During an interview for an internship I did a while back, the editor prompted me to pitch fresh ideas. “I don’t want to hear about Hueco Tanks – everyone already knows about that place and it’s covered way too much,” she said.
I nodded in agreement, but inside I thought, “Wait, where?”
Despite growing up here, there are many fun places in El Paso that I’ve yet to explore. Evidently, Hueco Tanks once one of them. It didn’t help that I lacked some wheels. Fast-forward about six or seven years later, and I finally got to visit, but it was to watch a Sun Dance ceremony. My friends and I tried to go for a hike afterwards, but the heavily pouring rain and my ill-prepared outfit (flip flops and a dress) just wasn’t a good combo.
Fast-forward once more to this past weekend. Thanks to our handy dandy calendar, I learned that Hueco Tanks was having a women’s hike. I messaged a close friend who I missed terribly and asked her to join me. Our vastly different lives have made it difficult to hang out, and I was determined to finally catch up with her and bring nature back in my life.
When I was a freelancer, my loose schedule allowed me more time to volunteer and work on gardening projects. And now, like many people of my generation, finding balance between a full-time and doing those sort of things has been a challenge. But spending time out doors is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. The proof is in my blood test results, where I found out I was vitamin D deficient. Sheesh!
While taking supplements is a no-brainer, I knew I needed to do more than that. I needed to not find time, but make time, to spend more time outdoors, and what better opportunity than a guided tour?
The negativity that surrounded 2016 was undeniably overwhelming. Tuning into the news, weather it was on TV or NPR or podcasts, I often felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. And while I tried things like meditation to tune out the noise, there’s nothing as instantaneously comforting and healing as immersing yourself in nature.
My good friend and I caught up at Hueco Tanks, and our childlike excitement made it abundantly clear that we need to do more of this. Our tour guide was the perfect combination of informative and humorous, which means she didn’t mind my silly antics (see photo to the right of this paragraph).
Why did it take me so long to hike there? There’s no good excuse, but I know that moving forward, this is a medicine I can’t afford to forget about. In fact, I need to print small photos of Hueco Tanks, slip them into prescription bottles and give them to healthcare practitioners throughout the city.