Return to Big Bend
March, 2005

 Beth and Michael made the decision to return to the "scene of the crime", as Beth put it, for their 20th wedding anniversary. They had less time now than when they were first married. Their jobs entitled them to several weeks of vacation a year, but now they were spending most of that going to "Pauline's Place" in Missouri. They UPS'd their camping gear to Michaels' cousin Mark in Austin, Texas, then flew out of Tampa, Florida the Saturday before their anniversary. They arrived in Austin in the early afternoon and rented a car and drove to Marks where Jennifer was visiting with her daughter Christalyn.

Sunday afternoon, Mark and Michael dropped Virginia and Beth off at Jennifer's home in Georgetown, Texas. Jennifer and Tony
were hosting a wedding shower for Jennifer's' sister, Julie.


The wedding shower was a "hoot"

and Beth was among the participants to see Julie in her wedding dress.
Monday, the pair (Mike & Beth) drove the eight hours from Austin to Big Bend. It was Presidents Day and with a lot of people having a three day weekend, they were not sure they would be able to get "their campsite" so they had reservations in the Lodge for the night.
On Tuesday morning they hiked a trail behind the Lodge and enjoyed the vistas.

That afternoon they set up camp at their old #53

where they had camped when they first met in 1983. That evening they hiked to the "Window".

Wednesday morning they drove to Santa Ellena Canyon on the West side of the park and hiked in as far as they could.

On their way back to the Basin Campground, they hiked the Cattail Falls.

Wednesday afternoon, they hiked The Lost Mine Trail that they had met on those twenty-two years before.

They still did not find the mine. They slept good that night.

Thursday was overcast, foggy and cold in the Basin. Beth and Michael drove down to the desert North of the Basin and hiked the the Grapevine Hills Trail. At the end of the trail was a bridge formed of toppled rocks

and a ring-tailed cat.

 (bb_05_19a.jpg, bb_05_20a.jpg thru bb_05_21b.jpg)   This was the first time they had ever actually seen a ring-tail, though they had one eat some of their food in the night on an earlier trip.
That afternoon they hiked a little known trail

  to an old army fort

  from the 1880's. Michael had found the fort back in 1983 before he met Beth. He had hiked in across the desert after seeing a reference to it on an old map.
Friday was colder and the fog was roiling over the Basin. The pair packed up and drove back to Austin.
Saturday, they visited with Lillian and family.

And visited the the gravesites of loved ones.

Sunday, they gathered for church

   and met the rest of the family for lunch

before flying back to Florida.