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Camping Story

My Most Memorable Camping Trip

The weather was chilly, but I came prepared with sweat pants and jackets. We expected the nights would get chilly and planned accordingly. We decided that we would go camping at Lake Greenbelt in Clarendon, Texas with friends. We had plans to fish and camp for two days and one night. Clarendon is about an hour away from our home in Amarillo and it was the first time that I had been camping with my husband.

My days and memories of Girl Scouts as a child kicked in a few days before we left for our little trip. I began by making a list. The list was about two pages long and encompassed everything we could possibly need. From a hammer to sugar for coffee, I had developed a plan. Then I realized that we didn’t have a tent! After searching for the best price and size to suit our needs, I forked out the money for a new tent. The tent was a mansion for the two of us. For some reason, we thought we needed three rooms in a tent. I checked my list a couple hundred times until I was certain that I thought of everything we could possibly need.

We met our friends the night before for a late night Wal-Mart trip. We had not been camping in some time, so we had several supplies to buy. In fact, we needed just about everything. We needed lawn chairs, a coffee pot and food amongst other necessities for a successful trip.

The next morning was finally time to go. We packed our new tent, our blow up mattress, sleeping bags, lawn chairs plus the boxes of supplies from my list. The Clarendon drive doesn’t offer much as far as sights go. You drive through Claude, Texas and from then on the drive gets pretty boring. There’s not a lot to see in West Texas other than cow pasture, brown grass and dirt. The morning was a little darker than we had hoped but it looked like the sun would eventually be coming out.

We arrived at the lake with no idea where to go. I had never been to this lake before and our friends had not been there in awhile either. We hit the marina and bought some minnows. The girl at the desk gave us directions to the most popular campsites. The sites were for the most part pretty nice. You could camp fairly close to the water, so you didn’t have far to go if you needed something to drink or eat while fishing. We picked out our site. The site sat above the lake a bit and allowed us to park the cars nearby. The campsite had primitive restroom facilities. They were basically permanent port-a-potties and we could have picked a site closer to one. The fact they were so far and there were no trees or bushes in West Texas made it necessary to have easy access to the cars. After the second trip to the restroom, we just left a roll of toilet paper in the car.

We set up our tents and pulled out the wood that we brought for our fire. Like I said, there’s not a lot of trees or bushes in West Texas so you have to bring your own firewood. There were some small sticks but not enough to build a full-size campfire. We also had to bring bricks so we could set our grill top over the fire for cooking. After we had everything set-up, we set up our chairs on the lakeside.

The fishing was pretty slow. Greenbelt only has bank fishing, so your chances of catching anything seem to be slim, unless you have a boat. My husband, of course, was the only one to catch anything. He is by no means a master angler, but perhaps lucky. It never fails, as much as we go fishing the fish only seem to find his hooks.

We soon decided the fishing wasn’t working out great, so we moved on to trying to get dinner going. I had a great idea to make baked potatoes in the fire, but they didn’t exactly cook. Instead the outside of them burnt and the inside was still raw. So we had potato chips and baked beans with our steaks and tossed the potatoes. The steaks, however, turned out great. The best steaks come off a wood fire. After our steaks we enjoyed the campfire classic of S’mores. S’mores may be better than campfire steaks. You just can’t beat the creamy marshmallows and delicious chocolate.

While dinner cooked, I got our sleeping bags setup. I had packed my ever so comfortable blow up mattress, which needed to be inflated. Then I attached our sleeping bags so we would have one giant sleeping bag. The night was getting pretty cool and we needed to share some body heat. I also brought along the ugliest comforter we had for extra warmth. We really roughed it on this trip!

The morning coffee would turn out to be as good as the baked potatoes. The weather was windy in the morning and the fire wouldn’t get hot enough to boil the water. The air was pretty cool in the morning as well, so we decided to pack up and hit the gas station on our way home for breakfast.

The trip may not sound like the most successful camping trip ever, but we hadn’t been camping in so long that we had great fun. We probably looked like a bunch of amateurs and dorks but we didn’t care. We were absolutely exhausted the next morning as our campsite was visited by a wild flock of turkeys in the wee hours of the morning. There wasn’t much fish either, but when you live in West Texas you don’t get your hopes up that high on the fishing. Mainly we just had fun hanging out with friends and taking in the outdoors.

Contributed By Valerie Mellema


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