Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Brazos Bend State Park

We camped for 3 nights at Brazos Bend State Park. Jill was able to stay the first night but had head back home for work the next day. This park has tons of hiking trails including a trail that circles a swamp area with alligators. We saw 7 alligators overall and numerous other birds and ducks. Our campsite was 104 and we probably hike on only half of the trails. The weather started out rainy on the first day and each night it was down to 40 degrees but the last day and a half the temp moved up to 65 and 70 degrees.
This park is only 1 hr from our house and is located very close to the SW Houston suburb of Sugarland.






Thursday, August 8, 2013

Estes Park, Colorado to Wichita, Kansas

We chose to drive a different route home for a change of scenery and we headed east on I-70 to Kansas. We picked a campsite near Wichita, KS so we could visit with my high school friends Matt & Jen and their kids for the evening. Our campsite was located on Lake Afton, about 10 minutes away from their house.


We had a great time catching up with old friends that we hadn't seen in 10 years. Matt & Jen's kids, Brandon, Joey, & Kaitlyn had fun with Jake & Josh as they played basketball and watched movies in their basement. The next morning we were up early to jump on I-35 and head home. As we passed through Denton, TX we met up with Grandma & Grandpa Denton for lunch at the Fuzzy Taco and we showed the boys where we went to college at the University of North Texas. After lunch we were ready to complete the final leg of our trip back to Cypress. We made the uneventful drive home and parked our camper back at the storage site. Ironically a couple that parks their camper adjacent to ours was pulling in from their trip to Estes Park, CO as well. We chatted about our trips and how funny it was that we were camping within a few miles of each other. Being our first major trip with the camper we were thrilled to have completed it with no problems and we are ready to plan for our next trip. Not sure where we will go but we are ready for the adventure.

Ziplining & Whitewater Rafting

Thursday was the day we were all looking forward to ziplining & whitewater rafting. We drove to Idaho Springs, "Where the Gold Rush Began", for our adventures.



 
 
We ziplined on 6 lines down the mountain and then walked over to Clear Creek to raft down a class 2 creek with our guide. We didn't take any pictures of the rafting but we did use a GoPro waterproof camera to video record the rafting. Once we finished we ate dinner in Idaho Springs at Beaujo's, this pizza place was awesome and seems to be a very popular attraction in an otherwise quiet town. We drove back to Estes Park and were exhausted from the days events.


Old Fall River Road

On Wednesday, Jerry drove from Brighton to visit us at our campsite and we cooked hotdogs for lunch. Storms began to roll in right after lunch and we went to play candy bar bingo at the pavilion at Jellystone. I wasn't going to go play bingo but Jill convinced me to play and turns out I was the one who won 4 candy bars. Of coarse I shared my win with the family. Once the rain passed by we decided to drive up to Old Fall River Road, which is the old trail going through Rocky Mountain National Park. This is a one way gravel road with no guardrails through the mountains. We saw mule deer, moose, beavers, & coyote on our drive. This was our favorite scenic drive.





Wild Basin Trail

Our next day in Estes Park we decided to head to Wild Basin for some more hiking at the advice of my Uncle Jerry. This trail was along a river with multiple waterfalls so we were excited to see it and we liked the fact that you could tailor your hiking distance to any distance from .3mi up to 10mi.  On our way to Wild Basin we saw Lily Lake and decided to take a look.



 
The walk around Lily Lake was .9 miles and it was gorgeous. The boys fed the chipmunks and we stopped to take pictures probably 15 times.
Eventually we made it to Wild Basin for our hike to the waterfalls.


 

Amarillo to Estes Park

Day 2 we began by checking out Cadillac Ranch on our way out of town.

 
 
We spray painted our names on the cars and then headed on our way to Colorado. We arrived that evening and setup just in time before it was dark. Made a trip into Estes Park for some groceries and dinner (why we chose Mexican food in Colorado is beyond me, not that great) then we were ready for bed. Our first full day we decided to drive the Trail Ridge Road through the Rocky Mountain National Park. We had driven this road a few years ago but we were in a hurry last time since we were meeting family that day, so we decided this time we would stop often and hike if we decided we wanted to.



 
We stopped for  a snowball fight, although we did not see as much snow this year due to it being late summer. We also hiked 3 trails along our drive including Alpine trail and Medicine Bow. By the time we got back into camp we were wiped out so we started a fire and turned in for the night shortly thereafter.

Palo Duro Canyon

Our latest vacation was a camping trip to Estes Park, Colorado. I am going to break the trip into 3 parts since we camped at 3 different locations and I have many pictures from each leg of the trip. We began our trip on July 20th(6am) heading to Amarillo(which is approx. half way between Houston & Denver). The drive was very boring with very little to see for miles and miles and miles. As we arrived near Amarillo(and miles of nothing) we came up to Palo Duro Canyon seemingly out of nowhere. We setup our camp at the base of the canyon and decided to do a little hiking(with Molly). After hiking, it was time for dinner so we headed into town to the Big Texan restaurant. While it was very touristy with lots of photo ops, it had one of the best steaks we have ever tasted. We headed back to camp around 11pm and realized we must have missed something big in the canyon as there  were miles of cars coming out of the canyon at this time. We found out later that there was a musical put on by college students at the base of the canyon which depicted the settlers coming into Texas and their life in the area. We were told there were around 2600 in attendance, Jill was pretty bummed we missed it. By the time we arrived back at camp it was time for some sleep to get ready for another long day of travel to Colorado.



Monday, July 1, 2013

San Marcos River

This past week we camped in San Marcos, TX at the San Marcos River Retreat. This was our first chance to tow the camper in the the new truck. It was so much better than the mini-van. Our campsite was #14 on the river. We arrived on Tuesday around 1pm and setup camp quickly so we could make it to the Fish Hatchery for a 2pm tour. We were shocked at the detail that goes into "producing" millions of fish each year to stock lakes throughout the country. We met Rob, the fish hatchery manager from Parks & Wildlife, who was a friend of a friend and we would met up with him later in the trip. After the tour we headed to the city park where the river runs through and they have a few waterfalls. The boys enjoys swimming in the cool water and swinging on a rope to jump in the water. That evening we tubed about a mile from the bridge drop off to our campsite. The next day we met Rob to Kayak 7 miles down the river. Once again we were surprised, the amount of upper body workout to kayak the river was exhausting. We saw a good portion of the city traveling the river and it was peaceful. For the record, Jill & Jake flipped their kayak. Once back at camp, the boys wanted to head back to the city park and Mom took a nap. That evening we went out for our 14th Anniversary dinner at Garcia's Mexican restaurant then headed back for our final evening camping. The boys convinced Mom to tube 1 mile down the river but from my understanding she was more worried about snakes than enjoying the river. (I forgot to mention, 2 minutes after we arrived we walked over to the river and the first thing we saw was a snake directy where we would get in the river) Great times!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lake Somerville State Park

We spent 2 nights at Lake Somerville. Activities included fishing, hiking, volleyball and enjoying smores around the campfire. We stayed at the Birch creek unit lot 40. We saw a dozen deer(the boys chased one) and had raccoons visit us on the first night. Even though our trash was hanging, they were able to tear the bottom corner of the bag and create a huge mess. The weather was 65 degrees during the day and around 38 degrees at night. Josh and I slept in the tent while Jill & Jake were in the camper. The last night as we put a couple of logs on the fire, a scorpion came out from the center of the log. This is the same log Jill was sitting on for about 15 minutes prior to us putting in the fire. This park is a definitely one to revisit as the sites are exclusive and the lake is great.