I am posting this for future reference and for anyone planning a camping trip in possibly very cold weather and especially if the people are novice campers.
1. I would like each person who attends to "bring a skill to teach" to the camp-out and I would like a commitment asap. I know this sounds demanding, but we are not just camping, we are having a fellowship and workshop. Your skill can be how to prepare a simple food item, or how to make a homemade tent peg - I don't really care. However, you have the option of providing the necessary items for all or posting a list of things we need to bring. Search the Internet or youtube.com for ideas.
2. My selected skill is going to be teaching everyone how to use a GPS device. Please bring one if you have one, or purchase one immediately. The Garmin eTrex H GPS is an excellent choice and is $86 shipped on Amazon.com. I plan to teach Geocaching also to everyone who is interested. The park has many caches alongside the trails and this is a lot of fun to boot. Make sure to bring your manuals if you bring a GPS unit and you are unfamiliar with its operation.
3. Next item is transportation. Who is riding with whom and when do you plan on arriving? Two vehicles only are allowed at the campsite with additional parking not too far away. You can drop your gear at the campsite - we won't know which one we get until we arrive.
4. Each person is responsible for whatever food and personal items you need. It's the best way and proven course of action. Do not get too elaborate or it may be come difficult - due to weather conditions.
5. Footwear: Boots and no ankle socks. Ankle socks may be cool in town, but they are flat cold when camping and your ankles will get scratched to high-heaven while geocaching. Cotton socks are cold, so buy hiking socks and if you can afford wool, then get about 3 pair. Bring extra socks anyway and a second pair of shoes for around the camp area, so you can dry your hiking boots if they get wet. There is a water crossing or two on the trails. A small towel in your kit will help if you have to wade barefoot then put your boots back on. It happens.
6. Hot showers and warm toilets: The park has first class showers and restrooms. Bring flip-flops or water shoes for the showers and all necessary toiletries in Baggies.
7. Fees for the park per person: $3 per day, per person 13 and older, staying overnight- unless you have a park pass, which I do. It's $60 per year and well worth it.
8. Fishing: Fishing is limited to a small area, but you do not have to have a license to fish in a Texas State Park. The park will even loan you a pole, etc.
9. Activities: All group activities are optional, but encouraged. I personally plan to hike the 4 mile trail and the 7.5 mile wolf Mountain trail on separate days. All are welcome to come along and the 4-mile trail is a casual walk, but the 7.5 mile trail is a no joke no fooling around hike.
10. Cameras, IPOD's, chargers and batteries: Bring plenty of everything, but my personal experience concerning IPOD's, et al, is they alienate a person from the group. I have 2 and I'm not bringing either one on the trail. I have a camp radio that has an IPOD connection, which is perfect for sitting around the campfire for all to enjoy. Austin radio, which is excellent will also be available. Electricity is available at the campsite, as is potable water.
11. Firewood: One of us has committed to bringing a lot of wood, but we need back-up in the event that they have to opt out at the last second. The more wood, the better.
12. Containers: Rubbermaid makes excellent locking containers. You can get one of these at Target for about $35 and it will keep the raccoons out of your stuff. Rubbermaid 1172 Action Packer Storage Box, 24-Gallon
13. Raccoons: Raccoons WILL get into your stuff if you do not secure it. Count on it.
14. Tents and sleeping bags. You must prepare for very cold weather. 20 degrees F. or possibly colder. Hopefully we will have moderate weather. Since we are sleeping in a State Park, we have the luxury of taking extra blankets, so bring some. Bring a pull over knit hat for your head while sleeping, or you will freeze to death regardless of how good your sleeping bag is. Trust me on this.
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