By Christopher Tupa // ArtOfCTupa

It was finally time.
After two years we were going camping again! It had been such a long wait and my hopes were high and great were the expectations...

We had a camping spot reserved at Goliad State Park in South Texas; which I barely reserved in time. Apparently the entire state of Texas goes camping or RVing on Memorial Day Weekend. When we checked in at the park we got some bad news; unfortunately, due to the amount of recent rains the park had received, the river bordering the park was flooded and they had closed all access to the river, all hiking trails, and most of the camp sites. Lucky for us our site was still open. But unlucky for us; since we had planned on hiking, fishing and playing in the river we now had nothing to do all weekend. Our great camping trip of 2016 wasn’t getting off to such a great start...

Since we had already made the drive, we decided to go ahead and spend the night anyway and see if we could find something to do the next day. One positive thing, since most of the park was closed there were hardly any other people there.

We got our tent set up (amidst swarms of Texas-sized mosquitoes) and I cooked us up a delicious meal of sausage and zucchini using my new Ozark Trail camp stove. I hadn’t used a camp stove in over 10 years and the last time was a disaster; the gas pressure was too low and it took forever to lite and get hot. But this stove worked great and I considered it our first real break of the trip. Things were looking up! 

Right up until a fierce lightning storm blew in thirty minutes later, knocked our tent over and forced us to hide out in our SUV. Not wanting to wilt in defeat we drove around a bit, and found a nice quiet bridge to park under and have a snack while we waited out the storm. My son asked me if we could camp out under the bridge. I almost agreed to, but then the rain and lightning moved on. We returned to camp and set our tent back up; much to my sons disappointment. 

The next morning I intended to cook bacon and eggs for breakfast but we had forgot to bring the eggs. So instead we had bacon and fried potatoes.

My wife had not been feeling well and at this point was running a fever with a sore throat. Day two was not looking so hot.
The Park Ranger told us about a lake fifteen miles down the road so we headed there for some swimming and fishing. While my wife went fishing,

I took the kids swimming. I have to admit that I really only like swimming in a pool; lakes and rivers are not my thing. Especially considering I had recently been watching a lot of TV shows where guys go fishing for huge scary fish in lakes and rivers. So I really didn’t want to go swimming in some murky lake. But my kids were super excited so I had to do the good Dad thing and get in the water with them. But it turned out to be fun and no alligator, snapping turtle or giant fish grabbed me. 

After two hours of swimming we went back to camp and ate sandwiches. I took my daughter to tour a local Spanish Mission called the Mission Espíritu Santo, the Fannin Battleground Memorial Monument and a Spanish fort named Presidio La Bahía, a historic site well known in Texas history. 

But once we got back to camp all the kids wanted to do was swim again so we took them back to the lake for more swimming.  y wife tried fishing for the second time, and again no luck. This time around I wasn’t so anxious about getting in the water.
On the way back to camp we stopped at a really neat playground we had spotted earlier. It was made of wood and resembled a large fort; with walkways, crawl spaces and lots of steps and things to climb on. 

Afterwards we ate dinner at camp, but by this time my wife was feeling much, much worse. We ate dinner and then decided to pack it up and head home. There was no point in staying if one of us felt as bad as my wife did. The great camping trip of 2016 was officially over. 

Even though our trip went nothing like we had planned or hoped, and we didn’t get to do exactly what we wanted, and my wife was sick; it still turned out to be a fun trip. By keeping an open mind and having a positive attitude we turned a disappointing trip into a fun one. The key was to keep laughing and smiling and my kids would pick up on that and still enjoy themselves and realize; like we did, that even when things don’t go the way you want you can still turn it around and have a good time. 

Besides, my kids will probably never forget the time they almost camped out under a bridge…

Some notes on the trip: