The road to Hueco Tanks!
For 10,000 years, Hueco (“whey-coes”) Tanks has provided water, food and shelter to natives and travelers in the Chihuahuan Desert. The Paleoindian hunters, Kiowa, Mescalero Apache, Comanche, Tigua, Jornada Mogollon and the people of Isleta del Norte Pueblo all inhabited the area and considered it a sacred, life-giving oasis!
We stayed at the campground at Hueco Tanks State Park, it’s a beautiful, very clean and well maintained park. Because of vandalism and over use, access to the park is restricted and they only allow a limited amount of people per day, including campers. A reservation/permit are necessary to hike or climb in the park. Everyone that enters the park is required to watch a video before exploring Hueco Tanks.
The park is renowned for the rock painting images of “masks” or face designs associated with rain or storm dieties. Hueco Tanks has the largest grouping of such masks in North America, with more than 200 identified.
The hike to Cave Kiva
There are over 3000 recorded rock paintings depicting religious masks, geometric designs, dancing figures, plants, animals and symbols associated with rain.
We did a hiking tour with a ranger named Jorge and learned so much about survival in the desert and the importance of preserving and respecting the land and the legacy of the people that inhabited this special place. He even shared a location where they believe prehistoric animals “rubbed against”, it was about 9 feet above the ground and smooth and shiny.
We felt very fortunate to have had the opportunity to stay here, it gave us a greater appreciation for the incredible people that inhabited this area and the life giving, “natural forces” of nature.
Balmorhea to Hueco Tanks – 194 miles