Welcome to West Texas. A land of wide open spaces, desert cactus and javelinas (a pig like animal with a squashed face – pronounced Have-a-leaner). Tacos , a burrito style wrap, are a favourite meal out here. The food is often spicy with loads of chillies and jalapeno peppers (pronounced Hal-a-peno). Don’t be confused though. Javelinas don’t like jalapenos. They prefer to eat roots, grass, seeds and fruit.
The distances between towns in Texas are so far apart that sometimes we would cycle for two days without being able to re-fill our water bottles. That means we had to carry ALOT of water. Jack, after all is a big thirsty dog with a fur coat.
In West Texas the land is so dry that only a small number of cattle can live on any ranch (farm). Beautiful Long-Horn cattle wander among the arid scrub in search of a feed. The horns of fully grown bulls (male) can extend 7 feet (2.1 metres) from tip to tip. Jack and Paco were not going to pick any fights with one of those!
Sitting at the very bottom of the United States on the Mexican border is the ‘Big Bend National Park’. This is a beautiful sanctuary of scorching hot desert, impressive river canyons, and high mountains where mountain lions and black bears roam.
As we headed north out of Texas we passed by giant herds of elk. Elk are well suited to desert habitat, but have been pushed by humans and hunters into higher altitude forest in much of the United States. Paco’s excitement made this group of elk gallop at full speed.