ripresa (ripresa) wrote,

Backpacking Lost Maples

After being inspired by the Appalachian Trail, I dragged Andy and went backpacking at the Lost Maples State Park, about 3 hours from Austin. We stopped at Fredericksburg for lunch that left me grumpy because it ended being way too expensive for food that was not great. Hrmpf.

But anyways, we finally got to the state park, and it was quite beautiful. The trees were changing color, though the peak colours will be this coming weekend. It was more of a subdued red, but here and there you can find some nice brilliant reds. I will post pictures later.

We only had to hike in for a mile before we found our primitive campsite (for eivind: that means campsite with no water and electricity). We set up the tent, then went hiking some more, up really rugged, rocky terrain. We were trying to find the "Scenic overlook".. and though we saw some good views, we didn't get to it because we were losing daylight. We turned back, but still didn't make it to our camp before darkness set in, and it was rather dark and scary. But oh my goodness. It was the best view of the stars I remember seeing. We could see the milky way across the entire sky. It was so dark and the stars so brilliant.

I didn't see anyone else in the area.. and felt very isolated.

We got out a tiny alcohol stove and boiled some water. And added it to some cup of ramens. We also had leftovers from Fredericksburg.

I had brought a "9 hour candle" from REI which gave a comforting glow in the darkness. (there was a fire ban).

The night brought quite a few adventures. For some reason, I felt more uneasy that night then I did sleeping in the Smokies, where there was a lot of black bears around. When I asked the Ranger earlier if we had to fear bears or cougars/mountain lions, she said no. I asked about pigs, and she was like.. there's been too many people and the pigs don't like the scent of humans.


The first odd thing I heard that night was a growl, and I asked: "Andy, did you hear that growl?"
Andy: "No, baby."
So I just frowned and thought to myself, seriously, I heard a growl. But the growl went away, and I just lay there against Andy, while thoughts ran rampant to who knows where.. including the possibility that the friendly folks who talked to us earlier in the evening were axe-murderers scouting for prey.

I finally fell asleep, despite thinking that some creature was ransacking our food. We had hung our food (this wouldn't have worked if squirrels were around), and open our backpacks (so that creatures won't destroy it getting to non-existent food) and put our garbage several feet away (this we should've hang as well). And I think in the future I will buy some odor capturing bags.. We were lucky there weren't squirrels last night (maybe too cold?)

Anyways, so I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night. And I heard this... licking sound... a slurping/licking sound. Along with sniffling. I elbowed Andy to wake him up.

This time he acknowledged that there was a creature outside. So I lay still... unsure of what to do in the case of a feral pig. I've had a similar encounter before camping in Texas.. but I never heard it so near.. like it was right outside my tent wall. And when you camp on campsites, you never know what idiot threw or buried their food in obvious tenting area. Anyways, it was rather scary, hearing the sniffling and the licking.

As I lay there, I also noticed a small pinprick of light through my tent wall, I wondered what it was, but realized it must be someone breaking the fire ban. It comforted me, knowing that there were some humans out there.

The slurping/licking/sniffling finally went away, and in the morning, we saw that our garbage had been strewn across the grass. But at least we didn't get eaten!

We boiled some water and had delicious dehydrated blueberries, granola and milk.. and chocolate milk. Then we packed up, and hiked back out.

On the car trip home, I was casually mentioning the growling, when Andy was like: "I heard it."
Me: "You heard the growling???"
Andy: "Yeah..."
Me: "You lied??!"
Andy: "I thought you would freak out!"

He was right. I was already freaked out. And the possibility that I may have misheard was less scary then knowing someone else heard it. I wonder what was the growling was.... I guess I'm glad I don't know :)

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