This is the kind of hot where an egg will fry on the hood of your car (I tried. It worked.) This is the kind of hot that kills air conditioners and melts the ice in your marg faster than you can drink it (Solution = drink faster). This is the kind of hot that makes the Devil himself sweat while he orders up another bucket of beers down in Hell’s version of Las Vegas (aka Las Vegas). So I did what any normal person would do when the mercury climbed above 110-degrees. I laced up the trail shoes and went for a run. In Far West Texas. In August. The good thing about running when it’s 110-degrees outside is that you don’t have to worry about rattlesnake bites. Even the desert detritus of biting, stinging, venomous snakes, scorpions, and black widow spiders have said, “Fuck this shit,” and sought the solace of a shady rock in a dusty, dry riverbed.
My (deathly) fear of rattlesnakes assuaged, I began my sojourn into the twisting, grimy, scorched red earth of Big Bend National Park with one goal – Run For The Border. Was this urge somehow subconsciously inspired by a seed planted in my brain by the 1988-2001 Taco Bell ad campaigns? I would never know. But I pointed shoes south and set out towards the Mexican border, 5 miles beyond the heat-mirage of the horizon.
A pathetic two miles in my mind began to play tricks on me and I was cooked like the fried egg on the hood my car. When you are running inside of a light bulb, it tends to melt the brain. I entered what I call the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Room. This is the room of confused reality, crippling dehydration, and salt-block sweat that is induced by running when it’s 110-degrees outside, or by various and sundry recreational aids. If you’ve missed the cultural reference because you live under a rock, go read the book (or watch the movie if you’re lazy). In The Room, that cactus turned into an octopus waving me on. The dust devils became real devils. And somewhere way down towards the Rio Grande, a tiny Chihuahua urged me to eat tacos.
I kept running.
Just one more goal. As the humming of Border Patrol drones and hidden cameras surely recorded by presence on a NSA list somewhere in Washington, I waded across the river and emerged on the southern bank of the Rio Grande. In Mexico.
Thug status attained, (to the right is the picture to prove it) I made the run from the border as tumbleweeds rolled, mirages danced, and the harmonica warble of every Western movie ever played in my mind. It’s amazing how much easier it is to run fast with the fear that a Border Patrol drone is hot on your heels.
Moral of the story. Don’t let a little heat keep you from your goals of desert running. Or eating tacos.