Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Camping Trip Recap and Park Review wasn't the worst camping trip. 

My husband and I have decided that we definitely need to go camping more than once a year.  We used to love to go camping and seem to keep putting it off.  Not only is it good for us but we believe it will create a lasting impression on our boys.  They will (hopefully) develop a love of nature and an understanding of why we should preserve God's wonderful creations.

So lets first go over our Camping Style:
We believe if you bring a TV, Satelite Dish or computer, you are NOT camping.  However, we are not so basic that we don't enjoy bathrooms within walking distance : ) We usually opt for walk-in tent sites, which are not on the road and do not have electricity.  We want great views and wildlife viewing opportunities.  Historical markers, buildings or museums are a huge plus.  We love to camping in the winter and fall because cold = no bugs or other campers : )

For this trip we decided on Davy Crockett National Forest.  We usually choose a state park but we wanted something different and neither of us had ever been through the Piney Woods of Texas. We also wanted a camp fire and National Forest's don't mind you collecting downed wood, the state parks?  It's usually a fine just to look at their sticks wrong.

So first, I'll give a review of the park:

1) The trees were nice
2) Not crowded
3) ummmmm......

1) Park service failed to mention that the concession stand was closed that rents the canoes etc

2) Out of envelopes to drop payment, also leaves you with no proof you payed

3) We saw more wildlife in the local gas station bathroom than in the actual park

4) BUSY highway within a stones throw, LOUD trucks going by all night long.....

5) the early 1900's saw mill ruins are surrounded with bathrooms, roads, a playground and a highway.  It kind of loses the feel that way. 

The cons were accompanied by our lack of practice in camping to make a worse experience.  We only brought one lantern. ONE.  What were we thinking?  And though you are allowed to gather firewood in the park its best to do that in daylight.  Its very difficult to find adequate firewood with a flashlight. (Mental Note: Arrive at park sooner.)
Also, tip for the park: Don't provide restrooms if you are not going to clean them.

We also had child training issues to work through which as most of you know, is exhausting. More on that later.

Overall, we were let down by the experience so much we opted to drive another hour farther east to take a look at the Angelina National Forest.  At the forest's center is the Sam Rayburn Reservoir, which is HUGE. They offer a variety of campsites from plush campsites with boat ramps to backwoods primitive (which is what we like).   The areas we were interested in were the Boykin Springs and the Bouton Lake camping areas.

WOW.  We decided we are going here next for sure. 

- Remote camp sites CHECK. 15 mile drive down a gravel road through wilderness.
- Restrooms close by CHECK.
- Wildlife CHECK
- Beautiful views CHECK.
- Historical sites. CHECK CHECK.  Early 1900's sawmill, mostly still intact (though its' covered in graffiti)

And its only 3 hours from our home.  A close by town, Lufkin even has a little zoo.

So now we're looking at going about every other month on a little weekend excursion.  Angelina is our first destination but then there are so many State Parks to branch out into, like Fort Boggy, a promising looking one.

So overall I give Davy Crockett National Forrest: * * two stars.  But we're optimistic. : )

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I admire people who go camping with little ones. I just don't want to do it. I want us to camp and such, but I don't want to do it with toddlers.

    It sounds like a great time! So glad you are choosing to 'brave it'. ;-)