Monday, October 20, 2008

Camping: Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Okay, so maybe we didn’t see lions, tigers or bears, but we did see plenty of animals.

Joining us on our inaugural trip was my sister in law Shelbi. We headed out to Kerrville-Schreiner Park with an ETA in Kerrville at about 8:00pm; we enjoyed the ride through the Hill Country. A couple of notable sightings on the trip: an owl flying in front of the car and perching on the power line and the beautifully lit and busy main street in downtown Fredericksburg, TX.

We arrived in Kerrville at about 8pm and noticed the sign that said the population was 20,000 plus. I was very surprised about the number and took a little heat for it. I thought we were going to a small remote town, but apparently in the last 15 years (or so, I have been to the park before) the population had exploded. I reassured Kari and Shelbi that we would be in the “sticks” away from the city (hopefully). We stocked up at the local HEB and went to check in. We found out that we were going to be away from the main highway, in what I like to call the sticks and far enough away from town to have a sense of comfort in the woods.

Already being dark, we pulled the car into the site and found a suitable location for our tent. We pulled the tent out of the box and went to work. At one point, Kari read the instructions, "prior to camping, set tent up to make sure all the piece are there*.” Well, of course we didn’t do this part, but we kept on working to get the tent up. While setting the tent up, Kari figured out that in the course of setting up and leaving the headlights on, we had run the battery dead. This fact slightly panicked and upset Kari and Shelbi. Shelbi exclaimed, “how are we going to get home?*” I calmed the girls down and told them we would take care of it in the morning and confirmed we would be making it home (planning to ask for a jump from a camping neighbor). We got a little fire going, but once everything was situated we fell asleep under a full moon.

Saturday we were rudely awakened by the sun. Normally, Saturday mornings are good for sleeping in and NCAA football, but not when you’re camping (unless you’re in one of those huge motor homes with 30 inch screen TV’s, how is that camping?). We got up ran a few necessity errands, learned that it was 49 degrees that night and went back to cook some breakfast. We ate and got to know one of our camping neighbors. He was a professional camper and from September to May travels around the United States camping and then returns to his home in Alaska. He was a very intriguing Christian man who shared some amazing life stories and encouraged us to live simply.

We got cleaned up and at lunch time we had chili dogs. WOW, those were some amazing hot dogs (maybe I was just really hungry). We enjoyed hanging out and worked with the fire. In the afternoon, Shelbi wanted to rent a paddle boat and go out on the Guadalupe River. Shelbi and I got in the front seat to power the “ship.” Shelbi didn’t last long, so Kari took over for her and we paddled the mighty Guadalupe. We spent about an hour on the river spotting wildlife such as: turtles, geese, dragonflies, and squirrels.

After our trip on the river we headed to Fredericksburg, TX for trade days. We weren’t sure of closing time, but headed over there anyway. We did arrive just near close, but Kari did find something to buy as well as ministry to someone. Sidenote: My wife has such a loving and genuine heart. I watched as she empathized, encouraged and prayed for a lady who had just learned that her brother had been dead two days and she couldn’t leave because she was working at the fair. It was a quick dash to Fredericksburg, but a divine appointment.

Saturday evening was spent preparing steaks. I seasoned and marinaded the steaks, threw them on the grill and Kari took over from there. We enjoyed great steak and mac and cheese. It was an amazing dinner. We gathered around the fire and made smores. Shelbi enjoyed catching her marshmallow on fire, but didn’t want to eat it burnt. We ate our desert and than sat around the fire enjoying the warmth and company. The fire really got going great about the time we were ready for bed, so I scattered the logs and we called it a night.

The sun was not an enemy on Sunday morning, we slept till nine. We started cleaning up the campsite and Kari prepared breakfast. We enjoyed a delightful meal and continued to prepare to leave. Tear down went very smooth and we headed out about noon. We waved goodbye to our temporary home, but not before taking pictures with a baby deer.

On our way home we picked up some jams and apple butter in Fredericksburg and found out peach season is May to August. We will be heading back to Fredericksburg in July (that is when the biggest peaches are grown), if not before. In Johnson City we took a safari tour. We got to see so many animals. My favorites were the zebras. Those animals are beautiful and just sweet looking! Kari and Shelbi fed and enjoyed the camels the most. Those guys eat a bunch and can drink up to 30 gallons of water. It was an awesome time for us all.

That’s about it. I didn’t mean to give play by play, but I thought it was worth sharing. Basically, we are already planning our next camping trip. It was a blast. Oh, and Kari is now officially a camper! God bless, and stay tuned, pictures to come.

*Items are paraphrased and not actually quotes.


jayiin mistaya said...

Sounds like an amazing trip; obviously, God was at work!

I'm glad it was so awesome - and I hope your next trip goes as well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the novel! Staci and I have been talking about going camping for years and just haven't done it. Now I've got a fever and the only thing that can cure it is camping.