It seems I have given off my hiking and camping fever to the rest of the family. My mother in law has decided that it would be a splendid idea to take the whole family (minus the sister who lives out of state) to a weekend camping/hiking trip in Castroville Regional Park, located in Castroville, Tx.
Castroville Regional park is located on the southwest part of Castroville, consisting of about 126 acres full of hiking, swimming, RV-ing, around the Medina River. Castroville itself is located 20 miles just south west of Downtown San Antonio, the city on it’s own is like walking out towards a small town straight out of a picturesque storybook. It’s atmosphere was full of antiquities with small stores and family friendly faces all around.
But the thing that took the cake was Castroville Regional Park on it’s own. It’s free admission, but to reserve your spot for picnic tables or camping, you do have to pay a fee. The cost isn’t as high as other places, and thankfully it only required $5 to reserve our spot (per tent and per day, I believe). Although, the downside to that was that the spots were VERY limited. (3-4 slots, I believe).
So we headed out on July 2nd and the drive wasn’t long, and thankfully our plan wasn’t that complicated. Head out July 2nd, camp out that night and enjoy July 3rd before heading back home afterwards. Since it was basically spontaneous, we just packed up the necessities, much of which was basically a quick stop to Walmart to buy the tent, air mattresses, flashlight, and well… pretty much everything. (It was our first time camping ever, and much to my excitement, I did realize, I didn’t have anything before hand.)
Finally reaching our trip, we set up camp (and terribly might I add, as it was my first time ever trying the camping bit). After some trial and error, and one of the damn poles snapping and having to MacGyver the situation, we finally succeeded in our first ever camping obstacle: pitching the tent. And might I add, after that we realized that we needed a better tent.
And although camping was as glamorous as I had thought, I did forget one little problem when it came to being outdoors: BUGS. Mainly, roaches. Castroville Regional Park was full of roaches at night, and much to my complete and utter horror, they were the big ones, the ones that had not problem coming near you and climbing on you. (Mostly to my husbands utter terror, and my humor). So once night time hit, I did realize that Velcro doors on tents wasn’t my ideal type of “protection”. So this helped add more to the “we need a better tent” bit. (I have no shame.) Soon after night time hit, we also realized that the tent itself had very little, and I do mean little, air flow coming through, and after a long, hot sleepless night we finally crashed out.
The next morning was a little better, albeit forgetting breakfast, we had to hop on to the closest McDonalds in order to eat before starting the rest of the day. (its a work in progress, at least). Soon after eating breakfast and picking up our tents and shoving them to the back of the trunk, we were ready for some much needed hiking and swimming in the river.
The hike was amazing, and although we got lost more than once, we still managed to see some wonders and get some fresh air. The plus side, the boys seemed to have loved hiking… while my oldest was a bit more enthusiastic on trying to catch some fishes in the river. (he didn’t have any luck.) We hiked some trails, reached a good distance, then hiked back to our picnic table before going for a swim. And boy was that really needed. After hiking up some steep trails, keeping an eye on not one, but two little boys, and dealing with Texas’s heat… the water was just what we needed to cool down. And it was awesome. Although getting to the water is a bit of a steep trail itself (you could slip), the water was refreshing, with the boys loving the fact that they would look for shells and cool rocks in the shallow spot, while the adults simply floated around enjoying the water’s soothing natural music. I would strongly recommend taking swimming shoes or some sandals that don’t easily slip off though, and to keep on eye on some potential tree branches that could prove a bit hazardous when swimming or floating about.
The park was nice, the outside was kept clean and the park employees were friendly and left you alone… while the river was a bit of a different story. Though there was trash littering the side of the river every now and then, my concerns were the piles of tree branches littering the river that was nerve wrecking as one would float near it and potentially cause harm to someone if they weren’t careful.