The second morning of our maiden camping voyage got off to a bit of a slow start; we chalked it up to inadequate knowledge of all of the necessities for trailering. After another lazy breakfast of eggs, bacon, and leftover beans (yes. We are Texans. We eat beans at breakfast, especially when camping!) we needed to head to our local “chinamart” (I’m sure you know which store I’m referring to!) for a few extra toiletries and back to our house for some extra socks and underwear. Our second lesson from this trip was that camping has a tendency to cause clothes—especially underclothes—to become stinkier, faster. Camping also necessitates the use of the shower facilities more often, so a single tiny bottle of shampoo will simply not suffice for a family of four. This trip to civilization took up the better part of the morning, so we tried to make up for it with some quality outdoor time. We will know to pack double the socks and undies, AND full-sized shampoo and toiletries on our next trip!
One of the attractions of Goose Island State Park is the infamous “Big Tree,” which is a 1000-year-old Live Oak that is thought to be the largest of its kind in the nation. Although the actual “Big Tree” was fenced off to keep it protected, there were lots of other quite large and majestic trees to climb upon and run around. We spent about an hour meandering through the beautiful groves of “small big trees” before we ventured onto the 50 foot path that led to the “Big Tree” of Goose Island State Park. Antsy had a blast, and made a very keen observation that very large trees make very big (and fun!) sticks. Here is my "Antsy" climbing a tree in her tutu:
Me and Baby M:
Another feature of GISP was the plethora of endangered Whooping Cranes in the area. Although we weren’t fortunate enough to snap a photo of any of these beautiful creatures, we could hear them from our campsite and from almost every area of the park. Also among Antsy’s favorite creatures were Leaf-cutter ants. My own “Antsy” marveled at their ability to carry large portions of leaves all the way down a tree, along a path, and into their secret underground homes. We spent a good amount of time just watching, following, and searching-for these little buggers.
The final, and most important lesson we (especially mom and dad!) learned was that even in a small dwelling (in our case, a 28 foot camper), with limited TV and internet and less-than-pillowtop mattresses, a change in routine, and atypical meals, we CAN stand each other. We can make it without hours of sitcoms and cartoons. I can’t even describe the immense joy I felt watching my children play OUTSIDE. Yes, I take my kids to the park, to the beach, and to the library; but there is something so magical that happens when all that is available is a pile of dirt, some sticks and rocks, and a blooming imagination. Baby M couldn’t get enough dirt and leaves (we actually observed these delicacies in a few of her diapers) and Antsy’s beautiful imaginative three-year-old mind was capable of throwing together entire villages and even a “playground” together with a few well-placed logs and some piles of dirt.
I can’t WAIT till our next camping adventure!! I CAN’T WAIT!!