Outdoors,  Thoughts

Fall Camping | The Unseen Scenes

The last camping trip we went on was back in the spring at Brazos Bend State Park. Summer came and we were thoroughly busy but it was also too hot for enjoying the outdoors much. About a month ago Chris and I sat down and made a bunch of camping reservations for the fall and winter, even a few in the spring. If you don’t reserve early many campgrounds get booked quickly, especially the more popular ones. We made a three day weekend out of this camping trip.

This weekend was one of the more popular weekends apparently, because our searches for our general area and over to the Hill Country turned up nothing. Instead we had to look eastward and found Martin Dies State Park on Lake Steinhagen, in Big Thicket country. It turned out to be a wonderful place to camp and I forsee us returning to the park in the future, especially when Forest is old enough to take along in a canoe or kayak. In addition to hiking trails there are also paddling trails on the lake. Several years ago I read Paddling the Wild Neches (this was my review post) and the author paddled through this lake on his way down the path of the river. Out in the middle of the lake are beautiful stands of cypress trees that are now glowing in fall glory.

It was a spectacular weekend to be outside. A little bit chilly in the night and early mornings, but warming up (maybe a bit too much today!) during the day.

I recently came across a blog post that talked about nowstalgia, basically finding yourself in a moment that you know you are going to be want to be reliving and remembering in the future. One of those days you’ll yearn for at some later date. This weekend was definitely up there as one of those nowstalgic moments to savor. I intermingled some nowstalgia with good old fashioned nostalgia a few times as I was thrown back into some hiking and outdoor memories in Florida. Cypress trees do that to ya.

One particular moment, or hour and a half, happened yesterday afternoon. Chris had gone to lay down right after lunch and I finished up my lunch while trying to get Forest to eat his. We wrapped that up and headed over to the restrooms and to survey the deserted campground as everyone had booked it out of there right before or at lunch. When Forest and I returned to camp I knew it was time for a nap for Forest so we went over to the hammock Chris has set up instead of heading to the tent. It took just a bit for Forest to fall asleep but he eventually relaxed and dozed off. I dozed on and off, too, but mostly I just listened to the sounds of campers leaving, the birds chirping, the squirrels fighting, and the wind in the trees. The sky was brilliantly blue with the autumn sun lighting up the green of the forest canopy. It was just pleasant to be doing nothing and enjoying those brief moments of solitude but also cuddled up with the cutest little toddler ever!

It wasn’t just that moment but other moments we had while hiking. It felt like old times with me and Chris, hiking along in the woods. Of course this time we had a kid in tow. But it brought back many memories of recent times of tromping through the woods, just seeing what we could see.

Ok, I’ll leave you with one photo. I plan on getting to more photos soon, though I still have some from last weekend in Austin to share as well. Hey, looks like I’ll have enough to write about for the rest of October now!

Anyway, the photo is just a nerdy plant photo comparing three leaf morphologies. It was the first time, or maybe the first time I’d been looking and paying attention, to see southern sugar maple. The first tree I saw had me thinking it was a wacked up sweet gum but then Chris mentioned that it was a different kind of maple. Sure enough…southern sugar maple. Looks like it is only in two counties in Texas but it relatively common across the rest of the south.



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