Sure cure for fighting

Submitted by Darcy Bontempo

I will always treasure the memory of my two stepdaughters' first trip to Big Bend National Park.

Megan and Tricia were teenagers when we first drove west with them to experience this wide open landscape. They were city girls who were always in front of the computer or the TV, and they weren't sure they wanted to leave their comforts and friends to spend the Thanksgiving holiday camping.

But it didn't take long for them to become enchanted with this natural playscape. They became free-spirits and grew more confident with each hike. Every night we could hear them talking and laughing together in their tent. The sisters got along better on this trip than they had in months.

On our last day, we hiked into Ernest Tinaja Canyon where they marveled at the canyon's unique geology as they scrambled high up the layers of multi-colored rocks. They bravely followed their father deep into the canyon, jumping over the natural water holes (called tinajas) and climbing inside the natural rock chimneys where they stretched their arms, their legs and their imaginations.

As we started our hike out, the girls stopped to create animal shadows against a rock wall as sun began to set behind us. Their carefree and improvisational play was a joy to watch, and it made me feel very grateful for the great outdoors that allow us to feel so free and yet so connected to each other.

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