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Entries about camping

TX Camping Day 3: Chillin' on the Frio

We had talked about going into Garner State Park on Sunday and possibly doing some hiking or tubing down the river. But then we decided what the hell for? We have our own little piece of the river right behind the campsite. No need to get in the car and drive into Garner to deal with other people. Plus, the river over on that side looked pretty shallow and dried up. So after more yummy breakfast tacos, we hauled all of our fishing and lazing around gear down to a little patch that was uninhabited.

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We spent the day there until it was time to pack up to cook dinner. For our last night, we decided to have a nice dinner of ribeyes, corn, and potatoes.

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Mike was chef tonight and dinner was perfect. He and Vi played washers for a bit while I took some pictures of the campgrounds.

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After dinner, Mary Kay had to head home so we helped her pack everything up and get on the road. Vi was really tired so she went to bed early. Mike wanted to get a little more fishing in before dark so he and I went down to the river. Again, no luck catching anything but a poor turtle. I'm convinced it's because the water is too clear. The fish can see you coming!

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Mike and I stayed up for a while enjoying our last campfire.

The next morning we packed everything up and drove into Bandera. We met my mother for lunch at the OST. I wanted Vi to see the town where I grew up. The OST's chicken fried steaks and enchiladas were good and greasy as usual!

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After lunch, we drove back to Dallas. It had been a great camping trip with good friends. Mike and I remembered how much we enjoyed camping and committed to not waiting five or six years before the next camping trip.

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Posted by zihuatcat 15:49 Archived in USA Tagged camping texas Comments (0)

TX Camping Day 2: To the Bat Cave!

The next morning, Mike woke up early to go fishing in the river. He didn't catch anything so he was back before breakfast. Vi went up to the bath house for a quick shower then got started on some breakfast tacos. We are lucky....when she travels with us, she always volunteers to be the chef.

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We were expecting Mike's college friend, Mary Kay, to arrive some time today. We were pretty worried about whether she would make it or not. We had planned to call her with directions after we arrived but didn't realize we wouldn't have cell phone coverage. So the day before we had called her from the owner's cell phone and given her his phone number in case she got lost. Based on our conversation with him yesterday, who the hell knows what he'd say to her.

After breakfast, we headed down to the river to hang out in the water and wait for Mary Kay. We didn't want to stray too far from the campsite.

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Sure enough, Mary Kay came walking up about mid-afternoon. Somehow she had found the way. She had been trying to call us but did get our message to call the owner, which she did. When he found out she was lost, he asked her if she was blonde. Typical! But he kindly gave her directions. Mike was very excited to see her as it had been almost 15 years since he'd seen her previously and I was excited to meet her.

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We cooked and ate an early fajita dinner because we were going to see the bats before sundown at the Frio Cave near Concan. Every year, between March and September, about 10 to 12 million Mexican free-tailed bats migrate to the Frio Cave from Brazil. Most of the bats are female and migrate to the cave in order to give birth and raise their babies. Every night at sunset, the bats leave the cave to feed on insects. It's an unbelievably beautiful event. They return to the cave before sunrise the next morning.

The cave is located on a private ranch. There is a paved walkway up a hill to the cave and viewing area.

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The view from the top over the hills is beautiful.

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Right on time, the bats began flying out of the cave. They came in droves.

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During the flight, you could feel wet drops falling on you. Apparently this is bat pee, not a pleasant thought.

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Periodically, various predators such as hawks would circle through the bats although we didn't see any actual take downs.

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We stayed at the cave for about an hour and a half and the bats were still coming out. It was starting to get pretty dark, however, and they were no longer easy to see. We headed back to the campsite and hung out around the fire the rest of the evening, mosquito free thanks to the bats.

Posted by zihuatcat 15:49 Archived in USA Tagged camping texas Comments (2)

TX Camping Day 1: Finding the Frio

When Mike and I first got together, we went camping once or twice a year. We stocked up on all the equipment and had developed a great system. But then we bought the sailboat and our camping trips were replaced with trips to the lake. So we decided we were long overdue for a camping trip and planned one for May with our good friend, Vi. Mike suggested we return to Park Chalk in Uvalde, the site of our very first camping trip in 2003. But I'm one of those people who always wants to try new places so I started checking out Garner State Park. I did some research and decided that we probably wouldn't be happy staying within the park; it just seemed too crowded for our liking. Instead, I found a private camping ground just down the road called Magers River Camp.

Magers River Camp is located right on the Frio River. There are tent sites on one side of the road and RV sites in another location. All of the tent sites have electricity and water and there is a bath house with flush toilets and showers. We made a reservation for three nights and set off on a Friday morning for the long drive.

On the way down, we stopped in Austin at one of our favorite places, the Texas Chili Parlor. We had lunch and got some chili to go for chili dogs later that night.

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About three hours later, we were getting close to the campground. Unfortunately, as soon as we drove through Leakey, all of our cell phones lost signal. We had no coverage whatsoever so no GPS. The map from the website was less than helpful. We found the right road but couldn't find the turn off to the campground. We also found some wild turkeys along the way.

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We stopped at a house along the road to ask directions. It turned out to be the owner of Magers campground. He told us to follow him so he showed us the way. Once we arrived, he got out and talked to us awhile. Mike had some fishing questions for him so he started telling us all about noodling for catfish. That wasn't exactly what Mike had in mind. This guy was a character. He whips out some pictures of the catfish he's caught noodling and tells us a story of a huge one he caught in the river in downtown Bandera. The fish he caught there had another huge fish in its belly. After he caught it, it was laying in the back of his truck and a woman who works at the Mini Mart in Bandera asked him what was in the fish's stomach. He told her it was the little black boy he'd been using for bait. He thought this story was quite hilarious. We, on the other hand, were quite speechless. He showed us some more pics and let me use his cell phone (which strangely had a signal) and then went on his way.

We were assigned to campground #1.

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Once we arrived, we got our tents set up and a fire built.

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It got dark soon after. We cooked our chili dogs and hung out by the fire, relaxing and enjoying the quiet.

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Posted by zihuatcat 15:48 Archived in USA Tagged camping texas Comments (0)

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