When Mama was back in high school, Nana and Papa decided that they'd take her and my aunt camping on Spring Break. They decided to go to the Davis Mountains State Park right outside of Fort Davis, TX. That's when our family tradition was born. We have camped at this park almost every spring break since then. My parents even took us there when we were infants! Naturally, we all grew up adoring this park. Every spring break we piled in the car for the 8 hour drive which was normally accompanied by either a rocking Shania Twain CD or Harry Potter audiobook.
It isn't just the beauty of the park that makes it special though. Every morning starts with the entire family (my mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, brother and sister) getting together for coffee. We'll set up chairs at whoever's campsite is the nicest. Some days everyone has their own breakfast, but others Mama cooks massive meals for everyone, like the homemade sausage Nana and Papa make and bring! We hang out, catch up, listen to the birds, drink our coffee, and plan the day.
San Antonio Native. Wife. Mother of Fur Babies. Real Estate Agent.
Mrs. Katherine Johnson
There's always something to do in this park and the surrounding areas. Over the years we've done all of the hikes in the park, gone to star parties at the observatory, shopped at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute's Cactus Sale, read countless books when weather is poor, been on scenic drives, built rock ant forts, started a time capsule, and so much more. Honestly though some of the best times have been just sitting at the campsite talking with the family!
As we've all started growing up and becoming adults, work/school have caused one or two of us to miss the trip certain years. Although having the rest of the family there, whoever is gone, is truly missed. Getting everyone together, all these years, has become so important and special to all of us. It's one of the best gifts I have ever been given. Writing this has proven to be very difficult without crying because of all the amazing memories.
When Mama was growing up, Nana and Papa let her bring one of her best friends, Melinda. In high school, I got to do the same thing. It was so much fun introducing this park to my best friends Stacey and Elisa. To watch the two of them fall in love with the park the way I did years before, was fantastic. I showed them our favorite hikes, tastiest small-town restaurants, and javelinas, which Stacey re-named "Mountain Pigs"! I realized, in those trips with my friends, how truly special this family trip was, and how rare a family like mine is. A family who honors traditions and loves each so much.
This passed December, Papa was hospitalized. The whole family pulled together, and it made me love them even more! We thought this trip was out of the question, at first. When he'd started recovering, Dad had to make an adjustment to the trip. He changed their reservation from camping in the park to a hotel in Fort Davis. We were determined. If Papa was out of the hospital and able to go home, then we wanted to make sure he got to go on this trip. He did. Nana and Papa spent every day on that trip with us at the park!
Having Papa there and healthy again was so special. The trip wouldn't have even happened if he was still in the hospital. Our family, although big and growing, is really close. Being able to drink coffee and sit at that campsite with Nana and Papa was the most priceless thing that my family was given this year! Papa is already planning to get back into the park and camp again in 2018.
I will share all about the different hikes and adventures on another post. This one is about my family. They're the ones who make the trip so special - it's not about the place, it's about the people. That's why when one of us isn't able to come, we miss them! This year my sister graduated nursing school and just started working when the trip came around. It wasn't a good time for her to leave for a vacation. I missed her so much! I missed rushing to the bathrooms from the campsite in the dark with her. I missed having her and my niece sitting at the table singing "Happy Birthday" to Nana, whose birthday always falls during spring break. I missed all of the talks we used to have in my parents camper, late at night when everyone else was asleep. Each member of my family makes it so special. It's like a beautiful puzzle...you'll notice if a piece is missing.
I know one day the tradition will end, as our family grows and family passes, but I have some of the best memories of my life on this trip with my family.
Davis Mountains State Park: A Family Tradition