The Thanksgiving break couldn't arrive soon enough as I planned my third trip to Big Bend. This would be a special trip as it was my family’s first visit to the park.
For months, I gathered gear, watched the weather, searched the net for new gadgets and scribbled down various itineraries. What I hadn't planned on was my oldest son’s two week run of gastroenteritis. His symptoms started about sixteen days prior to our departure. The usual flu-like symptoms were followed by unrelenting epigastric pain, nausea and vomiting. During his illness, he dropped 10 lbs, visited the ER twice and asked us to not cancel the trip. Of course his health is first and foremost and our trip was postponed. The news of our intent shattered him and after a long discussion with my wife, we made alternate plans. Our pediatrician is a family friend and she was also involved in our discussions.
The day before our expected departure, Julian kept his first solid meal intact. His pain was improved but not resolved. Again, after a long discussion, we decided we would drive towards Big Bend. A worst case scenario included turning around and retreating home. An intermediate plan was to visit the Lost Maples area.
The morning of our departure was full of excitement as everyone was in good spirits. The emphasis was on our eldest and his condition. Every mouthful of input was monitored with scrutiny. The drive continued without a hitch.
The months of anticipation were unfolding as planned. Our drive included long discussions about our upcoming mission at Big Bend. We informed the boys we would be on daily scavenger hunts. All the family members received alternate code names and the boys obtained secret agent gadgets which included lanyards, whistle, compass, flashlights, small multi-tools, magnifying glasses and walking sticks. Approximately 9.5 hours after leaving Victoria, we arrived at the Big Bend entrance. This in itself was a quite an accomplishment.
We spent the next three days hiking in God’s country. Our routine included a healthy breakfast (on us) which was followed by a moderate hike. After completing the morning hike, we would retire to our rooms and have a nice lunch (on us) while reminiscing about our excursion. The afternoon hikes included a shorter loop. Every evening was ended with a nice dinner. Two of the three evenings were concluded at the Chisos Lodge Restaurant. The third evening was a real treat as we ended up at the Starlight Theatre in Terlingua.
The hikes that were conquered by everyone in our party included: The Window Trail, Burro Mesa Puroff, Lost Mine Trail, Hot Springs, Cattail Falls, Tuff Canyon and Santa Elena Canyon. We also managed a side trip to Luna’s Jacal and Terlingua Abaja.
Once in awhile there is an opportunity to take in a piece of nature that you may never see. In these days of unrest and turmoil it is great to see that GOD still produces some wondrous beauty.
I will end by saying this was a magical trip for all. The emotional rollercoaster, visual park experience, and family bond are beyond verbal or written expressions.