Saturday: "Up & Over" and Ward Springs

Click on the small pictures to see larger ones.

chillin' on the trail   Mark checks out the pools     Saturday morning, Mark and I set out to hike the Window Trail and then the Oak Springs Trail, what my family calls "Up & Over". It's an easy hike and the views are terrific. We enjoyed the silence and watched for bears along the way. We were disappointed not to see any. There were some deep pools along the end of the Window Trail and we checked them out for creatures. We saw a neat worm, tadpoles, shrimp, and great water bugs in them. Some of the pools were nearly four feet deep! There was no water running through the Window itself, though, as I have seen in the past. We had lunch at Oak Springs and I turned over rocks in the creek for a while before we hiked up the gravel road to the parking area where everyone else was going to pick us up in the Suburban.

Profile of the Ward Spring hike
As we were searching for the trailhead to Apache Canyon, we kept driving past the trailhead for Ward Springs. After a quick discussion, we realized that in all the years we'd been coming to Big Bend, we had no memory of actually hiking that trail! A quick check of the trail book revealed that it was a moderately difficult 3.6-mile round trip. So we decided to do it. It was a lovely stroll across the desert back into a tangled thatch of trees and brush where we could hear, but not see, Ward Spring. The trail can be hard to find at places, but there are cairns here and there to help. We didn't think it deserved its "moderately difficult" rating, although the footing in places could be tricky. I particularly liked the access to the huge rock wall past the spring that ran across the edge of the valley. I explored up there quite a bit, enjoying the view and the sounds of my family's voices as they relaxed below.


looking down on the
spring from the wall

neat wall o' rock

Nathan's picture of the wall

cute little plant, but
what is it?

go thataway

tight hiking near
the spring

looking up at the
wall from the spring

dog-gone dandelions!

pretty yellow leaves

tight hiking near
dragon fly

looking up at the

Nathan is waiting for
us to come back
  Saturday night, we had more pie (!!) and all shared what we brought for Mom's Thanksgiving Memories box. Ronna and Mark brought the house down with their description of what it is like to be newlyweds living apart, but eventually we managed to dry our eyes and eat some more pie. We stayed up late that night, as we all seemed reluctant to let go of the trip and face the long journey home on Sunday. Ronna was fighting her flu and had a light fever, poor thing. I was starting to catch it, too.

trying to blossom   On Sunday morning, we packed up and started our journey back to Dallas. We stopped and met up with Tom's family for breakfast. Ronna, Nathan, Mark, and I had homemade burritos at "Johnny's" across from the Burger King. I highly recommend their food! Ronna was feeling a bit stronger, but still rested a bunch on the trip. We took turns driving to share the burden, but Nathan really got the worst of it as we approached Fort Worth from the west. The traffic was so heavy due to construction and general holiday traffic, that we used up all of our patience sitting on the highway. When we just couldn't take it any more, we made our own 'exit' to the service road and followed it as far as possible. Even with that trick, the going was very slow and we were hours late getting everyone home. Mom, Dad, and I unloaded the car and I collapsed into bed for 10 hours of much-needed sleep. I had a fever that night but felt much better Monday morning. Dad and I quickly put up the Christmas lights on the house before Mom took me to the airport. I was so sad to leave, sad to close the book on this tale. I love my family and am very grateful to all of them for taking such good care of each other. It was a very special holiday that I will always treasure. Thank you, everyone!!!
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