Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Getaway

Beavers Bend State Park

Those who know me, know I am rarely happy sitting at home on the couch.  I like the outdoors.  Correction.  I LOVE the outdoors.  This is only second to traveling, which ranks only slightly higher.  My only problem is by living in Texas, outdoor activities can be limited by the brutal heat of summer.  And since camping is one of my favorite outdoor activities, attempting to camp during the summer here in North Texas is a lesson in pain.  So, I wait till the spring and fall to get my camping trips in.

About a month ago I was talking to friend and fellow photographer Shaina and I mentioned always wanting to camp at a place called Beavers Bend, near Broken Bow Oklahoma.  It's a fairly secluded place, with rolling woods covered hills, a lake and an ice cold river full of trout.  Located about 4 hours from Dallas... this was the getaway I needed.  Shaina had been to this location before and insisted I needed to go there, so why not get some friends together and let's camp!

A week later we had all the details in order and had added another friend, Katy, to the crew.  Check lists were made, directions mapped and good camp food bought... this was happening!  We knew going into this trip that it could well be one of the best documented camping trips any of us had been on.  Myself and Shaina being photographers and Katy who also enjoys picking up a camera now and then were going to make sure there were photos of all of us and everything we did throughout the weekend.  To put icing on our adventure-cake, weather reports just before the trip showed absolutely perfect weather for the 3 day trip.  Mild days with sun and cool nights would provide great weather for day time activities and night time campfires.

We arrived that Friday evening and were greeted by this river side view at our camp site.  It was difficult not to spend the next hour shooting.  But we had to get setup and start cooking dinner.  We were in the prime color change week of fall.  This was just a perfect start.

With night setting, the campfire going and dinner cooking... we just relaxed and enjoyed the sounds of mother nature.  There weren't many people in the campground at this time.  So it was very remote and peaceful feeling.

After dinner Shaina and I grabbed our camera's and headed down to the dam in the river to get some night photos.  Although it was starting to get cold out, the air was still.  The river was perfectly calm and this location is so far from any major city, the stars were quite bright.  You could even see the Milky Way slightly.

The next morning we got up, made breakfast and headed up river so Shaina and Katy could do some trout fishing.  I just wanted to shoot while they fished.  It was Shaina's mission to catch us lunch/dinner.  It didn't take long before she caught one!  She named him Henry.  Unfortunately, they didn't catch anymore.  She hooked one more, but it got loose as she reeled it in.

That evening got quite a bit colder.  But, we were ready for it with lots of clothing layers and a good camp fire!  It was really nice to just sit around the fire and talk, tell stories and laugh.  This is what camping is all about.

The next morning was the start of our final day in this magical place.  None of us were really ready to go home.  I think all of us could have stayed another 2 to 3 days and been quite happy about it.  But, life in the real world called so we started our day off with camp chocolate-coffee (Shainas brilliant idea) and some amazing food cooked up by Katy!

As we packed up our tents and gear we all knew this campout was a complete success.  We were returning to civilization with great memories and great photos.  What more could we ask for?  And I couldn't have asked for two better camp buddies.  These two were real troopers no matter what challenge we ran into.

I'll be returning to you Beavers Bend.  This is probably one of the most scenic and beautiful camp grounds I've been to.  I felt like I barely scratched the surface of things to see there.  Next time I need to rent a canoe and go down the river and explore some of the hiking trails.  If you're looking for a real outdoor experience, you definitely need to check this place out.  And if tents aren't your thing, they also have cabins for rent.

I could I not return to this?!