Our long weekend at Big Bend National Park was amazing! It was so gorgeous and we made such great memories. B took off work since there’s no strong cell service around there, so we had a 5 day mini vacation!
This 880,000 acre park (yes that number is accurate!) is on the border of Texas / Mexico and is a treasure. It was so worth the long drives and extra days to get down there.
We left our new friends at Marathon on Friday March 1,
drove to Alpine for lunch (this skillet was so good!),
gas, and groceries then drove the short way to Terlingua right outside of Big Bend.
The landscape in west Texas is so different than anything we’ve seen.
This Target was so funny to us:
The drive to Big Bend
(I will just call Big Bend – BIBE – since I love acronyms and I saw that’s the logo they use on the vinyl car stickers.)
started with straight roads for miles
but then quickly turned into twisty turns, “bare” mountains with no trees, and *nothing* for miles, still. We kept saying how pretty and interesting it all was. But we hadn’t seen anything yet!
We set up at BJ’s RV Park quickly so we could get into BIBE ASAP. As far as BJ’s, we would never pay $32 a night for a park like this anywhere except at Big Bend where things are so limited. The trailer that housed the showers bathrooms and laundry had a dust layer that was at minimum 4 years old. The magazines were about as old. It looked like it was once a well loved place and I wondered what happened to the owners. It was all so dirty and dusty inside and out, but as I said everything’s relative. We were grateful for WiFi to contact family at night to let them know we were safe, and it was very nice to have electricity, water, bathrooms and showers each night after sweaty, beautifully exhausting, full days in the wilderness.
First on our agenda was Lost Mine Trail!
After about 10 minutes, the girls really weren’t feeling it. We had gone up a lot in altitude and they were complaining of being dizzy and tired so we didn’t push them. I shouldn’t say complaining. They were downright protesting and boycotting. We could tell it wasn’t a time to push so B volunteered to be the one who stayed with them this time. I was so happy to tackle this climb with my boy!
This trail was 4.8 miles round trip with about an 1100 ft ascent. That seemed harmless to me. :). And it would have been if we had left earlier and weren’t racing the sun. We started so late in the afternoon and all the signs about bears and mountain lions scared us enough we knew we couldn’t be out past sunset because we weren’t night-prepared.
We totally booked it!
About halfway up, RR & I were discussing that we were sure it had to be just one more “switchback”. (I guess I’m officially a hiker cuz I know what that is now.) We were convinced we were right around the corner from the top. Right then some fellow hikers passed us on their way down and “encouraged us” that we were doing great and most definitely halfway there. Ha! I almost lost RR at that comment!
But I put myself on cheerleading/ drill sergeant mode and encouraged RR we could do this together and it would be so worth it. RR sure is a handful but he is so humble and respectful when it’s just him and one parent. I’m sure that’s normal for kiddos. I loved this special time with him so much. He didn’t get annoyed at my encouragement but kept getting strength from it and we pushed on together.
All the descenders that saw us cleared out of our way quickly and joked about how fast we were going. Ignorance is bliss I guess. Without a trail map, we just kept thinking we were about to reach the top so we kept going as fast as we could as if we were on the home stretch.
We had to stop a few times to catch our breath and pray. Feeling the racing heart & burning lungs and legs felt so darn amazing. I’m so thankful for the health and strength to do this with my boy.
I kept thinking about the last time I climbed mountains with my boy. 4 years ago the 5 of us to a trip to the NC mountains as a celebration and much needed family time after B graduated from the MBA program! I had been diagnosed and was undergoing treatment for the lymes, mono, and my herniated disc and was just at the beginning of my healing. I had a small suitcase full of herbals medicine lotions and supplements and was confident I was on the right track. But the change of elevation and workout of the mountains had a terrible effect on me. My face and left side wouldn’t stop jerking and twitching. That side felt so weak and I kept tripping and felt so much nausea. I ended up so sick I couldn’t eat anything and had to limit my activities. It was so discouraging but yet I still remember being grateful at the time, believing that we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with my sickness and the hard season of B working full time and getting his Masters!
I’m.just.so.grateful. The Lord healed me. 4 years later I see He has used all things for good!!! I still remind myself daily what a gift it is to be able to do *anything*! Every.thing is a gift. The physical healing I had was powerful and amazing. But what He did mentally and spiritually was even better. The spiritual lessons take too long to explain — and the mental ones are even harder to communicate. I don’t think anybody really understood how hard I was battling depression and battling mentally because I didn’t even understand. I just felt so numb. But I’m out of the darkness!!!! And I’m so thankful.
One small mental battle that’s not that deep is this: Anytime I start to beat myself up about my weight, or how big my thighs have gotten, or how flabby my arms are… I literally catch the thought and know to reject it and instead count my blessings! I’m so thankful to be strong and healthy. I’m continually working on doing small daily steps to take care of my muscles and body but on that climb with RR…. I didn’t think once about my looks. Who cares how my thighs looked climbing!? I just thanked God for my body and how good He has been every step of my life. My body is a gift from God and if anybody including me has a problem with how it was made — they will have to talk to the Artist. He created it, not me. It’s just a shell. A shell I’m so thankful for!!!
This small mountain climb victory was so sweet. It was so much more than a hike. It was a redeeming moment I’ve prayed for. And after the trials of this year – it was that much sweeter.
Here’s RR about to climb over the peak. Arms up he’s saying yes yes yes Mommy we are here! Come and see!
We did it!
This all reminds me of one of my fave modern Christian songs.
On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there
When I’m standing on the mountain aft, didn’t get there on my own
When I’m walking through the valley end, no I am not alone!
You’re God of the hills and valleys!
Hills and Valleys!
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone!
As if that sweet success and afternoon wasn’t enough, The Lord wanted to go above and beyond. What a sunset He gave us while we enjoyed dessert at Chisos Basin Lodge!!!