Hiking Hueco Tanks, Texas

By December 5, 2015Travel


“Don’t put your hand in the holes. There could be a snake or tiny shrimp,” the guide says. “The holes in the rocks give this place its name. It’s Hueco and not Waco. Does anyone in the group know Spanish? The huecos can be as small as your hand or as big as a swimming pool.” You can tell he was a high school teacher.

The guide says the pictograph is one thousand years old, give or take one hundred. “You can’t use carbon dating, because the paints are mineral based and not vegetable.”

I think twenty questions. Is it animal, vegetable or mineral?

The guide points to a rock with a pictograph of a starry-eyed face.

I think what brought stars to this person’s eyes? The night sky? The desert? A rattlesnack? In the New York Times, a model wears a bold “X” over one eye drawn with black eyeliner.

“Be careful,” the guide says. “Many plants have thorns. This one’s so sharp the fronds were used for spearheads.” I’m not sure if he said fronds, but that’s what he meant.

The guide tells us a long story that would benefit from editing. “Young Native American warriors, their horses stolen by Mexican troops, are trapped in the rocky canyon for days.”

I think this has something to do with guns.

“They manage to escape, but one warrior is wounded and left behind, hiding in a hueco. A lone wolf appears, licks the warrior’s wounds and protects him. He survives to tell this story.”

I think we all hide in our own huecos, waiting for a lone wolf to appear.

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