Lake Texoma

Almost to Sooner country. Almost, but we kept our distance. Put a whole lake in between us. (See said lake below). We did primitive camping this time with our friend Sean out at Lake Texoma, including hiking out to our spot a few miles before poking through and finding a spot off the beaten path.

The grand Lake Texoma

The grand Lake Texoma: see that strip of land on the horizon… Sooner country.

For real primitive camping we passed up spots like right off the trail: no privacy whatsoever. I think this was around mile 3 inward.

doing manly camping-mapping things

doing manly camping-mapping things

A positive of camping is that everyone out on the trail is usually really nice and considerate. I say usually due to past experiences with hordes of Boy Scouts or some weird cult that stayed up all night chanting…

Thanks fellow camper for the pic!

Thanks fellow camper for the pic!

By the book tee-pee for our campfire. Thanks Eagle Scout Sean.

lord of the teepee fire

lord of the teepee fire

So it got cold later, and we were unprepared. I can remember almost the exact time the fire went out because an unforgiving chill came over me. It was a long night.

well needed fire

well needed fire

Cooking with new gear.

Pocket Rocket

Pocket Rocket

Tried and true gear.

Pocket Rocket

Pocket Rocket

Our spot. You had to scramble through some bramble but it was worth it.

our spot

our spot

Tucked away, hope we can find it again… We will also be more prepared for the weather next time. And for the hiking, none of us had the right shoes.

off the beaten path

off the beaten path

It was overall a good trip besides being unprepared for the cold night. Those hills coming back were once again a surprise but I will gladly hike out again. The Starbucks we got also made things better… But when does it not? We want to get better at backpacking out to primitive sites. Does anybody have recommendations for spots in Texas?

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Ray Roberts Lake

We the campers strike again. On a constant hunt to find the best camping sites for backpacking, car camping and group camping Jon and I tried out Ray Roberts Lake State Park outside Denton, TX. What a huge lake, and after a nice long hike along the shoreline and poking through some trails we think we found the ideal sites for the park for next time with friends. Sometimes it’s nice to do things, just the two of us, and what better to do than get away from it all and venture into ┬áthe outdoors. Here’s a peek at our weekend:

Ray Roberts Lake

my, what large teeth you have!

where you go, I will go

follow me

great success for a beautiful weather weekend

best part of camping: the fire. Why are there no pictures of our awesome campfire you ask, because my hands were full of campfire pizza:

Store-bought personal pizza crust + sauce + cheese + toppings all wrapped in foil and placed on the hot coals. Brilliant.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Warriors

Ok I’m back in the game, back to blogging. With the weekend quickly approaching I have to share this past weekend. Jon’s stepdad came through Dallas and camped out on Lake Grapevine, so Jon and I took full advantage to get one more weekend of camping in Texas in before the heat cooks us. Summer is here and how do you spend summer days better than on the lake!

On the first night there were fireworks, random but enjoyed nonetheless. Fireworks always make me feel all patriotic and proud to be an American.

I have not mastered the art of taking pictures of fireworks yet…

Quick biology fact o-the-day while I have your attention: the different colors in fireworks are due to the different elements used. To get different colors just pack in the powder in the order you want them to appear, relative to the fuse that is.

ooooooooooh
aaaaaaaaaah

Saturday boat ride… and living is easy

what summer is about

…and good company

Woodruff love

One of the calm moments when he was not covering us in love affection licks. Apparently he likes the salt. I had none left on my arm, hands, ankles and neck after the weekend. Best.Dog.Ever.

Hope you have a fun weekend! Wear sunscreen!

Inks Lake, Texas

To kick off Spring Break the way we like it, we went camping at Inks Lake. It’s a state park with normal car camping and cabins and all that but Jon reserved us a primitive camping spot. Meaning we had to hike out to our campsite with only what we could carry. So we loaded down our packs with sleeping bags, food, camp stove and pots and pans and food, camelbaks for hikes, and our tent and tarp. We park and reserve spot #5. It’s already raining but we get all our stuff and start the 1.5 mile hike to our spot. I may or may not have been a grumpy bear due to the chair sliding off my shoulder and killing my arm the whole way there… With one wrong turn (my fault) we make it to the primitive spots and take one look at spot #5 and turn it down, it was pitiful and should not be counted as a spot. Just a warning, if you’re going to Inks Lake to camp do NOT pick spot #5. We take #4 instead, it had lots of trees and easy access to the creek. Set up of the tent and tarp go smoothly for being in a rush and everything being completely soaked. The tarp is one of the best investments for camping. See all our room!

Tent and tarp and chairs. Whole lotta room!

