Most of the time we have free for vacation, we go West. Out to the clear rivers of the Hill Country, the big sky of the Transpecos or even further out to the desert of New Mexico and mountains of Colorado. However, lately, with kids under the age of 5 who start screaming after 4 hours in the car, I have been making a few more trips to East Texas to introduce them to the red dirt and pine trees.
As a little background, I am East Texas raised. Born in Jasper and with family from Beaumont to Marshall, I spent many hours of my childhood travelling up and down highways 45, 59 and 105. Two weeks after high school graduation though, I left the Piney Woods behind for the south plains of the Panhandle. Since then, I haven’t really spent much time exploring life in the pine trees. So, when Trail Racing Over Texas announced they were doing a trail run at Mission Tejas State Park, I decided it was time to bring the kids on an East Texas adventure. And it was.
After picking my mom up at her house in Huntsville, we hauled the last hour to our Air BnB cabin in the woods. It was a little difficult to find in the dark, I managed to only run over one possum, but we finally found it thanks to the great directions from our host. It was dark when we got in, but this may be my favorite ways to start vacation. Getting to your destination at night allows you to wake up in the morning and start your vacation in the sun in a whole new world.
It was still dark when I woke up the next morning to get ready for the trail run. Once I drove the short 10 minutes to the state park, parked and got into the shuttle to the start line, I realized this would be a much different race than I expected. Expectation – flat run through the woods, reality – hills throughout the three loops of the park.
While I was running, the kids stayed with my mom and checked out the creek, pony, donkey and goats and love bugs. After I got back from a successful run, they showed me all the fun they had. We then said goodbye to our little red cabin and went to explore the area.
We set a base for the afternoon with lunch at the Moosehead Cafe in Crockett, explored Caddo mounds (the golf cart ran out of battery at the back of the property near the Old San Antonio Road) and checked out the view from the Neches River bluff.
After the fun day, we drove home with my windshield and grill on my truck covered in love bugs. A classic East Texas trip – ya’ll head that way soon!