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A Trip for Dad

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Offline RichardM

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A Trip for Dad
« on: March 03, 2016, 04:38:09 PM »
My Dad loved Big Bend. He first went out there on a couple of University of Texas Geology field trips back in the 50's. It wasn't until 1968 that he got back out there, this time with my mother, older brother (7), sister (5), and myself (3). That was in an August trip during a rather hot summer. The A/C in our station wagon went out early in the trip, and I'm pretty sure the experience of hauling three hot and whiny kids around influenced my parents' decision to vacation elsewhere during following summers. Dad managed to make it out for occasional solo visits through the years, and I started joining him after graduating college and working for a year or so. Big Bend was always one of his favorite places, so after he passed away last October, we decided to have a family memorial trip in his honor and visit some of his favorite spots.

About half of our family was able to get free for MLK weekend, so we headed out for a short visit. We left opposite sides of Austin fairly early on Saturday morning and headed to the park. My car, with Mom, my neice Jessica, her boyfriend Chris, and me had lunch at Carl's Jr. in Fort Stockton, while my brother Brian's car with his girlfriend Melanie, son Dawson, and my brother Gordon opted for a sit-down lunch at the Sagebrush Cafe. I was ok with my Turkey Teriyaki Burger, but I think they got the better deal. We stopped by the Gage Hotel in Marathon to look around and show it to Jessica and Chris. After entering the park, we headed down the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, stopping off at the Homer Wilson Overlook and Sotol Vista before heading down to Santa Elena Canyon to wait for Brian's crew to catch up.



Once we were all there, we crossed over Terlingua Creek on some branches that others had laid down to make a somewhat unstable bridge. Most of us made it across with dry shoes. We hiked up almost to the top of the trail before deciding to head back down to the river. Mom's hip was bothering her and she didn't want to push it on the first hike/walk. We held a brief devotional by the river's edge for Dad, with Jessica reading his favorite bible verse (Isiah 40:31).





We saw a lone javelina, which Dawson was able to get a picture of by standing on a picnic table. Apparently this guy was kind of shy.



After leaving the Canyon, we hiked up to the Dorgan House and checked it out. The light was kind of flat, so most of my pics that afternoon aren't worth posting. We stopped at Tuff Canyon to check it out, but didn't have time to explore, as everyone was anxious to get to Study Butte and check in at the Chisos Mining Company Motel. A word of advice to anyone staying there in the future: bring some scented diaper bags with you, as apparently they have been having septic issues and want guests to place used toilet paper in the trash can. Or as they so delicately put it, "if you didn't drink it or eat it, don't put it in the toilet!" After checking in, we had a great dinner at Rio Bravo's just up the road. A few family members were a little surprised at how easy it was to hear conversations in adjoining rooms at the motel, but everyone slept well.

The next morning we all had the breakfast buffet at the Study Butte Cafe (or whatever they call the cafe at the gas station). It was almost as good as the buffet at the Chisos Basin Lodge, but much more convenient. Afterwards Mom, Melanie, Jessica, and Chris headed towards the East side of the park, while Brian, his son Dawson, Gordon, and I headed off to climb Casa Grande.

Los Tres Hermanos:



Padre y Hijo:



Without the snow that contributed to my fall in December, the trail was a piece of cake to follow. I must admit that except for Dawson, the climb was a lot harder on us than expected. I was coming off an upper respiratory infection and was at about half lung capacity, so I was out of breath most of the time. Brian and Gordon were just flat out of shape. ;) Just before reaching the false summit and its infamous arch, I warned my brothers that they would probably feel the urge to say a few cuss words in a minute. They did. Here's the view showing how much further we had still to go.





We did find a few patches of snow left over.



The scree seemed to be much more slippery than the other times I've been up there. It seemed like the rocks slid on every step.



more to come...
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 05:06:34 PM by RichardM »

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Offline RichardM

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2016, 11:56:44 AM »
At last, made it to the summit!















Did I mention some of us felt a little out of shape?









« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 05:12:29 PM by RichardM »

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Offline RichardM

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2016, 12:11:12 PM »
A few more from the summit.

















« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 05:20:07 PM by RichardM »

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Offline RichardM

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2016, 12:34:07 PM »
It was a bit breezy on top, so we didn't hang around as long as I would have liked.





We took the "Casa Grande Direct" route down and popped out onto the Lost Mine Trail after Chris and the girls had already passed us. The plan had been for us to meet them at the saddle. At Brian's insistence (he was a bit tired), we headed on down to the car to wait. My phone wasn't able to send out a text message from the trailhead parking lot, but Gordon's iPhone was (both of us are on AT&T). After they came down we headed to the lodge for a late lunch.





Here are some of Jessica's pictures from their exploration of the East side.







We then strolled around the Window View Trail.



Since we still had plenty of daylight left, I talked everyone into a little stroll out into the desert to visit some old friends.



Poor Mom got left in the dust on the way back to the cars.



After cleaning up back at the motel, we headed over for some brews at La Kiva. John the owner gave us some free appetizers that they were testing out in the new kitchen. Hopefully the kitchen is fully operational by now. The place looks great. John said he's looking for a female counterpart to Penisaurus Erectus, to be named Vaginus Receptus and placed on the other end of the bar.

We then headed up to the Starlight for dinner. Dawson opted for the Diego Burger, but sadly was not able to finish it. Ah, the hubris of youth!



The next morning we left Big Bend and headed home. It was a great trip, even as short as it was. I'm sure Dad was pleased. We'll probably do another version as soon as my sister and her kids can get their schedule cleared.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 05:23:56 PM by RichardM »

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Offline ambersdad

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2016, 02:47:31 PM »
Some great pics Richard!   Great trip in memory of your dad.
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Offline Demon Deacon

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2016, 03:08:59 PM »
Great stuff and a wonderful way remember your father.

We must have nearly crossed paths all over the place.  We too were surprised by the new rules at the Chisos Mining Company.  We had stayed in the same cabin the same weekend in 2015, and didn't recall having to do that, though we all wondered if we somehow all managed to miss the warning the previous year.  There's now way that happened was the conclusion we came to.

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Offline Homer Wilson

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2016, 03:16:12 PM »
What a great memorial trip! And you got your vengeance on casa Grande :evil:
I'm sure this willbe a trip you vividly remember for a very long time.

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Offline Andreas

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2016, 03:16:54 PM »
Richard, what a wonderful TR with great photos, I enjoyed it tremendously!

This trip in memory of your father would've made him very proud! Also love how you are carrying on his tradition by taking your children/family to BiBe.



We've all come to think of ourselves as links
In a chain, so much to gain
We are the ones who tie our fathers to our sons -
Don't you know, that's how we grow.


(Gil Scott-Heron)
"Any time you're throwin dirt you're losin ground."

Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

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Offline mule ears

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2016, 04:47:52 PM »
Richard I am really glad that you all made it out and to the top of Casa Grande, I know it was important for you and for your dad!   :high5:
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
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Offline mbender

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2016, 04:50:04 PM »
Boom! Top of the world on Casa Grande!! Well done!  :eusa_dance:

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Offline Jalco

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2016, 06:09:24 PM »
Great report.   Love the pics.  The place just never gets old, does it?

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Offline Quatro

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2016, 07:35:42 PM »
Nice report.  As I was viewing your report photos, my kid glanced over as he walked by and said "Hey, that's Dawson!"  Same school, same grade apparently.  Small world - even in Big Bend.
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Offline RichardM

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2016, 08:41:38 PM »
Nice report.  As I was viewing your report photos, my kid glanced over as he walked by and said "Hey, that's Dawson!"  Same school, same grade apparently.  Small world - even in Big Bend.
Small world, indeed.

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Offline SA Bill

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2016, 09:07:01 PM »
Good job in all aspects Richard!  :eusa_clap:
   Bill
Bill - In San Antonio

Growing old is mandatory.
Growing up is optional.

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Offline elhombre

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Re: A Trip for Dad
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2016, 08:40:04 AM »
Nice Richard, very nice!
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