Night #1: camp pizzas found here from Backpacker magazine. Jon was trial 1 and the bottom got burnt but mine was delicious.

camp pizza with bisquik crust... made our camp smell like pancakes

Day 2: after a night filled with sporadic rain showers and a lightning and thunder storm at like 6… we picked ourselves up for a hike around the park. It totaled to be around 4 or 5 miles, plus a hike to the car and back. Typical Texas views: rock, cactus and wildflowers.

the trails we hiked

the state flower, the bluebonnet and in my opinion the state plant, the cactus

these infested trees were Jon's amusement on the hike.

aliens? or bored hikers? who knows!

trekking a southern mile (or two or three or four)

view from the top

thanks for the space gravity

a top lake view

...and the reward I got from taking that picture. An ant bite from the ants from hell. GIANT. RED. BITING. ANTS.

Ants are some of the lowest creatures that inhabit this earth. First are cockroaches but that’s a whole different story. Don’t even get me started.

Texas, my Texas

our state plant. looks good doesn't it?

HEART CACTUS

After all the hiking and the working for our food (lots of energy spent) there was no better way to end the day than to climb up on a rock and watch the sunset set over the water and the Texas skyline. Once the stars came out, oh the stars, I swear I have yet to see a prettier sky. You can’t even see anything like that in Austin or College Station. But then the night came alive and we heard coyotes and we retreated back to our tent to cozy on up in our sleeping bags. The inventor of the mummy bag has my full respect.

the right way to end a night

All in all a successful trip. All the gear worked, including the water purifier (a leap of faith in itself) and the hike was well worth it. Thanks to Inks Lake for a great time!

Be Creative! B-E CREATIVE! Pt II

Do you know what enriches my life? The wonderful support I get from Jon, as seen in the title. Part II of Rachel and Jon’s End of Summer Fun consisted of going to the wonderful South Carolina, camping in North Carolina and visiting Grandfather Mountain which had a wildlife preserve and a mile high bridge! Let the adventures begin!

Our lovely campsite at Mama Gertie's

We had this really great campsite at Mama Gertie’s, it was surrounded on 3 sides for seclusion and no ugly views. Not too shabby.

Man vs Campfire

If you’ve ever had the privilege to go camping with Jon before, as I have, then I must say that he has made tremendous progress with campfires and had many triumphs on this trip.

Pocket Rocket and Camping Tools

Successful camping trip means cooking camp food. We got to test out the Pocket Rocket, and the pots and pans. They worked great and the camp food was actually good. One small mishap… a bee might have been drowned in Jon’s mac & cheese, by me… It came out of no where and liked mac & cheese, not my fault.

Magnetic Koozies from Half Moon Outfitters

Half Moon Outfitters in South Carolina has got to be one of my favorite stores now, it’s location is a little far for us in Texas but it’s still awesome. It’s like a small/local REI with tons of Patagonia and North Face and Marmot etc. Obviously having magnetic koozies puts them at the top of the list. We’ll be back for more.

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

One day in North Carolina, we went to take a tour of the Biltmore Estate. This was once a private residence. Still privately owned by the Vanderbilt family, but they decided to share with the rest of the world the beauty of their family home. I would love to give you a history lesson on the Biltmore, but Jon is much more qualified since this was his 3rd or 4th time there much to his delight. Ask him about it. It’s a massive estate that is way way WAY much more than this mansion. Second time visiting Asheville and I have seen the Biltmore now.

Biltmore Lion

No mansion complete without a lion or two.

Rescued Caterpillar

Saved from being singed by the burning side of the campfire, we had a visitor at our campsite, although not quite the desired company.

FIRE

So easy, a caveman could do it.

"Hike"

One of my favorite photographs from the trip… “Hike” = fight weeds that were taller than me a few hundred yards before giving up because that’s just not a hike, its North Carolina not the Amazon.

Flower

It It’s so green in North Carolina from all the rain (what’s rain? you ask, you must be from our Texas) that this just jumped out at you.

Mile High Bridge

Up on the top of Grandfather Mountain is the Mile High Bridge. And yes it swings. LETSDOIT.

Middle of the Bridge

Keep walking, it’s starting to swing and its scary.

On the Other Side

View of the Smoky Mountains

And the view is totally worth it.

Back Across

Quickly getting back across. No need to waste time suspended in the air.

Mildred the Bear's Habitat at Wildlife Preserve

Visiting one of Jon’s distant relatives

The Bear

This is the one that decided to get up from napping to say hello.

Otter at the Wildlife Preserve

Because what wildlife preserve/zoo would be complete without a friendly otter?

Woodruff!

The very best at welcoming you back, from anywhere, including your room.

That completes Part II of the summer fun.