Rumor had it that Boquillas del Carmen, the small Mexican ejido just across the Rio Grande from Big Bend National Park, had a new ambulance. I was eager to check out the first appearance of EMS on that side of the river, so on the last day of 2014, my partner and I headed over to Boquillas. Given the icy weather conditions and dire forecast of freezing precipitation, a few friends thought I had lost my mind, but it was my last opportunity for a while, and I didn’t want to miss it. An ambulance in Boquillas would definitely be something new for them, and we wanted to find out what they had, what they might need, and what we, as their paramedic neighbors, could work with them on. We found the ambulance, prominently displayed at Customs, but the guys were tied up dealing with the large number of New Year’s visitors, and we didn’t get a chance to talk to them. We did, however, do a little snooping around the ambulance. It was completely empty. Given the vagaries of the Mexican EMS system, that wasn’t a complete surprise. Funding for training and equipment is woefully lacking, and is usually cobbled together from donations. Not much to work with on the five hour trip to the hospital in Muzquiz, located on the other side of the Sierra del Carmens.
The temperature was in the low 30’s, the wind was howling out of the canyon, and we were getting a tad chilly, so after our investigatory tour and a bite of lunch at The Boquillas Restaurant, we headed back over to the park. As we gained elevation and drove up into the Chisos Mountains, we found a winter wonderland. Another face of the Chihuahuan Desert, and a relatively rare one. It was a beautiful way to end 2014.