This is the best time of year for camping. I think I took the bigs at least twice a year every year when they were younger – it’s cheap and forces them to just play and get dirty and explore and be kids. We took a break for a couple of years after Milo was born but now he’s old enough to enjoy the great outdoors as well. Last year we did camp in a small cabin up in the Ozarks but it was a cabin that had…amenities…so it wasn’t quite roughing it. I will say this, I learned several years ago that we are NOT tent campers. I mean I’ll do it if necessary, but I enjoy the screened shelters. You still get the same experience you just have a structure over your head. This helps because if you have ever been camping in a tent and it rains, it is MISERABLE. And it rains so often in the spring…
Gage has been in Kentucky for school so he wasn’t able to join us, but the rest of us packed up early on Friday afternoon last weekend and headed out.
After 10 minutes on the road…
We decided to camp at Bob Sandlin State Park this time. It’s a nice park that isn’t too crowded. There are several other parks in the area but this one is only about an hour and a half from our house. It’s East and I love the piney woods of East Texas (feels like home).
We chose a cabin (screened shelter) right on the lake. Such a great view! Since we arrived in the evening on Friday we mostly spend time setting up camp, building a fire, grilling burgers and having smores. I had brought dominos for us to play but Milo discovered them and they are now one of his favorite things to do.
Dominos in the dark.
The next morning we were up with the sun (thanks Milo).
I usually make a big breakfast one of the days we camp. The rest of the days we have pop-tarts or cereal. But the first day I knew we’d be doing lots of fishing and hiking so I made breakfast burritos. There is something so yummy about breakfast burritos when you are camping!? They taste extra good for some reason! Next up… fishing.
Matt did not grow up fishing… It’s just not something he enjoys. I, however, can remember fishing all the time as a kid. We fished in lakes, ponds, rivers, even the ocean a few times. We fished in bass boats, aluminum boats, from banks and from piers. I’m not an expert, but it is definitely an activity that I am familiar with. Matt was a champ though, and I think he may have even liked it a little. I’ve taken the older kids fishing a few times, but not that much. We have all the equipment but for some reason we just don’t go often. Well, Milo has been begging to go fishing lately. We frequent our local nature preserve and he always sees people fishing there, I think that’s where he got the idea. This particular state park that we camped at is not only on a lake, but also has several stocked ponds along trails. We were told that we had pretty much 100% chance of catching something but…we mostly just fed the fish all the worms off our hooks! ha!
After our first attempt at fishing, we decided to hike for a bit.
We can’t go too far with a 3 year old, but he’s good for a couple of miles. We stop for lots of snacks and to study every flower, rock and stick that seems interesting. 😉 We headed back to camp after our mini-hike for lunch. I am always hungry when I go camping? Maybe it’s all the fresh air… We made sandwiches and worked on a scavenger hunt.
These two decided to hang out in the hammock and Cady and I decided to embark on a longer more difficult hiking trail…
in our cute camp socks…
We hiked for several miles and saw some beautiful parts of the forest.
pic on left…there was a huge section of the trail that weaved thru all that beautiful foliage, Cady kept saying, “it’s like being in a fairy tale movie!”
Cady taking a few pics…
At the end of the hiking trail…
And a random pic of a dropped “goldfish” – not sure why we thought it was so funny – maybe we were delirious.
When Cady and I got back to camp, we found the boys were pretty bored and Matt admitted he was in need of some caffeine. hahahaha! We decided to take a drive and grab him a coke and get more bait while we were out. Bob Sandlin State Park is surrounded my some pretty country and several farms. We drove down a few dirt roads and even found some polite horses to chat with.
That evening we made frito pies and more smores. Cady and Matt lit everything they could find on fire because they are irresponsible and like to see things explode. (lol)
Next day we were up and ready and determined to catch a fish… well, some of us were up…
“Some people” slept in a bit while Milo and I ate cereal and enjoyed the early morning. Eventually, we all made it back to the pond though.
See that little bag that Milo is carrying? It’s full of his matchbox cars. I think he may have been over the whole “I love fishing thing”, so he brought alternate forms of entertainment.
We gave it a good try though and caught ZERO fish. Again, we got tons of bites, but I think those fish must have been super smart. They knew how to eat the bait right off our lines. humph.
Once we decided we weren’t going to catch any fish this trip, we headed back to camp to pack up. We stopped off one more time for a family hike…
And then headed back to the city. And yes, we totally stopped at the nearest Sonic for fries and shakes! I love getting away for quick weekends in the woods. I also love coming home.
I just booked our next camping trip for the end of June. We are actually road-tripping to Illinois to camp in the Shawnee National Forest. We’ll have Matt’s mom with us so I chose a cottage type place that has access to a lodge for meals, etc. The hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding is supposed to be crazy good though! Can’t wait!
Thanks for reading,