My husband and I took a much-needed overnight trip to Village Creek State Park Friday night. Since he moved in with me and my son, we haven’t been on a camping trip just the two of us. It made me remember how romantic camping as a couple can be – lounging in a hammock, laughing by the campfire, snuggling in an oversize sleeping bag, stargazing! Being the eternal pessimist that I am, it also made me think about how much I am going to miss him on my AT thru-hike. I wish he could come with me. He is the reason I love camping and hiking. I wish I could share the entire adventure with him but someone has to work and fund said adventure. Someone has to be a responsible parent while our son is in high school. I can’t take the chance of something changing in the next four years if I waited for him to graduate and go to college. I will have the time, money, and good health to do it soon. I don’t know how long that will last. It sounds extremely selfish, and it is. I’m not doing this for anyone but myself and it’s a choice I’m making. I don’t have to go. That being said, it is also a choice that they are making. They don’t have to let me go. I honestly don’t know how I will ever repay them for that.
Village Creek SP is just north of Beaumont, Texas in Lumberton. It is in the same Big Thicket area I went for my first solo overnight trip but it’s the state park instead of the national preserve. Subtract the summer heat, swarming mosquitoes and 22 ticks and it is exponentially more comfortable. We were both pleasantly surprised. We selected a nice little walk-in site and went to search for firewood since we didn’t see any on our drive in. The park HQ was out so they directed us to a house down the road from the front gates but nobody was home. We petted their fantastically country dog, all straggly and sweet, before giving up when nobody showed. After a little driving we found a good deal at a grocery store. You would think it would be easy to find firewood in a place called Lumberton.
We made two trips from the car (how un-AT of me!) to get our packs and the firewood, and then decided to hike before we settled in. Everything is green and brown and it all looks mostly the same until you get to a slough or a sandy creek beach. It was an easy hike and only a few miles, although there are 8 miles total to choose from. It was lovely and the weather was perfect. The only wildlife, not counting the raccoon at night that thought he was sneakier than he was, were ants. I was fascinated with leafcutter ants on Nat Geo as a kid and thought I would only be able to see them in the jungles of foreign lands. I was absolutely thrilled to find out later in life that I could stroll past them on several Texas trails. They were a welcomed treat to break up the monotony of tree after tree after tree.
The short hike gave us more daylight camp time which almost never happens. Super relaxing! I am, however, ready for a longer trip. After several short car camping stays due to time constraints, I am definitely jonesing for a backpacking trip but it’ll have to wait until after I leave my job at the end of the month.