We arrive at Lajitas Stables for the first trail ride of the day. The cool canyon air is layered with alternating scents of horse dung and saddle soap, fueling my anticipation to ride again. Kellie, a long-legged cowgirl in fringed chaps, greets me and Chris. Soon, Mike pulls into the parking lot. A young man who’s traveling solo across the country, he tells us he pledged to do something he had never done before as often as he could along the way. Today it was horseback riding in Big Bend. Mike’s well-prepared, dressed in a high-viz yellow long-sleeved shirt, matching socks, and pristine hiking boots.
Writer and psychic artist Melanie Alberts works at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in Prune Juice Journal, Sleet Magazine, Failed Haiku, Drifting Sands, Texas Poetry Assignment, Ransom Center Magazine, Borderlands, bottle rockets, and others. Follow Melanie on Instagram @clair.circles.spirit.art or on Twitter @NaturalMedium
Amanda Calkins, also known as The Texas Tumbleweed, is a documentary photographer focusing on telling stories of the lives and legacies of fellow Texans. At a crossroads in her life, she felt called to take a solo trip out West, seeking solitude and clarity. The area had fewer travelers back then and phone reception was almost non-existent. The untamed and vast landscape left her feeling vulnerable yet at peace, bringing about a profound and unexpected spiritual awakening. Grounded in wilderness, inspired by the textures of the terrain, enchanted by the colorful sunsets over the Chisos, and drawn to the lifestyles and stories of the locals, the area instantly pulled her in. The Big Bend region remains the place where she feels deeply rooted. You can follow her visual storytelling via Instagram @BigBendForever or website www.thetexastumbleweed.photography Amanda is Big Bend Literary Magazine's Photography Editor.