Neil and I love camping. I grew up camping twice a year with my family and Neil joined in on the fun when we started dating. A few months ago, we decided to go camping one more time before Peter joins us. Apparently, camping is very popular in the great state of Texas, so spots fill up quickly. Plus, many of our local state parks are still damaged from Hurricane Harvey, making the availability more slim in our surrounding area. So we booked a spot at Lake Livingston an hour or so away.
We arrived late Friday evening and checked into the state park office where we were instructed to select our camp location. We chose the one closest to the bathroom since this pregnant lady doesn’t want to go on a hike in the middle of the night to use the loo.
Upon arrival at site E, we were met by perhaps the largest mosquito population I have ever seen. They were very keen on dive bombing us throughout the set-up process despite our bug spray – probably because I only packed all-natural, essential-oil-based spray. So I spent a lot of that evening in our tent hiding. We met our second challenge when a rowdy boy scout troupe decided to set up camp across from us – more on that later. Our third challenge involved the firewood we bought at the nearest gas station. It refused to light despite the very generous support of the campers next door. Finally, we decided to abandon the fire and call it a night.
The next morning was lovely. April in Texas is hit or miss, and it was thankfully a hit. After a breakfast of Neil-made pancakes, we spent the first part of the day exploring the park, enjoying the weather and avoiding the squadron of mosquitos that insisted upon attacking whenever you entered the tree line.
We also visited the park store, which provided us with much-needed fire starters, which helped us finally get one going around lunchtime. The camp store also provided a great example of capitalism at its worst by charging a whopping $8.99 for one bottle of DEET-filled bug spray, which we declined simply on principle.
After lunch, we decided to drive into town where we got a milkshake and slushy from the local Sonic (why rough it when you don’t have to?). Then we spent a lazy afternoon back at the campsite in our hammocks listening to the boy scouts transform into their own version of Lord of the Flies (or in our case, mosquitos). The older boys kept bossing the younger ones around and telling them to be more “enthusiastic.” Some boys were told their ability to throw a football was awful, while others were shamed into marching alone since they weren’t doing it properly. As the future mom of a boy, I found this disheartening and told Neil that either we need to properly vet the children in our son’s future troop or our child will never do Boy Scouts. The dads, either ingeniously or lazily, had chosen to camp next door and therefore as far from the boys as possible without being irresponsible.
Once dusk hit, the mosquitos swarmed as if we were the last humans on earth. And since I don’t want Zika and we were having trouble enjoying ourselves in between swatting and spraying with essential oils, we made a pivotal decision. Why suffer through five more hours of swatting bugs and sleeping on the floor when we could just enjoy the rest of our evening, pack up, and go home?
So we made dinner, took one last evening stroll around the park, ate some s’mores, packed up as quickly as possible while dodging vengeful mosquitos, and headed home.
Although the scouts and ‘squitos were annoying, we truly enjoyed being away from the bustle of everyday life and immersing ourselves in the great outdoors. Honestly, it was one of the most relaxing 36 hours I’ve had in a long time.