27 December 2009

Earth Girls Trip:Garner State Park ... known to some as"The Great Flood of 2009"

Another entry from the fall (October) that never was posted.

An Earth Girl is all about trying new things, enjoying the company of other Earth Girls and if not directly helping the earth, then at least enjoying it in an environmentally responsible manner.

Past Earth Girl Excursions have included:

1. Kayak Lessons

2. Volunteering to do maintanence work the Appalachian Trail for a week (I skipped out on that one - couldn't take a week off at that time... darn.)

3. Trip to Colorado for hiking and fly-fishing lessons (another trip I missed because I couldn't take a week off, although this one sounded much more enjoyable than the other one)

4. 30th Birthday Trip to Boston (more pedestrian commuters than in any other US city!). Included a fabulous culinary tour of the North End led by Jim Becker.

After much debate, we decided that for this year we would go camping at Garner State Park (had not been there in over 20 years). We each had a job assignment - Mom was in charge of reservations, Laura was in charge of activities and I was in charge of planning the menu. We would later realize that we forgot to put some one in charge of praying for good weather.

Menu had been planned in advance (with input from everyone) and included grilled salmon, chili and cornbread, foil dinners and lots of s'mores. Mom and Laura are die-hard Lodge Dutch Oven fans so that had to be factored in as well. Grocery shopping was done in Austin on our way out of town and took us over an hour. Not because we were unorganized, but because we were having so much fun!

Finally arrived to Garner State Park (GSP) mid-afternoon. Site 408!!!!

Unloading took a while - hey, we travel comfortably!

Got the both tents set up.
The idea to bring along a second tent was Mom's - turned out to be the best thing we packed!

We were able to get the fire roaring, the stove hooked up and dinner started before the sun set. Dinner was pan-grilled salmon with broccoli. Dessert: s'mores, of course.

Looked like things were going pretty well. We had heard that there might be rain that night, so we tied down the rain flaps, pretty sure we would easily weather any storm thrown at us. Ha! Woke up at some point during the night to the sound of raindrops... in our tent.

Mom was saying something about feeling a little damp and cold and asked Laura to turn on her head lamp to take a closer look. She was SOAKED. There was also almost an inch of standing water in the bottom of the tent - thank goodness we were on cots! We tried to tough it out, but ended up retreating to Mom's Odyssey to get a little sleep.

Next morning we requested a shelter (for one night) and ate a delicious, energizing breakfast of eggs, sausage and coffee (Via packets from Starbucks were a life-saver).

Spent the day recuperating, washing and drying Mom's sleeping bag and throwing away that leaky tent. By the way, that tent had been purchased on our last camping trip to GSP... that might explain why it was not so rain-proof.

Friday night's dinner - delicious Chili made by Laura with cornbread made in the Dutch Oven.

This is why we don't let Laura cook very often. Sometimes the food turns out beautifully and sometimes, well... let's just say she melted her own shoe, while wearing it!

Rest of the trip went much more smoothly (no more rain!) and we all had a great time. The monarch butterflies happened to be migrating through GSP that weekend. I have never experienced anything like it before. Hundreds, sometimes thousands would flutter through at a time. Absolutely magical.

Hiked Lost Maples and it was absolutely stunning. So proud of Mom, she was a real trooper and did the tough, steep hike with Laura and me.

She did, however, keep checking the map to be sure we were not leading her astray. Why she didnt' trust her daughter, the geography teacher, to accurately read the map is beyond me.

All in all it was a fantastic trip. Mom and Laura got to play with fire for hours on end, we were able to do some hiking in some of the most gorgeous parts of Texas, we ate some delicious food and just enjoyed spending time together. We came home dirty and exhausted, but none of us would have traded that trip for the world!

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