Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sprung Broke (past tense)

Spring Break is coming to an end.  We had originally planned for a different vacation setting, but decided on a week long family camping/canoeing trip.  We started out at Martin Dies Jr State Park where we paddled the sloughs of Steinhagen Lake and the Neches River.  We paddled 7 miles in 2 days, and hiked at least that many.  While there, we visited Angelina National Forrest and took what was advertised as a 2-2/3 mile hike. What they failed to mention is that was the one way distance, not round trip.
On Tuesday we headed down to Village Creek State Park where we enjoyed canoeing the Village Creek Paddling Trail, and the white sand 'beaches'.  We took a short ~2 mi paddling trip to the swimming beach the first day there, followed by an 8.5 mile out and back on Wednesday.  By Thursday, our arms were spent so we headed south to Crystal Beach on the gulf coast near Galveston.  What we didn't know is we could've hauled the camper down and parked RIGHT ON THE BEACH for a night or two of free beach camping.
On Friday we went on a 5-6 mile trip that was our most challenging.  We headed out with the current and wind at our back.  The return trip had us exhausted.  And!  It was the only time we came close to tipping the canoe, if it had not been that I sacrificed my life to potential alligators to save the boys from flipping over.  Fortunately, it is still a little cool for alligator attacks, and the water was only waist deep.
The parks we visited advertised canoeing parks with alligators.  We didn't see any alligators, but on the last day there we did see what perhaps could've been alligator tracks (right where I sacrificed my life).
The boys paddled every day on our trip (I missed out on the ocean paddling - intentionally - it was a little cool for me).  Once we returned last night, Cloudy asked me several times if we could go hiking and canoeing in the morning.  I think he enjoyed the trip.

Turtle tracks vs alligator tracks (photos courtesy of google)

creek at ANF 

"bridge" at ANF trail 

paddling trip around a slough at Martin Dies 

sand beach at Village Creek 

Great Blue Heron

Pete and Ben bravely battled the waves at the beach (and only tipped once) 

even Cloudy got in on the action (I stayed dry) 

hiking in the rain @ martin dies 

We paddled in this one day and watched a family of beavers or nutrias, not really sure which. 

Luke enjoyed our hiking trips, always an experience! 
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