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Trip Report Trip Report - Garner State Park, TX

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This is a long delayed trip report from a camping trip from Austin to Garner State Park, TX that my son and I took in early May, 2009.

I took the Friday off to get packed up and ready to go - I'm very glad I did so, as it took all morning to get ready. I finally picked up my son from daycare at around 2:30 or so and then headed onto the road.

We ended up getting to the State Park at around 6:30 or so with all the stops and then we had to wait in line around 20 minutes to register (yes it's crowded). There were still many campsites available, so I figured we go check them out and then come back and make our selection. The initial campsite they had given us had no shade whatsoever, so that wasn't going to do. I found a nice campsite with plenty of shade and within walking distance to the Rio Frio (Frio River), so we came back and made the selection.

After all was said and done, it was back to the campsite. I had hoped to get everything set up prior to it getting dark, but something wasn't looking just right with the tent and it took a while to get it sorted. Finally, it was around 9:00 or so when we had gotten everything set up and it was time for dinner.

No time for a fire that night, so I lit up the Coleman stove and sauteed some onions, ground beef, and chili seasoning to make some tacos. Made some beef soft tacos with cheese, lettuce, sour cream and salsa. We ate like kings thanks to my careful planning!

Next day I cooked up pancakes on the Coleman and then we walked down to the river to see what it looked like. Where we were, the river is a creek that is perfect for kids. It's crystal clear, very cold, and has little rapids that children were riding. This is really a great place for kids.

Then we drove around to get our bearings. Found out where to buy firewood and found out there's basically a whole grocery store in the park with eggs, meat, canned goods, smore supplies, the works. Someone commented that they didn't need to have gotten all the things they did if they would have known there was a full grocery store there.

I bought firewood and ice and refilled our ice chests. I also bought a little raft that my son could use on the Rio Frio. I checked out the main area of the park (this is where the dam on the Rio Frio is, we were staying further upriver where it's quiet).

There were paddlewheel and kayak rentals, plenty of picnic'ing areas, etc... I figured we'd come back a little later and do some kayaking. So, we went back to the tent and unloaded the supplies, ate lunch (sandwiches), and then came back to the main area and decided to do kayaking. I didn't let my son have a paddle, as I figured that would be counterproductive. We kayaked as far upriver as possible, until you couldn't go any further. We also kayaked around a little swampy area with large Cypress trees. I highly recommend the kayaks over the paddlewheels, it seems you can really explore a lot more with the kayaks.

That night, I lit a big ole fire and we grilled and then had smores for dessert. Mmmm good!

Then we went to see the dance that happens every Saturday night. It's mostly a country/western dance, and some people were really good. I tried to get my son to ask a cute little girl that was dancing next to him, but he was too shy :)

The next morning, we had pancakes again and then went to the river to try out the raft we had bought. My son really enjoyed going down the rapids. He thought he was in a class 5 rapid, although I doubt it was a class 1 rapid!

We had lunch (sandwiches again) and then drove home.

I highly recommend this State Park. This was one of the most pleasurable camping experiences I've ever had.

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