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  • Writer's pictureJulie Barschow

Between Seasons - Garner State Park

Our garden is almost ready for Fall seeds and seedlings. In the meantime, we played hooky and escaped with good friends to Garner SP for the first half of the week. ⛺️

I cannot think of a better way to bid farewell to the Texas summer and welcome Autumn.

This was #2’s second time tent camping, as we have become spoiled Glampers since owning a travel trailer. Hubs and I do wish for our littles to know and enjoy Real Camping, so we’re grateful that our rescheduled trip ended up at a “no RVs allowed” site. TBCH, we had screened shelters, a ginormous tent, and plenty of air and foam to sleep on, so we weren’t exactly roughing it. 🙃

It was also the kids’ first rope swinging experience, and the first time Joe and I visited the park together (we had been before, separately). We missed the summer dances (the park started jukebox dances in 1941!), but I wouldn’t trade our Fall Equinox experience for anything.

Days 1 and 2 were scorching. The Río Frío felt DIVINE and very much needed so we didn’t all melt into piles of sweaty grumpiness. Thankfully, the final morning of summer came in overcast and high 70’s, so our hike 1,849 ft. up Old Baldy wasn’t

bad at all. The kids were troopers and <gasp!> didn’t complain once! The final night of summer was simply gorgeous, with the brightest full harvest moon and much cooler air. It was hard to pack up and come home. It was so darn beautiful.

Thanks to our buddy, Pete, we had the

Best Lunch stop at Neal’s Dining on the way home. Fifty-three hours later, I am still thinking about that meal. I highly recommend you bookmark this lovely place (and check their hours in advance) for next time you’re in the Concan/Leakey area. Super friendly family serving up delicious food in their homey lodge-style dining room. While you wait for your blessedly amazing food, you can enjoy many captioned photos on the walls of the Neal family’s rich, almost century-long history.

We have been looking forward to this trip since early March and I am trying not to be sad that it is over. Searching availability on TPWD for the next one makes me feel a lil better. We are SO grateful that we rescheduled our original July dates to when the temperatures were more gentle, yet warm enough to enjoy the clear, refreshing Frío waters. And going just past the peak season, we felt like we had our own private park to ourselves.

Thank you, God, for good friends, good food, good memories, and for Garner State Park!

P.S. Here are a few tips for packing for Garner: Volleyball,; basketball (there are courts!); raft/floats, GOOD WATER SHOES; bikes, walking sticks; cash for kids to spend at the camp/candy store (candy store and grill are seasonal only). Please be sure to take a CamelBak or plenty of water for you (and your pup, if applicable) when you hike! We were surprised to see several folks empty handed going up. 😬 Have fun!

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