Sam Houston National Forest

Having grown up less than an hour from Sam Houston National Forest, Ashley and I were super excited to hear that the first Texas Overland* event would be happening there. I have great memories of going to summer camp in in SHNF every year until I was in high school, so it was very nostalgic for me to get to camp there again. The Texas Overland event was going to be a 3 day camp out at one of the Hunter’s Camps in the forest. To add to the fun of meeting and camping with new people who share our passion of adventure, a scavenger hunt was also taking place. The scavenger hunt was planned out by our friends Laud Maroney, Chris Devereaux and Andrew Devereaux who had spent a good amount of time researching and exploring a vast area of the over 160,000 acres SHNF has to offer. The scavenger hunt was a list of coordinates that we were given to anyone who was attending the event and had to use any resource to plan/ map out a course to locate and get to the said coordinates. Once we made it to each given point, we had to get a picture of our vehicle in front of a specified land mark at each location. Along with the picture, there were bonus questions for each location which had us racking our brains at some points to figure out, and then laughing at ourselves once figuring out simple some of the answers were.

*Texas Overland is a facebook group that was started as a way for people in Texas who are into outdoor exploration and overlanding to get connected.*

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Ashley and I spent all day Friday hitting the points on the scavenger hunt before rolling into camp that afternoon. After being greeted by a few of the other members of Texas Overland who were already settled in, we picked a spot and set up camp. The Hunter’s Camp we were camping at was a clearing amongst the tall pines a little bit bigger than a football field that gave us plenty of room to spread out and have some privacy. It was great to meet everyone and admire all the unique camping set ups that everyone had. The first night was spent around the campfire sharing stories and really getting to know everyone.

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Saturday a group of people decided to go on a drive around exploring the forest together while Ashley and I decided to head back to one of the points from the scavenger hunt that had given us trouble figuring out the bonus question answer, as well as make a run to the grocery store to grab a few items. We then headed back to camp to settle in and relax. When we arrived back at camp, there was a Tread Lightly class about to start that was lead by Mike Leary who was so amazing enough to come camp with all of us for the weekend and lead an awesome class. Ashley and I grabbed our camp chairs and joined the group right as the class was starting. It was a great experience getting to learn as a group about understanding the importance of treating this beautiful earth we love so much with delicacy and respect so that later generations may experience and enjoy it as we have.

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We had an awesome potluck dinner with everyone after the class which was great way to share camp cooking tips and recipes with everyone. As it got dark, we made a big fire in which everyone gathered around to socialize and continue with building some great friendships. A few of us spent close to an hour taking turns chopping up huge sections of a pine tree that had been cleared from the forest road. This turned into a hilarious scene as we all began trying to “out-man” one another with bigger and better swings and chops at the logs with everyone cheering and laughing every time a large chunk of wood split. After tiring ourselves out from chopping all the logs up, we relaxed for the rest of the night around the massive fire before calling it a night.

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We woke up Sunday, made breakfast and slowly started tearing down camp. Bailey was so exhausted, she could barely hop up into the truck to nap as we finished packing. Once packed up we said our goodbyes to all the amazing people we had met that weekend and then headed back home only stopping to admire the beauty of the tall pine trees that cover most of Sam Houston National Forest.

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Post by: Alex

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