“The road goes on forever and the party never ends” certainly applies the Happy Campers, a group of baby boomers we hooked up with through our trawler friends.
With a core group of friends from elementary school in Baytown whose parents worked at the Exxon plant, Happy Campers has grown to 50 plus participants from age “not quite here yet” to “not going there”. The outdoor adventures appear to have started in the 70’s when most of the core group went to Austin (yes, there are some longhorns in the bunch). Sometime in the early 80’s, they became official Happy Campers with twice yearly get-togethers and along the way they started picking up strays and branding them Happy Campers even though the Baytown connection might be thin and pretty stretched. We got rustled and branded three years ago around the time we bought an 20-year old 8-foot pop-up trailer to see how we did in really small spaces (this could have been a really bad idea but worked out okay).
Flash forward and we are now in a 19-foot Rockwood Roo with more space but still camping twice a year with the Happy Campers.
Huntsville State Park is a favorite with at least the Gulf Coast based part of the group since it is only a hour or so from Houston. Also the early contingent (Wednesday arrivals) reserve all the screen shelters 1-13 that gives us both lake front frontage and a fairly contiguous area for all to spread out.
Let the camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, cooking/eating and story telling begin. We were part of the group that drove into Huntsville to see the Sam Houston museum. Houston is man and a leader who, like Lincoln, inspires me more with every passing year. We think our times are contentious but spend some time reading about Sam’s up and down personal and political struggles, defeats and triumphs and the sequester argument seems genteel by comparison. Among the things we learned: how the Alamo mission was originally to get arms and get out but the defenders decided to try to hold the mission. Sounds like the call for rescue to Sam Houston and the decision not to send reinforcements must have been gut-wrenching but ultimately necessary to maintain enough force strength to win at San Jacinto. I’ll have to read more about that.
As for the canoeing, had great weather all day Saturday even though it turns out Houston was flooding with storms dumping 6 inches of rain in 3 hours. Took advantage to learn some canoeing basics (very very basic stuff like how to get into a canoe, hold the paddle, etc) but the payoff was beautiful scenery, a gator-eye view of our camps and an actual gator sighting about 15 feet off our very flimsy, small, unstable bow . Do I sound a little bit nervous? Imagine how I’ll be if I run into a bear on our boundary waters trip in early fall. Good incentive to learn how to paddle well and fast!
Spent the rest of the afternoon in camp with a great view of the lake through tall pines dosing and reading “The Geography of Bliss” about what constitutes happiness in different cultures. Spoiler alert – a rum punch, a good book and a great campsite with the Happy Campers at HSP meets all my happiness criteria for the moment.