The more time we spend in Hueco, the more we begin to understand the magic of this place. We came here to boulder the rocks and work our weakness, which is, of course, pure power climbing movement. As a result of this endeavor we have stumbled across the beginning of a vague spiritual understanding of life among the huecos.
Bouldering is hard on our aging bodies and requires additional rest between training sessions. This gives us time to explore the copious rock art that lies protected within Hueco Tanks State Park. Pictographs abound. Pottery shards, arrowheads and tool chippings appear magically after a rain. We leave them all untouched and take only pictures and fond memories.
The ancient art we discover naturally causes our minds to wander and wonder about their creators. What was life like for these early humans a couple of hundred to a few thousand years ago? When we view a strikingly colorful pictograph of “Starry Eyed Man” or a complex “Tlaloc” with its gigantic bug eyes and step-fret designed torso six feet long staring down at us, we can’t help but to quiet the mind and seek answers. My hunch is that they, too, needed occasional rest days between intense hunting sessions and incursions with other proximal human tribes in competition for limited resources. Daily survival had to have taken a toll on mind and spirit. Perhaps their art was a combination of historical recollections and messages to future generations like, “Hey, we were here!” Or, more simply, maybe it was just art for the sake of personal enlightenment.
We spend a couple of days a week exploring East and West Mountains on volunteer tours and one day a week self-guided on North Mountain pursuing our primary objective of wrestling giant pebbles. I often wonder if we create adventures like rock climbing as an evolutionary compensatory response to the early humans’ need to live life on the edge for simple survival. I feel like it’s in my DNA to test myself frequently. Pushing my existence to the very edge could be an inherited trait, or perhaps I just love climbing for the sake of personal enlightenment.
All photos 📸: Maggie or Chuck Odette
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