature. A gigantic rock, balanced on two other rocks for God knows how long ago or how it happened. And you can't see it easily, you have to endure a long walk, steep climb and you can't see it until you are there. You can not see it from below.

A view through the hole made by the rock.

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