Greetings from Guadalupe Mountains National Park!


The moon came up slow. Many and cumulus were the clouds covering the horizon, and from about a half hour below the tops of them it shone up through like the opposite of how the sun’s rays pour Jesus Christ “awe” down usually. We watched as Super Mario style mushroom worlds morphed into tusked skulls, the wind chugging the atmosphere along at just the right speed.

And then there she was. Golden and fat she rose, momentarily, through a hole in those clouds. She teased her figure, came with an ambience of ambiguity, and then she was gone again. The clouds covered her back over, and the peep show began.

The moon would slightly crest above them again, then peekaboo in and out. At one point it appeared as if she was racing the clouds, desperately trying to get above them.

And then she did.

“Trippy,” Renee says to me, after a more than brief moment of silence.

I would claim that laughter erupted throughout the campground, and it did, but not solely our own.

Silence comes soon after. And then an owl calls out his wisdom tune, though it sounds more like a cat and mouse game to me. Owls are known for being wise, but they’re stone cold killers in the night.

There are fellow Airstreamers, a few Road Bears, an assortment of converted vans. One guy is sleeping in his truck bed.

One of the vans, a slightly aging Roadtrek, sat vacant all during the day in a normal parking spot. You can sleep overnight in a no hookups “RV spot”, or park during the day to go hiking just ten feet away in a normal parking spot. It seems absurd, but I guess the rules are the rules. So while this obviously-a-campervan is parked in the hiking area, the ranger makes his rounds. He peers inside the unit, looking for a camping permit or perhaps some type of sign leading him to believe the owner is attempting to sleep in it, here at this national park, and tonight in this unqualified space.

He finds no evidence of whatever it is he’s looking for, and leaves.

Shortly after the van’s owner returns and proceeds to turn on the lights, pop the top and somehow connects to a conference call in this little to no service portion of Texas. He’s kind of loud about it all. No one seems to mind. The man, 0. Roadtrek, well, infinite.

Renee reminds me, “How high are we again?”

We’re at 8,000 feet. That’s like Nederland, Colorado. If you don’t know where Nederland is, then that’s like a thousand feet higher than the highest places in North Carolina. Or 6,000 feet higher than most anywhere Back East. Or 3k higher than Denver.

The cold bites a bit, but mostly only in the wind. That owl hoots behind me, still playing his game of “here I am mouse, try and hide”. Lightning begins to crackle, again above the clouds. Strange to see lightning go up, I think, but no stranger than most things in the desert. You get used to the absurd, relish it after awhile. It feels like a small village of neighbors who’ve never bothered to bring over a bunt cake or ask for a cup of sugar surround us. Carlsbad sparkles in the distance.

Everyone retires. I hear one of my boys sneeze. The conference call is well over. The lightning produces no thunder, a testament to distances here. That owl keeps going, and so do I.

Good night Guadeloupe.