I made it through the harrowing drive to Chisos Basin Campground, then started winding my way around the very narrow campground road looking for a spot that could accommodate Mander.
I was stressing out trying to traverse through the campground and almost got myself stuck in a dead end. Everything was looking mighty full and I was starting to think I might have to go back up that traumatizing road. I tried to find a camp host so I could simply ask if they had anything open but couldn’t find him anywhere. I finally found a spot, on a severe slop, that was certainly not meant for RV’s, but I didn’t care. I jammed Mander in and thought it was acceptable enough for the night. I let out a small sigh of relief that if nothing else, at least I had a place to stay the night. I was still holding out hope I was going to be able to secure my backcountry permit, so time was of the essence! I hurriedly moved to the next course of action; paying for, thus securing my camping spot so I could get my butt to the visitor center.
I was wandering around, trying to find the ever illusive camp host, when I found a drop box for payment and registration. The only problem was, I didn’t have the correct amount and I needed change. Crap, crap, crap! Just then, a woman comes walking towards me, hand extended and introduces herself as Linda. She tells me she has been following me on Instagram and knew I was coming to Big Bend. When she heard around camp that there was a vintage camper broken down on the side of the road, she thought there was a good chance it was me! Clearly, she HAD been following my journey. *Insert laugh cry emoji here*
I quickly told her my situation and she jumped into action. She thought she may be able to make change for me so we got to work filling out the envelope. Finally, the camp host shows up and although I can tell he’s not super happy with where Mander is parked, he shows me mercy and gets me squared away. After all my ducks are in a row at the camp, I ask to be pointed to the visitor center. Come to find out, it’s damn near a mile hike straight up the side of the mountain. Gulp.
It was long past lunch time and I was still shaky with nerves and adrenaline, but I swapped into my hiking boots and set out under the midday sun. I thanked Linda for helping me and told her I would make sure to report back with an update on the permit. I pumped my little legs up that trail as fast as I could, only pausing to drink water and let the dizzy spells pass. I was so focused and determined to get to the visitor center, I barely noticed how beautiful it was! Finally, which I believe had to have been record timing, I made it to the top and breathlessly threw open the door to the visitor center. I elbowed and shoved my way past everyone, went straight to the counter and said, “You may have heard of me by now! I am the one fighting tooth and nail to acquire a backcountry permit! Unhand it!”
Just kidding. I didn’t do that.
I waited patiently until it was my turn and then politely told the woman what I was hoping to reserve. She had to call the other visitor center to check their reservation book and I waited with bated breath. I heard her confirm each site and couldn’t actually believe I had done it! Success against all odds! That’s what I’m talking about! After all the paper work was in order, I headed down the mountain with my shiny new 2 week permit in hand. The hike down was a lot more enjoyable and I took the time to notice where I was. The views were spectacular.
Once back at camp, I found Linda and told her that all was well. She offered me a beer, which normally I’d decline, but if there was ever a time for a beer, I was in it. We sat and chatted over our cold ones and I got to meet her husband, Grinnell. Although I triumphed in the face of adversity and obtained my permit, that is not what allows me to look back on this time with warmth in my heart. I had no idea that the woman I met when I first arrived at the campsite, frazzled and panicked, was going to leave such an impression on me. That she and her husband were about to embrace me like I was their daughter and be so painfully kind to me. But that’s just what they did. And they wasted no time…in fact they got started that evening….
I have exciting news! I am now on Patreon! If you have been a repeat contributor to my gas money fund in the past, Patreon might be right up your alley. If you haven’t contributed in the past, Patreon could be something you’re interested in participating in! I have a reward tier starting for as little as $1 a month. In exchange for your patronage, I will be offering extra pictures, thoughts and even vlogs exclusively on Patreon! The vlogs will cover FAQ’s and I will also look to you to tell me what you want to see and know more about. Please check out my Patreon page by clicking here!
I will keep the Gas Money Pool on Paypal available for people who prefer to donate whenever they feel like it. You can still contribute through paypal by clicking here.
You can also support me by shopping my vintage clothes collection, Freedom to Roam. These clothes are found at various thrift stores across the U.S. and purchases help keep me roaming!
Regardless of which way you may decide to help, your donation goes straight into my heart and into Mander’s tank. We split it 50/50. 😉 That being said, my blog will remain free and I will always appreciate you coming along for the ride, even if it’s as a silent reader.
Until next time, much love and Mander on!