Friday, April 16, 2010

Meridian State Park 4/9/10 - 4/11/10

I camped at Meridian State Park this weekend. I left on Friday (4/9/10) for a 3 day (2 night) stay at the park. The park was a 2 hour drive from Georgetown, TX. I took I-35 to Waco then headed west from there on highway 6. I enjoyed the drive down 6, it was a non-hectic, scenic drive. No confusing signage or tricky road junctions. At this time of the year, and because of the good rains we have had the wildflowers were in bloom. I enjoyed seeing the different types along the road, but by far and away the bluebonnets were the most plentiful.

I arrived a little after two. The park office was well staffed and the two ladies working there were friendly and handled the people in line quickly. They only have three things for sell in the park office; ice ($2 a bag), firewood ($5 for a bundle) and walking sticks ($7-9) depending on what size you get. I picked site #10. The employee helping me told me that it was one of the more popular water/electric sites because it stood off by itself. I didn’t think of it like that, I just picked it because it was closer to the restrooms and showers. If I’d had know though I would have picked spot #14. It was really nicely laid out. If you go don’t take sites 11, 13 or 15, they are on a hill and rock covered. I didn’t see any good area to put a tent at these sites. Here’s a link to the map of the park:

This way you can see what and where I’m talking about.

I spent the first hour or so getting camp set up. It only took about 15 minutes to get the tarp laid out and the tent up. I’m getting better at it. Unpacked the sleeping pad (REI 3.5 self inflating) and got it laid out. Let me tell you, if you want a good pad for car camping, and don’t plan to hike long distances for camping, then this pad is great. I sleep very well on it, it’s comfy, I don’t feel the ground and it insulates you from the cold ground also. All in all a great product, a little too heavy if you’re doing a lot of hiking, but like I said earlier, a great addition to car camping gear.

After allowing the sleeping pad to fully inflate I unpacked, and laid out, my sleeping bag. It’s a 30 ° Coleman sleeping bag I got at WalMart because I wasn’t happy with the 15+ year old sleeping bags I took with me. They were too cold when you’re camping and it gets down to lower 30’s at night. The Coleman bag is nice, toasty (even hot sometimes), and does a good job. The only problem is that it is extremely bulky and heavy. I think as the temperatures warm up I’ll ditch the sleeping bag and go with a blanket or two (just in case it get cooler than expected).

I’m buying this for my next trip to Caprock Canyons State Park. I really like this concept and think being able to get the sleeping platform off the ground will be nice.

After unpacking and getting everything set up I drove around the park to get an idea of where trails were and where I might want to take some additional photos.

I did get a hike in on the Little Springs Nature Trail. It was a nice easy hike through mostly Cedar (Ashe Juniper). I could hear bird calls but never was able to catch sight of any birds. The park is a known habitat for the Golden Cheeked Warbler. I looked for one, I really wanted to get a photo, but had no luck. I need to research better for future parks so that I’ll know what wildlife is there and have a better idea of what is there to photograph.

I brought some of the small 4lb bags of charcoal. Just light the bag and it’s ready for grilling in minutes.  I also bought two of the bundles of firewood. I had a steak I wanted to grill and I knew it was going to get into the 40’s. I thought that the fire would make a nice way to fight off the chill. Had supper, the aforementioned steak, green beans and Lipton Green Tea. After that I cleaned dishes and got ready for bed. After the kids at the next site over quieted down I fell right asleep and didn’t wake up until the next morning.

That’s day 1. Day two (and 3) will follow in separate blogs.