Lighthouse Trails Park Review

David and I have enjoyed the paddling trails near Aransas Pass Lighthouse Trails.   Most recently, we spent six hours paddling the  southern most trail.  Using the map from Travel South Texas, we put in at marker #1 of Lighthouse Trails Park.  Our goal was to paddle to the Old Aransas Lighthouse, have a nice picnic lunch and paddle back.  While we always enjoy paddling and being on the water,  this was not our most enjoyable outing.

The trail markers are faded and difficult to read, they do not show directional instructions when more than one choice of direction is present, markers do not indicate which trail is being marked, and markers are too far apart.  One would argue that if you follow a map it would be clear which way to go.  This is fine for a local who has the time and opportunity to find where maps may be purchased. For tourists who wish to use the trails, the posted maps are of little use because they are difficult to read and you no longer have access on the water.

The fishing was great on the day we went.  Since it was unseasonably warm, we were getting plenty of hits on the Gulp Alive baits.  We caught some spotted trout (released).  We couldn’t have been happier with the fishing results.

While following some of the trails we found that oyster beds or silt and sand had filled in the trail making it difficult to paddle.  Often we had to get out of the yaks and drag them through, even at high tide.  It is next to impossible to walk in areas where your feet get stuck in the silt and sand.  This is an issue of poor maintenance of the trails.  They likely have not been maintained since the trail markers were put up.

All that being said, if you are careful of which trails you follow, plan ahead, buy a map, pay attention to the tides, and pay attention to waters around you, your paddling experience should be awesome!  We had a great day paddling even through those frustrating times and will certainly paddle those trails again.

 

Choosing the Right Yak

Once the decision has been made to purchase kayaks, it is important that you buy the one that suits your body type, physical condition and of course the purpose for the kayak.  For us, it was a matter of trying various kayaks, reading hundreds of reviews and narrowing them down according to the features we desired.  After months of researching and testing various kayaks, we came up with a list of things important to us and our lifestyle.

  1. It had to be easy to paddle since I had serious shoulder surgery less than six months before purchasing them.
  2. It had to have a high weight tolerance to carry all manner of hunting, fishing and camping gear.
  3. There must be adequate storage for all of the above.
  4. Storage needed to be accessible while in the kayak.
  5. The seat must be comfortable for many hours of paddling and fishing, considering your back as well as your butt.
  6. It needed to be light weight and durable.
  7. It must be stable.
  8. NO Scupper holes!
  9. It had to have an anchor trolley system.
  10. Tandem or solo?
  11. Price

During our search for the right kayak,  we discovered most were uncomfortable to sit in for more than an hour, could not carry much gear, and were difficult to use for fishing.  Many didn’t have anchor systems and most had scupper holes.  For some models, you could buy after-market trolley systems and install them yourself.

What ever you buy, make certain to choose your kayak based on the things most important to you.  Go to local kayak shops and try them before you buy.  Pay close attention to getting in and out of the kayak as well as how the seat feels.  Finding one that meets all your needs and is in your price range will give you years of happiness with your kayak.

 

 

Camping? Really?

Which kind of camping is for you?  Roughing it?  Packing in?  Camp fire?  Camp stove? Tent or under the stars?  Cell phone off?  Some people even say a cabin might be considered camping if there are no modern amenities like hot water and indoor restroom.  What about the more recent trend called glamping?

What ever you call it, spending time in the great outdoors is a worthwhile activity.  For us, camping doesn’t survival camping, pretty much anything else that brings us close to nature and away from the noise of the city is perfect.  We wouldn’t even mind glamping if the fishing were good and the only thing we could hear was nature.

A good camping experience requires excellent planning and efficient packing.  Special care must be taken to consider campers’ ages and medical and physical conditions.    Obviously the less optimal a camper’s condition, the more “stuff” you have to bring.

The point is to get out of the house and do something.  No matter what kind of camping you choose, spending time in nature will change you in ways most people can’t fully articulate.  

Our Best Friends

David and I are blessed to have a “best friend couple”.  Most people have a “bff”, but rarely are the couple’s best friends married to each other.  Since my husband’s best friend is married to my best friend, we get to spend more time together as couples doing couples things. Dan and Catie are the other pair in “2pairfarms”.

Dan and CatieDan and Catie are awesome people.  In almost every way that counts, we are like-minded.  Compared to us, they are much closer to being independent.  Catie grew up on a farm and is going to inherit the farm as part of her parent’s legacy. Farmers are usually more self-reliant than city folk by the nature of living in remote places, well water, and other necessities of farm living.  All that being said, Dan is quite handy with a hammer and wrench.  He has been busy re-purposing some of the out buildings into additional  business and living spaces.  Catie has been busy gaining new skills while utilizing the new spaces to generate additional avenues of income and assets.

 

Packing Camping Gear

When David and I plan to go camping it seems as if we are bringing everything but the kitchen sink.    Finally we have decided to get containers dedicated for camping only.  In this way we can keep all our camping gear in those containers and simply load them up when it is time to go.

Since we will be taking our Native Watercraft boats where ever we might camp, we will have plenty of room for everything we need.  Not having to pack it every time we go will make it that much more joyous.  Throw the containers in and go.

One container will be dedicated to things that we don’t plan on using but will bring “just in case”.  The first aid kit will be on the top in that container.  Maybe some flares or some other emergency stuff you never want to use.

No more will I have to pack all this stuff into boxes and squeeze them into the back of the car.  All we need to do remember to restock everything when we get back before putting those handy containers back on the shelves.