Baby, it's cold outside

Submitted by Kim Belcik

My husband Jason and I were best friends in high school and started seriously dating while in college at Texas A&M University in College Station. Our first spring break together, we were two broke college students but we wanted to do something fun. We decided to go camping at Lost Maples State Park. We didn't have any fancy camping gear but we bought a tent and borrowed other gear from a roommate.

We setup our site and hit the trail. While hiking, I noticed a rather large icicle hanging from one of the rock outcroppings on the trail. Both of us remarked how strange it was to see a big piece of ice in the heat of the day.. We snapped a picture of the oddity and went on our way, practically racing back to the campsite. We had started late in the day and were losing sunlight.

Back at camp, we made dinner, cozied up to the campfire and then got ready for bed. Jason had to get up once to chase away Ricky the raccoon from our trash and mentioned it was cold. Little did we know how much colder it was going to get! Jason even considered starting up Gus, his trusty Toyota pickup, to warm us up. But I refused to leave the warm sleeping bag. I wasn’t going to risk losing what precious heat I had created by shivering half the night.

The next morning, Jason stoked the ashes to start the fire up and I sat--practically in the fire ring--covered in blankets and our sleeping bag begging the sun to come up over the hills. Jason made a quick trip to the camp bathrooms where he checked a thermometer and discovered the temperature had dropped to 7 degrees overnight.

A below-freezing camping trip might have ended it for most campers but for us it was the first trip of many we have taken to state parks in Texas. Since then, we've been to just about every state park in the Hill Country. And now we're joined by our two children, Lucy and Henry, hoping to pass on our love of the outdoors. And our love of the state of Texas.

Lucy and Henry at Lost Maples State Park