Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Camping at Brazos Bend

I enjoyed camping when I was a kid, and didn't get to go often enough.  I can remember one overnighter with Camp Fire Girls where we held skills competitions.  I can light a fire and cook a pancake like nobody's business, y'all.  And I will never forget the weekend trips to Sulphur with my extended family. Sheltering from tornados in a car dealership basement with other campers - including a man who was wearing only a towel, and later watching my Nana try to burn her bra.  These are the memories of my childhood. 

Scary, isn't it?

When my son joined Cub Scouts in first grade, camping became a regular activity for our family. And, 10 years later, I still love it. 

Last weekend, we camped at Brazos Bend State Park with our Boy Scout Troop.  It was dark when we arrived, but the woods around us sparkled with thousands of fireflies and the moon lit the path to our campsite. 

Our campsite was deep in the woods, so it took a while to haul all of our gear in from the parking lot. Once we were settled, the other mom in our group suggested a quick shower to rinse off the sweat.  Have I mentioned the high humidity in this part of Texas?  The restrooms were about 1/4 mile from the parking area (great exercise opportunity) and, to our disappointment, were not equipped with showers.  It wasn't the first time I've had to settle for a sponge bath. 

It was still warm outside when we turned in for the night, but I was comfortable.  The "bath" had cooled me off and I left the rainfly off my tent to catch stray breezes.  The boys were excited, as they always are on the first night, and stayed up talking late into the night.  As their voices finally quieted, the chorus of snores began.  Sleep was a long time in coming.  One day I will learn to pitch my tent at the edge of the campsite, not in the middle.

On Saturday, the boys cooked, swung from vines, hiked, looked for alligators, learned about Texas snakes and did a simulated space mission.  It was a busy day.  After dinner, the boys put on a campfire program and performed a flag retirement ceremony.  Then we all went to the observatory to see the stars and planets through the big telescopes.  It was my first trip to the observatory and all I can say is... wow! 

The moon and the fireflies lit our way back to camp and we all went straight to bed.  If there was snoring, I fell asleep before it began.

Sunday morning in camp is bittersweet.  I find myself sad to be leaving such a beautiful place, but eager to get back home where I can enjoy a hot shower.

On Tuesday night, we'll be planning our next camping adventure. 

I can't wait!


Anonymous said...

Sulpher? As in Sulpher, Louisiana? I know some people living there, small world! Can anyone look at the observatory? I would love to do that.

Le'Ann Ruggles said...

Sulphur Plat National Park in Oklahoma... it isn't a park anymore, though. I think they gave the land to one of the local Indian tribes.
The observatory is open to the public on Saturdays. Of course you have to pay $5 to get into the park and another $5 for the observatory. But I think it's worth it! Check here for details: http://www.hmns.org/see_do/George_Observatory/Directions_Admissions.asp#Saturdays

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