My Most Memorable Travel Experiences : Leakey-Texas
My friends and I have made it an annual tradition to go camping in a little town in Texas called Leakey. This trip is always funded by 2 of my greatest friends that live on the other side of Texas from the rest of us.
When I asked them why they insisted on funding this road trip, they told me that our friendship is an investment and they plan on cherishing it and keeping it alive for many years to come. This trip gives us all a reason to reflect on ourselves and each other and gives us all a much-needed break from our busy lives.
Some Information about Leakey-Texas
Population: 433 (2016)
At the beginning of the year, all my friends and I group up in a message board and make plans for our road trip. Immense organization goes on, including ways we could improve our adventure or recommendations on new things we can do. We also try to make sure we request our days off at work ahead of time. With 9 of us organizing and coordinating, anticipation grows to an incredibly-unbearable amount.
Once the day finally came to leave for our cabin in Leakey Texas, we all gathered at my friend Miguel’s house. We are all prepared and have 1 duffle bag and a backpack for our itinerary.
The energy is at an all-time high as we cram into vehicles and prepare for the 4.5 hour drive. All the while, we coordinate with our two friends leaving from Houston that plan on meeting us at the cabin. During the drive, my friends and I like to discuss topics and talk about our dreams and aspirations.
It really makes the drive seem to go by a lot faster every year. When we hit the town right before Leakey, we go to our local grocery store and buy anything we may have forgotten. Once that is finished, we have 20 minutes until we reach our small cabin in the middle of nowhere.
This cabin is just outside the town Leakey, Texas. The town has a population less than 500 people but the characters there really have diversity that anyone can appreciate.
There are large hills surrounding the area and miles of flat grassland. The whole scenery is refreshing and a nice break from our urban lives. The cabin that we rent has 2 stories and 3 bedrooms and a beautiful porch. 30 yards from the cabin is a crisp brook where we are able to catch small to medium-sized fish.
Making that final turn and driving down the scenic driveway before the cabin always brings a smile to all of us, as we prepare for the next 3 days of relaxation and reflection.
We all have our agreed respective areas to sleep. I can honestly sleep on anything that’s not on fire, so I typically sleep on the couch on the first floor.
Which is also good because it’s closer to the door and I’m an early riser that can easily slip out and do some morning fishing while everyone sleeps. The first day we’re there, we try to relax in the hot tub but try to be cautious because the first year we did that we had disturbed some insects and a giant centipede crawled onto my hand while a scorpion stung my buddy, Joe.
Branden and Riley (the 2 friends from Houston that fund the trip) always have a miraculous menu created for us. Sometimes it’s burgers, sometimes it’s foil packs (a new favorite of mine), but whatever it is, it always comes out to be a fun team effort.
The nights are usually very relaxed and full of laughter. Some of us will have a drink or 2 and we stay up appreciating each other’s company in the living room. It’s always a great first night before a very fun and relaxing day on the river.
About half an hour out from the cabin (in Texas, we measure distance by amount of hours in case you haven’t noticed), lays the Frio River. Along the river are small shops where you can rent tubes to float down with.
These small shops also have snacks and other creative gear for tubing including these specialized tubes that have a square base for you to hold a small ice chest in! When we pack for the river adventure, I always make sure to bring my small backpack that I can hold a bottle of water, a small first aid kit, and a small bottle of sunblock for reapplications.
Branden always brings the ice chest and we pack a few beers, waters, and sandwich supplies. Once we find the perfect route for us to tube down, we get our tubes and equipment ready and let the river’s current take us on a ride for the next 3 hours.
The Frio River lives up to its name and it takes a while to get used to its chilling water, but once we get a feel for it, we find ourselves loving the chill it brings.
The sides of the river have incredibly tall trees with branches that outstretch and overhang to the other side of the river. Every couple of miles, you’ll also see a rope swing that we like to take breaks and swing off of; keeps us feeling young.
Sometimes it’s a little difficult to stay as a group or the occasional rapids will make the ice chest a worry. The last thing we want is our beers and waters to escape and float down the river past us. We actually have this specific rock structure that makes for a perfect halfway point to have lunch.
At this rock structure we bust out our sandwich supplies to relax and take pictures. The past couple years, I’ve taken a small fishing pole and I like to teach my friends how to cast and hopefully reel in small sunfish or bass. I’ve grown up fishing so whenever they show an interest in it, I like to share my knowledge.
Once we finish the tubing experience we like to come back and shower then have a relatively-easy dinner since we are usually a little bit worn out.
That night we’ll usually play a board game or even turn in a little early. Some of us like to go out at night and see if we can find any scorpions or any other kind of creepy crawlers. Our next day would be an extremely taxing adventure at Garner State Park.
The morning we leave for Garner, we’ll make sure we have a heavy caloric breakfast of sausage, eggs, bacon, and toast. We all make sure we bring a backpack with everything we may need. This includes water bottles, sunblock, shades, bug spray, a first aid kit, binoculars, and a hat.
Garner State Park is an amazing place that the Frio River runs through. They also have amazing hiking sumits, and that’s what all of us look forward to. The trek up is a little scary, but along the way there are these beautiful small caves that are a full 20 degrees cooler inside.
Once we reach the top, we get great phone signal and we like to call our loved ones and talk for a bit. We’ll also send them pictures of us on the river. After our tiring hike down the summits, we’ll go swimming in the river and cool off for about 30 minutes before heading back to the cabin. Once there, we’d have one final night of fun in the cabin we’ve grown to love, and accept that we’ll have to say goodbye the next day.
The last day is always the most difficult. We clean up any mess we make and be sure to take everything we came with and leave no trace. The owners of the cabin own a small log book next to the entrance and we each write a small heart-felt message.
After we take a beautiful group picture in front of the cabin, we’ll say a heartbreaking goodbye and go to a local diner for a hearty homestyle breakfast before departing. We usually leave on a sunday and we’ll catch the Church crowd wherever we go, which is actually a little entertaining.
You see, when we go somewhere and there are 40 residents, we do the math and realize that almost 10% of the population is in that small diner. After this fun breakfast, we’ll stand outside and stall before hugging Branden and Riley before they depart home to Houston.
This adventure brings love to all of us. It shows us that we all need to return to nature to discover ourselves and remember what it means to love and appreciate the friends in our lives. Even typing this brings a tear to my eye and I can’t imagine not having this trip. We already have our dates planned in mid May of 2018 for our roadtrip.
Story From :
Brownsville, TX 78521