Big Bend 2018

Beth and I traditionally celebrated our anniversary on February 23rd, but because of our experience in February of 2010 at Big Bend National Park, we had decided to go in March of this year. We checked the spring breaks for the Texas schools and thought we had the time set to encounter the least amount of college kids. And, this time, because we are both retired, we were driving.

We left Bradenton, Florida on the 13th of March and drove 430 miles to Panama City, Florida where we visited our friends Cherie and Alan whom we had not seen in 15 years. We spent two nights with them. Cherie teaches a Yoga Class one day a week and Beth went with her for Beth's first ever yoga instruction while Alan and I went to breakfast.


On March 15th, we drove the 525 miles on I-10 to Sulfur, Louisiana and spent the night. On the 16th, we drove 315 miles to Round Rock, Texas (having endured the nightmare that is Houston) where we stayed with my cousin Mark and his wife Virginia.

On Saturday the 17th (St. Patrick's Day), Mark and Virginia drove us to Fredericksburg, Texas. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was born and raised there and it is the home of the Admiral Nimitz Museum. The Museum also includes the National Museum of the Pacific War. Mark and I toured the museums while the girls shopped for "antiques". Very good museums. The Pacific War Museum of the 2nd World War was fascinating and had relics from both sides.

On our return to Round Rock, we stopped in Dripping Springs, Texas for Bar-B-Q at the Salt Lick Restaurant.


The following day, Mark's sister Debbie and her son Broughton came for dinner along with Mark and Virginia's daughter Jennifer and her family.

Mark and Virginia had been to visit Beth and I in Florida, but we had not seen the rest of the gang since 2010.


On Monday, the 19th of March, we left Round Rock at 8 am and stopped at McDonalds for breakfast where we met a guy who had also met his wife in Big Bend National Park. We drove 540 miles and made it to the park by 4:30 in the afternoon. The Basin Campground (where we had met in 1983) was full. We found one of three remaining sites at Rio Grand Village campground on the Rio Grand River in the Southeast corner of the park. We set up camp and hiked the Nature Trail.

On Tuesday we broke camp early to find a site in the Basin Campground, camped at site 14 one night. We told our "story" to the Campground Host and he managed to get us our old site (60 now/was 53) for the next several days.


We hiked the Window Trail that evening.

On Wednesday, the 21st, we drove down to the Boquillas Crossing and used our passports for the first time to cross the Rio Grand River via row boat ($5.00) and had lunch in Boquillas, Mexico.

We also hiked the trail to Boquillas Canyon on the U. S. side.

Hot day!

It was nice to get back to our favorite campsite.

Thursday the 22nd, we hiked the Pine Canyon Trail off Glen Springs Road (dirt road). Awesome, quiet and beautiful.

On our way back across the desert on Glen Springs Road, we stopped to admire the flowers.


Hot days, cold nights.

On Friday the 23rd, we hiked the Lost Mine Trail in the morning and Brother-in-law Ed arrived in the early afternoon. Beer and stories abounded!

On Saturday the 24th, we drove to the west side of the park and hiked the Upper Burro Mesa Pour Off (3.8 miles roundtrip).

After hiking the top, we drove around to the Lower Burro Mesa and hiked in the mile to the base.

Ed had planned to camp on the Rio Grand where he could do some fishing, but it was too hot to camp on the River Road so he camped with us, sleeping in his car with his dog.

On Sunday the 25th, we drove back around to the west side of the park and hiked the Mule Ears Spring Trail (4 miles).

On the Mule Ears Spring Trail we met a couple from the U. P. of Michigan. Turned out she was the daughter of Beth's music teacher in high school and had also graduated from Rochester High. Small World!!

We drove down to Castelon for lunch (yucky frozen turkey sandwich) and then hiked into Santa Elana Canyon. A bus load of young kids hiked in just as we were. Still cool and pretty albeit noisy.


Ed stayed at our campsite to enjoy our spot. It was too hot (90's) for him to camp in the desert. Ed and Anne (Beth's sister) were the ones that had told Beth about Big Bend and that she should go there back in the winter of 1983.

On the 26th, we drove to Terlingua for lunch at the Rio Bravo then returned and hiked the Chisos Basin Loop Trail (1.8 miles).

Ed left.

On Tuesday the 27th, we drove back to the east side of the park and hiked the Hot Springs Canyon Trail (5.5 miles) from the Hot Springs side and back. Ran into Sandy and Mark (the couple from the Mule Ears Spring Trail) coming from the Rio Grand Village side of the trail and had a nice chat. The sky was overcast and the air was cool (70's) and windy but with beautiful views of the Rio Grand River.

On Thursday the 28th, we hiked to Cattail Falls (about 5 miles round trip) quiet, cool and beautiful. Lots of yellow columbine blooming.


We departed Big Bend on Friday the 29th and drove through the Sierra Madera Astrobleme (ancient meteor crater) on our way to Ft. Stockton. We stopped for the night just west of Houston after driving 626 miles.

Saturday the 30th we took the most outer route around Houston but got stopped when some fool waved a gun on top of a sideline train car. Managed to make it to Crestview, Florida in the panhandle after driving another 600 miles.

Finally arrived back in Bradenton on the 31st of March after traveling 4,000 miles.