Harmonson Law Firm - April 2020

APRIL 2020




W e’re lucky to live in such a beautiful corner of the country. There is no doubt that our great country is filled with so much natural beauty, but the American Southwest is truly the pinnacle of that beauty. April is Keep America Beautiful Month, and it’s the perfect time to get outdoors to take it all in. One place to do this is Big Bend National Park. The drive to get there is several hours, but it’s worth it. We’ve stayed in the town of Lajitas, which is right on the Rio Grande. From there, it’s easy to get to Big Bend and Santa Elena Canyon, and it’s just amazing to see how the Rio Grande cuts through the landscape. Just about everywhere in Big Bend is breathtaking. Santa Elena Canyon is such a dramatic feature. When you go, be sure to take the approximate quarter-mile hike from the mouth of the canyon to the banks of the Rio Grande. Standing barefoot in the cold water and looking up at the enormous cliff walls is an experience I will never forget. If you find yourself heading on a trip to Big Bend, I recommend stopping in the town of Marfa. It’s a curious place where New York hipsters and old Texan cowboys collide. That might sound like a strange way to describe it, but it’s true! It’s a very artistic town, but it’s also isolated. It’s a mix of West Texas charm and big city sensibility. The town is home to the Hotel Paisano, designed by famed El Paso architect Henry Trost. It’s where the movie “Giant” was filmed in 1955, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean. (This was Dean’s last film before his death that same year.) The cast and crew made the Hotel Paisano their home for several weeks while they filmed nearby. Eventually, the hotel renamed several of its rooms after the movie’s stars.

Several years ago, I went on a mule deer hunt near Marfa. I shot a mule deer just 500 yards from the set of another movie, “There Will Be Blood,” which starred Daniel Day-Lewis. While the movie is set in California, they filmed around Marfa. Marfa is clearly something of a hot spot for Hollywood, and it is easy to see why. It’s a beautiful area. At times, it can even be stark and lonely. Another day trip not too far from El Paso is Carlsbad Caverns National Park. It’s another place where the natural beauty is striking. But part of that beauty comes from the drive. U.S. Route 62 is, to me, a quintessential Texas drive. It’s an iconic drive defined by wide-open spaces and ranches that stretch as far as the eye can see. It’s truly where the deer and antelope play. Along that route, you’ll also find the tiny town of Cornudas. It’s little more than a cafe and a service station where you can grab a quick bite or a Coke on your way to and from Carlsbad Caverns. In college, I bought a used car in El Paso, and I was driving it home along Route 62 with my granddad back to Lubbock. The car broke down, and border patrol took us to Cornudas. There, we met a hippie with a 1960s-era Volkswagen van who was more than willing to help. We drove out to my broken-down car, and he hooked up his van for a tow. My granddad and I sat in my car and steered as the hippie towed us all the way back to El Paso. It was in the middle of summer, and we didn’t have air conditioning — it was all-around incredibly dangerous — but we made it to El Paso, and we made a really good memory. I can’t say enough about this fantastic region we live in. You can drive in just about any direction, and it won’t be long until you’re surrounded by nature’s beauty. Until next time, I’ll see you on the road again my friends.

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