Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Battle of San Mosquito

We arrived at the battlefield completely unaware of the massacre that awaited us. Within minutes, we were surrounded.  The avenging hoard swarmed in, closing in on our flanks and offering us no line of retreat.  We were defenseless against the black cloud of impending doom. 

Merely a scout.  There were *thousands* of them suckers.

Ok, so maybe that's a litte bit dramatic - but I've lived in Texas nearly all my life and I've never once been actually swarmed by mosquitos.  RDB and I checked in Thursday afternoon, and the ladies warned us that the mosquitos were bad this weekend.  They said the park ranger would be around to 'fog' for them if there were enough complaints (so, obviously, I pre-registered my complaint before we even left the office!)  We really had no idea it would be so bad but we learned something very important about setting up camp:

Make sure your bug spray is in a readily available area - like the tow vehicle - so that you don't have to pop the tent to get to it.  It took us 10 minutes to get to the spray and by then we were seriously considering abandoning the pop-up and heading for the nearest Hampton Inn.

We didn't surrender - but we were prepared when the other camping families showed up - RDB met them at the car doors with bug repellant as soon as they arrived. By the end of the night, we had The 5Js, D&G+2, and R(m)B joined us for the first time, setting up their tent in the dark - which was probably a good thing, because by then you couldn't see the little suckers swarming you - you could just feel them as they bit.   

Our bunk quickly became a retreat - in every sense of the word.

Most of Friday was spent fighting the War on Mosquitos.  I think we all made a trip or two to Wal*Mart for supplies ($86 worth of citronella, tiki torches, DEET, and the like just for RDB and me - and I know the other familes spent a wad of cash too; but by the second trip to Wally World, it looked like we weren't the only ones trying to bring back reinforcements!)  12 tiki torches, several bottles of bug repellant,  propane bug fogger (thank you R(m)B!) and a vast number of candles later, and we had a perimeter that seemed to keep at least some of the hoard at bay.

Oh, and another thing I learned: those yellow hard-plastic egg carriers? They're crush-resistant, but they're certainly not crash-proof.  Our slide right off the table and crashed on to the ground - broke the entire dozen.  Silver lining: the scrambled eggs turned out fine.

Full moon rising over the oaks - we had wonderful shade trees.

In honor of the holiday weekend, we 'hid' eggs for the kids.  I say 'hid' beacuse we had so many of them that we ran out of places to hide them - lots were just scattered in the ground.  The 3 littlest kids went first - giving them a head start from the 3 bigger kids.  Best part: LJ picking up the eggs, throwing them under his arm into the waiting basket - only to throw them past the basket and back onto the ground.  It was a hoot!  The mosquitos, unfortunately, were an uninvited guest.

All the kiddos with their Easter baskets.

Hanging out eating candy after the egg hunt. "More."

We were down in the Rockport area and took some time over the afternoon to visit The Big Tree.  It's a live oak tree that has a height of 44ft, a crown spread over 89ft, a circumference of 35ft, and average diameter of 11ft.  This is a huge tree.  So large and sprawling that the limbs have to be supported off the ground to keep them from breaking.  We didn't stay long because of, you guessed it, the mosquitos.

RDB and Me at The Big Tree

RDB and I spent lots of time just hanging out at camp - the others took off for late night fishing or going to the pier. We really enjoyed the few quiet moments we had with R(m)B... they left out Saturday night, but not before (m) had the chance to have her very first s'more.  How cool is that?  Camping with familes and small kids can certianly be tricky, but having the chance to be there and provide a young kid with thier first real fire-melted s'more? That to me is totally worth it!  I'm excited to continue to have those experiences camping with this group.

"Mom, do you like RDB's camper?" "Yes, Honey." "Me, too..."

One down.  40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to go.
We camped at Goose Island State Park in sites 114 and 115.  It's a great set of sites for 2 pop-ups and 2 tents. We had a total of 15 people in the site and didn't feel crowded at all. Completely tree covered, mosquito infested, and amazing.  Just a quick walk to the bath house (and the facilities here are nice) and a short drive to the pier.  They do have on-beach camping but there's no shade cover - so, its a trade off, you can have shade and mosquitos, or no shade and no mosquitos.  We'll probably come back.  In the winter.  Durring a drought.  And with more reinforements.  And a can of repellent under the front seat. 

For more camping photos, go here.


  1. Deep Woods OFF works well. It is a must have for Goose Island.

    Next time you go, you need to go into town and check out the free mini Aquarium at Rockport Harbor and "The Globe" (Science on a Sphere) at the Bay Education Center. Great adventures for the family!!

    1. Off, DEET, Napalm - all things well have when we go back!

      Thanks for the aquarium suggestion, sounds fun!