Vignette: Socorro Box Morning
The day starts with the Jetboil. No exceptions. As the sun begins to filter through the wool curtains and nags us awake, we stretch our toes and try to adjust. Desert nights usually get below freezing at this time of year, and we typically leave the fan open to let in fresh air. This means it's cold and dry by the time we're up. It's about the same temperature as it would be if we'd been sleeping in a tent, just protected from the elements. The desert is a windy beast.
Once we muster up the courage to peel away the covers and plant our feet on the cold floor of the van, we fire that Jetboil up and pour our beverages of choice. For me, it's usually a toss up between coffee or tea, and for Richmond it's almost always coffee. He loves the Aeropress, but I'm a bit neutral.
I'm slower to wake, and slower to warm. Usually I'm tucked in the covers for a while after Richmond has already jumped out of our lofted bed. So needless to say, he's usually the one getting the Jetboil started, and I'm lucky.
At some point we pull open the sliding door to greet the day. Before us is a canyon, painted with dark purples and oranges against the rising sun in the East. It's an incredible way to wake up. Just minus the comforts of a bathroom nearby to have a morning sit. The closest one is about a mile away, down a bumpy, rocky road. We'll head there soon to eat breakfast and find some relief.
Once we've put the bed away (which involves the push of a button), we roll down the hill, towards the main parking area in the Box. In the distance, we see it: an impressive canyon with towering walls, covered in electric green lichen and littered with caves. We pull up, to find just one other car has stayed there for the night. A pretty dirty looking man with his dog, who I can tell he loves a lot, as she wags her tail and he places her up on a cot that he's set up outside of his small, red compact. He leaves soon after.
We prepare some granola with yogurt and milk, and gobble that up. We're not too hungry, but need some fuel for climbing. We wait for the sun to hit the rocks, passing the time by listening to our book on tape about the American West in the 19th century. Both of us, wanting to learn more about the Native Americans in the region, only to find (as in most cases) that this particular book focuses heavily on white historical figures. While we're disappointed, we still find the deep storytelling on Kit Carson fascinating and slowly become attached to his character.
When the rocks look warm enough (they've collected the cold overnight), we gather our climbing gear and lock up the van. Trudging towards the boulders close by, we pass many blossoming desert wildflowers that are like gems among the dust and sand.
Reaching the boulders, we put our packs and shoes high upon rocks, to avoid any scorpions or spiders making new homes out of them. We stretch and run in place, anything to warm our bodies up. Then, reaching into our chalk bags and laying out the crash pad, place our hands on the wall.