Sunday, June 04, 2006

Caprock Canyon and Steel Buffalo

Dear Readers,

I recently returned from the official Father and Sons outing for our ward. Now in West Texas, there is not an abundance of pristine campsites, therefore, Caprock Canyon State Park became the designated area (about 1 ½ hours northeast of Lubbock).

I began by gathering the camping supplies: tent, sleeping bags, Coleman stove from the attic, and goodies galore from the supermarket. Rhonda had a rendezvous earlier in the afternoon, so we got a semi-late start...about 5:00pm.

I could sing praises to MapQuest, for she led our horse to the watering hole with only one momentary hitch...on my part, as I was trying to read road signs. This was the first time ever I had to rely on MapQuest for directions to a Father and Sons.

We pulled into the state park and paid our camping fee.... “Uh, we're with a larger party” I muttered. The kind lady behind the counter asked, “Part of the church group?” “Yes’m”. She then politely pulled out a map of the area and pointed me in the direction of our reserved campground. Really close to the entrance of the campground is a lake, and I thought to myself, good thing I brought my fishing if I can just wake the boys early enough to take em with me. (BTW, I had boys # 1 & 2 with me, the youngest stayed home with mom and the daughter.)

Just beyond the lake was the buffalo. Steel buffalo. 2-D, steel plate cutouts, all posing like the real thing. (We were told that a real herd lives somewhere in the park, but they remained elusive.) About 3 miles further up the road we found our campsite. Having been a scout and having been to lots of campsites, this site left a lot to be desired. It was hot, dusty, windy, lacking shade, cactusy, and very anty. Big ants, small ants and even a roadrunner for a mascot. We found a spot barely big enough for our tent and pitched it atop the fewest ants possible. We were told that as many as 28 people were planning on showing up. When we arrived, we brought the total to nine (only one other was an adult). We fixed a dinner of chili-cheese dogs, chips and ready made punch from the store. Dinner was good, when the wind wasn’t blowing the plates away. After dinner, three more people showed up and at twelve strong we stayed. It soon became dark and we busted out the making for some s’mores. S’mores galore, enough for 28 people being consumed by 12. By this time my boys were tired and we went to bed. Also about this time, the wind increased in force.... and a thunder storm was fast approaching.............

The wind howled and jostled the tent and the temperatures stayed hot. Sleep would not come for me. As the storm increased in its fury, to where we felt more like a rag doll in the teeth of a pit-bull, both kids woke up and explained that they were scared. I then proceeded to pack one kid on my back and the other in front of me as I carted them to the van. I turned on the dome lights, put in some kid music, told them I would take down our camp as quickly as possible and locked the door. In my own frenzied fury, I took down what the wind had not, of the tent, and threw it into the back of the van. I pulled out of the campsite 2:23 am. Driving home in the dark, on unfamiliar roads, roads that had been rained upon by this storm, can be a real treat. However, the trip home went without a hitch and we pulled into the garage a bit past 4:00. Come to find out the wife and daughter had also been up late, our daughter fearing for our safety because Lubbock found itself in the path of the thunderstorm. Tired and exhausted, we climbed into bed for a few hours of shut-eye. By 11:30am the entire house hold was down for the count as the sandman made a complimentary second round.

As a bonus, I have included a Loch Nessish monster picture of the elusive roadrunner from the campout.


Kate said...

I think it sounds like a mighty fine adventure.

And the memory of the s'mores cooked over the fire will last in your boys' memories for weeks to come.

I know just the image of those yummy, gooey treats will last in mine.

Lyle said...

Kate- Welcome to the blog. They were indeed some of the best s'mores i've had. Unlimited chocolate, unlimited marhmellows, total control over the roasing of the marshmellows = yummscriddlydumpshis

Julie said...

And that, my friend, is why I hate camping.

~j. said...

Your description of the campsite is how I imagine the entire state of Texas. Tee hee. I've been to Dallas, but that was just concrete. I'm going to El Paso this weekend, so I guess I'll see.

I don't think I could ever live in TX if for no other reason than that my oldest daughter is obsessed with weather and at any change in the sky she asks, "Will there be a tornado? A hurricane?" And she assures herself that hurricanes don't happen in Utah, and that tornadoes usually don't. We'd constantly be on tornado watch and NEVER get any sleep.

I'm so glad that you went to the activity to support it, but what your kids wanted was more important so you left.

Lyle said...

~j- El Paso? Boy, talk about desert. From what I've heard there isn't much to enjoy in El Paso. However, I have heard that the difference from one side of the river to the next (Texas Side vs Mexico side is a night and day difference)

Julie- Fortunately this experience was not the norm for camping.

KM said...

Hey Lyle... at least I'm not jealous: we couldn't find the real buffalo either!

Keep in touch. ;-)

Lyle said...

km- Now, how would that of looked, taking a buffalo back to England with you? ;-)

compulsive writer said...

Did you say MapQuest?

I'm amused at some of the similar threads within our two camping posts--and that we wrote them without having read one another's. I guess the blog universe is parallel too.

I discovered something I love even better than s'mores. Have you ever tried banana boats?