Valentine's Weekend in the Woods

Nothing could suit my hippy soul better than a Valentine’s weekend of camping under the stars.

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Lost Maples State Natural Area is located just north of Vanderpool on the Sabinal River. The park itself houses a collection of limestone canyons weathered by spring water, plateau grasslands, tree-lined slopes, and clear streams. It gained its name due to the collection of Uvalde Big Toothed Maple trees within the park boundaries. Despite our visit being in February, the scenery was still absolutely delightful!

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Friday night, we arrived to the park just before sundown. We quickly set up camp, got a bit of a fire going and pulled out the guitars and wine.

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It was a perfect night of philosophizing and star gazing. Nothing makes you feel smaller, yet more connected to everything  than silently watching the night sky.

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The only downside to tent camping is that occasionally (try 20-30 times) you’ll wake up during the night wondering if  the sound you just heard was a squirrel, or Sasquatch, or a murderer. And there’s always the waking up shivering and wondering if your toes have turned black and fallen off yet….we resolutely declare, “I HATE CAMPING!” while we plan another trip.

The next morning, after brewing some wilderness coffee, we gathered our gear and hit the trail, having found the only “challenging” hike in the park.

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You have to understand…on the west coast we hike up mountains. So Texas hill country is gorgeous, but hiking? I guess we can count it. And this trail had about 1.5 miles of “steep and treacherous” terrain. I was certainly huffing and puffing after reaching the top.

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After avoiding this killer porcupine and catching drops of mountain water, we reached the top!

The view was beautiful.

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After the hike, we decided to check out Garner State Park. Along the way, we stopped at the Lost Maples Vineyard to pick up some more wine. (Dad would be so proud!) We had a bit of a wine tasting and then moved along.

Garner was completely full, but looked like a great time. I’m thinking about planning a trip back there this summer. The Frio River runs right through the middle, so the swimming, paddling, and floating opportunities got me all pumped up for barefoot season!

We stopped at a TINY town called Utopia for a quick dinner on our way home and it completely fed into my Texas fantasy. Everyone seemed to know each other, all of the men had stetsons on their heads and boots on their feet. And to top it off, an older couple was casually riding down the middle of the street on their horses. Yes, casual.

It really was a perfect weekend!

Xx,

Lauren

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