Gfx: Mission Trail

Daniel Ornelas: El Paso is…

El Paso is an adventure, and growing up in the middle of it, sometimes you wonder what it would be like to live in another city.

We don’t have professional sports teams like other Texas cities such as Dallas, San Antonio or Houston do. There’s no ‘Fiesta’ in this part of Texas or a Riverwalk. Sure, I wish we had a nice lake or a beach near by, but what we do have what’s left of the Rio Grande.

El Paso is a place where not all Chicos like tacos and according to a recent study, not all Chicos are guapos. It’s a West-Texas town that often gets forgotten by the rest of Texans.

Locals either love the city and never want to leave it, or they hate it and can’t wait to take their talents elsewhere. Those that are eager to leave for greener pastures claim that there’s nothing to do. It’s safe to say that it’s a love-hate relationship, for those who stay or leave.

Quite frankly, there’s plenty to do in El Paso –  you just have to go digging for it. After all, it’s a city known for Miners.

The city is rich with natural beauty. Home of the Franklin Mountains State Park, the largest sustained mountain range in Texas.

Dozens of hiking trails adorn the mountains, from the Ron Coleman Trail to West Cottonwood Spring, definitely a site to see from 7,000-feet above sea level. Needless to say, if you like the outdoors, El Paso will have plenty for you to do.

For the history enthusiasts, the Mission Trail is a must, spanning from Ysleta, crossing Socorro and into San Elizario, where the infamous Billy the Kid broke into a jail. There’s Fort Bliss, one of the main reason El Paso became El Paso.

El Paso is home to the only NCAA men’s basketball champion in the state, the UTEP Miners, formerly known as Texas Western. And we are home to the annual Sun Bowl game, second oldest bowl game only to the Rose Bowl.

And the city has a new love affair with its newest sports team, the El Paso Chihuahuas, who’s stadium was built downtown at the expense of City Hall existence, all to the dismay of a few angry tax payers.

This Texas city loves its football…even if it’s not local. The one thing that stands about sports fans in El Paso, they either love the Dallas Cowboys or they hate them and that’s what makes Sundays during the fall fun.

Now that you know some of the things El Paso has to offer, let me tell you why I hold all of it close to my heart.

As a sports aficionado, I’m neither a Cowboys fan or a Cowboys hater, but it’s fun to initiate the debate with the masses. You’ll also find me at every other Chihuahuas game.

Those great outdoors give me a sense of tranquility, and I encourage everyone to get their hike on. As for the not all Chicos liking tacos part, I am perhaps in the minority of El Pasoans that doesn’t find that dish appetizing.

Growing up in a Catholic family, the Mission Trail is something I had to know about. I’m proud to say I’ve lived nearly 30 years near such a historic landmark.  And being a Latino is something I’m very proud of, more so being a Latino in a city that so many men and women in the armed forces call home.  And I’m proud to call El Paso home.

And that’s what El Paso is…good or bad…still my home.