Hiking with my long-suffering husband for our Anniversary

What else would I want to do on our 29th wedding anniversary? Well I like climbing mountains , but my husband doesn’t fly so this was a good second choice . I really wanted to show him the place that I went a few weeks ago for my virtual race and also climb to the top of a peak that I missed before. The night before we left I suddenly had the unsettling realization that the course was not going to be marked like it had been during my race . We’d have to rely on the trail map and signs. Something (the Holy Spirit) told me to be prepared for the possibility of having to find our way. So I put extra water in the packs. And , yep, that’s exactly what happened.

The ranch is not a state park . It’s mainly used by mountain bikers and has many trails and few signs. We did okay for awhile because I recognized some of the trail, but we had to consult the map frequently. Then when we were at the furthest point from the parking lot, we noticed that the trail seemed familiar, as in , we had gone in a circle on top of a peak. The clouds were starting to burn off and it was getting hot! My husband was starting to wilt. I tried to remain upbeat but I knew we had a long hike ahead of us. We found the place where we could get off that loop to continue in our way . I didn’t tell him how far we still had to go because we were still planning to climb the other peak.

We finally came upon the trail to the much ballyhooed peak at Decision Point and that climb turned out to be an easier climb than expected, but no shade . Nice views really improved our collective mood. Unfortunately we had a long way to go . We descended the not-great dirt road trail which we decided to stay on  instead of taking the single track trails . We were making good times until I messed up badly ! We came to a junction and I looked at the map and saw that if we took the single track we would cut off some distance so we turned around and went back down the small hill we’d just climbed and started off down the trail, the wrong trail! We had actually passed the correct trail because there was no signage.

As we walked I was checking my Garmin watch Back to Start feature but the distance was not changing for some reason . Then I unhappily noticed the distance was getting longer and the arrow was now pointing backwards ! We kept marching silently , hot and tired, until finally I said , uh honey , I think we’re going the wrong way . We stopped and studied the map again, thankfully I had printed out a map of the race course along with the regular map, and he used his Iphone compass and between the two of us we finally figured out where we were, on the wrong side of a high fence heading away from our destination . I am happy to say that he didn’t get mad at me but both of us were getting bummed out .

Our water was hot in our packs and his feet were hurting . We backtracked to the Jeep road and stuck to it until we found the way . It was still quite a ways and not an easy path, lots of sand and spear grass. The trail seemed never-ending and he ran out of water. Finally , 9 miles and 4 hours later, we could see the parking lot and my husband started to feel dizzy and almost passed out, but I got him going again and slowly we made it. What a hike! Our anniversary hikes are always an adventure and usually end up being hot since it’s May in Texas , but this was a tough one . Mostly good and fun, but he says he has no desire to return there and I can’t blame him!

Thankfully we were not far from the town of Burnet where we had a room for the night. After grabbing some barbecue to go from the BarBQ Shaq, we got our room and cooled off . The next day we stopped in the town of Marbles Falls for lunch at Raes Grill. The food was very good! With the Coronavirus restrictions easing up, the town and restaurants were quite busy . With full tummies we headed back home, driving through the scenic areas northwest of Austin . The weekend was one to remember and we are thankful for the rain holding off and God helping us along despite our poor navigating.

Here are the photos.

This map does not show all the trails!

15 comments

  1. I guess great minds think alike. My husband had a great idea – to meet our daughter who lives about three and a half hours away at a national forest about halfway between us for a picnic and a hike. We searched on line and found a beautiful trail, “moderate,” and about 7 miles.
    When we got to the forest, we found ourselves in a “perfect storm,” a.k.a. “a tsunami of stupidity.” The park had no signs telling us the names of the winding roads we were on, the GPS was telling us we had reached our destination where clearly we hadn’t, and there was no cell service to call our daughter, who was wandering around looking for us. We lucked out – we were only an hour late getting started.
    My husband and I learned that at our age (70 and 67) “moderate” was a little much for us. We spent the day climbing over rocks and logs and hanging onto the dogs, and while it was fun, we agreed that we were VERY blessed not to have fallen and broken something out in the middle of the woods with no cell service!
    (Happy Anniversary, by the way. 🙂 )

    • Oh no! I’m glad you found the way. After awhile you start to feel a bit nervous. We knew the ranch wasn’t that big so we’d eventually find the way out , but it was Texas summer hot and without water that’s not good . There are also shooting targets all around the ranch because they also have a shooting range . We joked that if we were still there wandering after sunset they would send out a hunting crew and we’d be the prey . 🤣

  2. Oh wow, what a wonderful idea on how to spend your anniversary! And what a hike, seriously, I totes would have gotten lost and be one of those that had to get rescued, lol. Lunch seemed to be worth it though.

  3. Good thing you had maps and resources. Have you ever considered using maps that you can download to an easy to use app like Gaia GPS many races will give you GPX files which can be saved and used in a few easy steps. would save you from going back and forth like that. maybe next time! Happy Anniversary to the adventure couple!

  4. Congratulations!

    A friend and I got lost hiking on a brutally hot day once, so I feel your pain. We ended up meeting a park ranger after going out onto a road like the one you describe, and he let us climb into the back of his pickup truck. I was in such a state of despair, it felt like a gift from God when he materialized in the middle of nowhere.

  5. Once I started reading the first paragraph I had a feeling you might get lost…but glad you made it back! The unplanned and unexpected journeys are the best adventures. Happy anniversary!

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