EL PASO, Texas - When it rains most of the afternoon and early morning, as was the case Thursday, hiking is usually -last- on the "things to do" list. However, there -is- an excellent option here in El Paso, with the Franklin Mountains State Park literally splitting our beautiful border city in half.
It's sad to say, but, I'd estimate that at least 9 out of 10 El Pasoans have probably never taken the Wyler Aerial Tramway; let alone, hiked up one of the many trails around the mountain, just north of downtown and east of Mesa St.
I personally took the task upon myself, and lugged a camera and equipment up along the way, to prove a point: there is plenty to do here along the border. You just have to open your eyes, -and your mind-, and take advantage!! As "fronterizos", or "borderlanders", we are surrounded by a mountainous montage of marvelous vistas marked by spectacular sites of the Chihuahan Desert's beauty.
Instead of taking the historic aerial cable car up the 26-hundred foot ride, I actually took it -down- after hiking -up- the mountain, and fully treasuring the desert habitat of the Franklin Mts. every step of the way.
I also had the chance to catch up with other hikers who were able to take in the 7-thousand square foot view from on top. Most of the people I talked to for the story, in which I was personally involved, were simply blown away by the breathless borderland beauty (with a view that includes three states and two countries).
"It is a gift from God," said Bradan Thomas, a visitor from the Dallas area, "It's like, whenever you're starting the hike, you are saying, 'Yeah, let's go do this.' And, then when you're half way down you're saying, 'Why am I doing this?' Then you finally get up here and you see what it's all about."
"It's pretty cool," said Tianchen Kai, a native of Shanghai, China, "It's exhausting, but it's not super dangerous. It's fun."
Kai and the other hikers along the trail, (most of them from outside of the area), seemed to agree: borderland residents should take advantage of the numerous trails, history and jewels of the southwrst that El Pasoans have in their own backyard.
Let's do this El Paso!! Let's CELEBRATE all we are blessed with here in the border southwest. :)