On Sabbath morning while waiting for the ice to melt on the roads and the many accidents to clear, we focused on learning about the Sanctuary and how to make a model of it. Finally about 10:45 the Senior unit set out for Pedernales Falls State Park. The temperature was still hovering around 28 to 30 degrees with a misty rain, but the roads were OK. Instead of the original plan to backpack into the primitive area, however, we decided to utilize the base camp sites where we could have a fire—which seems such a luxury since there is no burn ban at this time! We had a boyscout troop for neighbors who had been there since Friday, also braving and reveling in the elements!
After setting up the tents we feasted on things like mashed potatoes and freeze-dried corn with homemade tofu jerky, chili dried mangoes, and Channa Masala (to name a few of the lunch items). Then, Rodger Baker, our Central Texas Area Coordinator, taught the Geology Honor as we sat in our raingear around a beautiful and wonderfully warming fire! Deciding it was time to get a little exercise, we hiked the trail down to Trammel’s Crossing and found examples of different types of rock, like conglomerate and limestone. We wondered at the strength of the mighty cypress trees whose roots spread so far and wide that they can withstand the tremendous floods that deposit debris about 30 feet up into their branches! We also found tracks of raccoon, deer and wild boar. There were about 4 deer feeding by the trail who watched us curiously but without too much fear as we tried to take their picture.
Back at the campsite it was time for another cheerful fire over which we warmed and cooked our supper. This time there was chili, a Katmandu curry, tortillas with a tempanada , dehydrated trail salad (rehydrated, of course!), more potatoes, mac n cheese, some hot drinks and so on.
There is something about being outdoors, especially when it is cold, that makes you want to hit the sack early—to snuggle into your warm bag, listen to the drops of rain on the tent and share stories and laughter with your tent mates before drifting off for a nice long night’s sleep.
Sunday morning we woke to warmth and sunshine! No, wait! That must have been a dream! It was still raining slightly and the temperature was hovering just above freezing. But no worries—we made our hot drinks and breakfast and then were off for another hike. This time we went to the falls, walked around to see the many geologic features there—the cliff showing lines of different rock strata, the flow of the river making sandbars and dropping a gradient of rocks, and ripples in the sand made by water flow. We observed crater-like holes and caves that were carved out by the water. It was all great fun, running around on the rocks and just being in that beautiful spot.
Back to the campsite we went to strike camp. Surprise! Emily’s dad and sister were waiting with flowers and a cake to celebrate her 16th birthday! Happy Birthday, Emily! So with that, we packed up the soggy tents, headed back to the church only to unpack the soggy tents and lay them out to dry. Then it was home to clean up, warm up, and file in our memories this memorable campout!