Dallas Wildlife Hiking Group Message Board › CAMPING IN TEXAS FAQ'S
|The Pug W.||
For those of you new to the group, or to camping, here are the basics of why our group does campouts the way we do.
First, one MUST arrive on either a Thursday night or a Friday morning to get a shady spot in all Austin/San Antonio area campsites and parks because they are POPULAR. Popular means busting at the seams during the summer months with locals who will beat you to the good spots every time. Taking time off is difficult for many people in Dallas/Fort Worth. The facts are, if you don't have someone go down on a Friday, you might as well forget camping, it is not an option! Many camps close their gates early on Fridays so you are out of luck. It's just like the Fourth of July - you have to park a car during the day to secure your valuable spot at night. On Saturday mornings, not only will the shady spots be taken, but so will every spot in the campsite. If you are from sunny California or the colder regions of the U.S., then let me explain what it is like to camp in 100-degree heat with no shade - FORGET IT! And if you can't get a spot by the water, it will be equally miserable. One must have water access for dogs so they aren't bothering everyone else in camp. Also, you need to be able to jump up into the water in the middle of the night for a dip if you are over heating. For this reason, our hike leaders secure campsites for our group on Fridays.
Second, our hike leaders take time off from work SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO! It costs your hike leaders money to take a day off without pay to get down to the campsite on a Friday morning and to plan things so that they go smoothly for those arriving after dark. They don't want to do this anymore than you do but it is mandatory if one wants to have a shady spot under the trees. For this reason, the cost of our all-inclusive trips includes an extra fee to help the camp organizer recover from lost pay. We can't do these events without them. It is a VALUABLE service and one that is greatly appreciated by the majority. We love our volunteers and hope that everyone will thank them at the end of the day! Please support your camp leaders and show your thanks by making your deposits early and promptly. Don't make your hike or camp leader bill collect. Bill collecting totally takes the joy out of organizing an event. Also, we do not discriminate. Everyone pays the same fee. No bartering. Volunteers or those chipping in manpower may ask the Camp Organizer if there are any assistant positions open in exchange for a discount. This is the only exception.
Third, camping anywhere can be totally unpredictable! Some places are enjoyable and others can be downright nasty. Only an experienced guide can save us all the headaches of this. Most camping guides have spent a considerable amount of time and money backpacking in both Texas, the U.S., Mexico and across Europe. They are the gurus to our outdoor happiness. Most new outdoors people have no clue about the trouble one can get into without a guide, from getting caught in thunderstorms to getting lost. Even trail dogs can turn up missing, injured or lost. For this reason, every Dallas Wildlife camp leader was specifically chosen for their knowledge of the Texas area and their expertise. After four or five campouts, you will become a devotee of tour guides!
Fourth: The worst time of year to go camping is Spring and Summer, because that is when schools are out for summer break! That, however, is when most people want to go! So, if this describes you, please understand that we have certain restrictions for where we go in May, June,and July. We don't expect you to take Friday off but we do expect you to help us secure the location by paying for both Friday and Saturday. Kids, families and errant dogs will be crawling all over the place on Saturdays. We will not camp in places that are convenient because we want to avoid the crowds. We also like to avoid the high prices associated with convenience so please understand that this takes a considerable amount of time on your camp organizer's part to locate reasonable spots that are not crowded. These spots are usually difficult to find, may require a vehicle with high clearance for bumpy, dirt roads, and may require other inconveniences that us city folk are not used to. If your vehicle is not road worthy for back roads, then please carpool. It saves gas, the environment, and your undercarriage!
Fifth - Fair Weather Campers: By now you may know that there is no such thing as fair weather. In Texas, you are always under the threat of a freak rain storm that seems to bolt out of no where. If you are waiting for fair weather then you won't be going camping more than once a year. Just because it is sunny on Friday, doesn't mean it will be on Saturday or Sunday. Many times, the weather it terrible on Thursday but WONDERFUL on the weekend. Also, weather in Dallas is TOTALLY different than it is in other parts of the state. Fair weather campers are the reason that campsites don't accept reservations. They are known for canceling at the last minute. They are also know for suddenly showing up on sunny days and over crowding the camp. For this reason, deposits on camping are not refundable if you cancel out and the trip is not canceled by the organizer due to weather or unexpected circumstances.
Sixth and Last: Lodging. There are a few out there who refuse to camp and only want to stay at hotels and beds and breakfasts. That is fine, but please don't expect miracles - meaning, its going to be expensive. This is Texas. This is a popular place for tourists. Lodging is at a premium. Also, don't expect to take your dog into lodging without paying double the cost in rental. It is more reasonable to find doggy daycare or leave your pup with a friend.
Seventh and Last: Dogs. Some Texas State Parks do not allow dogs. It is mandatory that pet owners have a trustworthy pet sitter lined up in advance of certain trips. Your pet's safety is paramount, so we advise that you don't make them miserable by expecting them to stay with a vet or a daycare service that is not open at night. Also, don't expect them to stay at home where they can get into things or knock their water bowl over. Please pay the price to make sure your pets are taken care of by competent people. All too many times have we heard the story of the dog that runs away from the vet clinic, who is made to eliminate in their vet crate on rainy days, or who is let out of the backyard by a mischevious neighborhood kid who knows you aren't home. Soon, we hope to post a list of reputable places for you to patronize. Prices range from $30 to $40 a day for a GOOD pet sitter in this part of Texas.