Venture #17: Camping at Emma Long Park (Austin, TX)

20180630_063324-01I love camping in Texas. The state park system here is vast and varied across the state. When my friend and fellow blogger Kennan proposed a spontaneous camping trip, I was pleasantly surprised to find a new spot right outside of Austin! I often forget that some cities and counties in Texas also have their own parks with designated campsites. On a Friday after work we hopped in her Honda packed to the roof with miscellanous camping gear and headed out to Emma Long Metroplitan Park.

For $10.00 we booked our reservation online at their park’s website- Click HERE. We showed up to the park, paid a $10.00 entrance fee for our car, and in a few minutes our simple campsite was set up as we watched the sunset. Kennan bought a new tent from Boulder, Colorado made by a small brand called The Earth Ship and it was our first time trying it out. We really liked the artistic design and spaciousness of their 4 person model “The Molecule-4”. Its two pole system set up with ease and the large webbing at the top of the tent kept us cool in Texas summer heat. We prepped the included rainfly just in case of a rain shower in the middle of the night. I did have some concern about the integrity of the material as it felt really light. One of the main reasons we tested this tent in a field environment, is because it is made with a majority of recycled material and we love that aspect. The footprint, that came with it, staked under the tent protected our sleeping bags from uncomfortable sticker burs. We really had a great time camping in The Earth Ship and I would recommend this product as an ideal 3-season tent for designated campgrounds and car camping.

The next morning I woke up at daylight and decided to go for a run along the bank of the Colorado River. The sun was just coming up over the West Lake hills and not a single person stirred in the campground. Running under massive bald cypress trees and across small sandy lakeside beaches I spotted a perfect spot to hang a hammock over the river. Breakfast was simple and healthy: spinach and egg whole wheat sandwiches. After enjoying mildly cool morning we broke down camp almost as quickly as we had set it up the night before. The sun was up by now and many day visitors had arrived to swim in the river.

Barefoot, I shuffled over the gnarled bark of a bent bald cypress tree taking care not to fall off into the water. Two nylon tree straps later our double nest hammock from High Hopes Hammocks hung over the gently lapping waves. It was an excercise actually getting into the hammock being it hung directly under the tree trunk and above two-and-a-half feet of water. The wind blew when it needed to. The old bald cypress provided us shade as the sun climbed higher in the sky. Laying there in nature swaying over a small pool of water watching kids play with noodles and tubes. We felt weightless. Life couldn’t have been sweeter. A perfect summer day.



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