One of the major drawbacks to remote primitive camping sites, you never know what idiot you are going to end up next to.
November 24, 2012 a buddy of mine and I headed out to the Angelina river close to Jasper Texas to do some camping. These are primitive camping sites that are only available by boat.
We arrived at the camping site, set the tents up, then head out to the river to do some fishing. Just before the juglines were set out, I got a call on my phone saying my son-in-law and his hunting buddies caught a hog in the river bottom. The dogs had chased the hog a long way from the boat, and they needed some help. But that is another story.
After helping my son-in-law and his hunting party pack the hog back to the boat, my buddy and I headed back to our camping site.
By the time we got back to the camping site we only had about one hour of light left. We broke out the camp stoves, cooked a quick meal of Mountain House freeze dried foods, then started the camp fire.
As the river trip inches closer, its time to start thinking about the loadout I want to bring. There are going to be 4 people spread out over 2 boats. Due to the distance we are traveling, over 10 miles, weight is going to be a factor. The heavier the boats are loaded down, the worse the gas mileage.
This is going to be a warm weather trip, so the heavy sleeping bag can be left at home. There will be no need for coats, gloves, cold weather head gear, cold weather boots,,, nothing like that.
For this river camping trip I am going to try to keep the gear down to a minimum. Not a “bare” minimum, just not carry a lot of excess gear.
A buddy of mine and I are planning a 100+ mile 3 – 4 day river camping trip. On this trip we will be going into some pretty remote areas. After we put our boats in the river, there are no boat launches for probably 50+ miles. The location is East Texas on the Sabine river.
I would like to bring either a rifle or shotgun for personal protection. Black bears are known to be in the area where we are going, as well as everything from coyotes to wild hogs.
I am more concerned about running into a rabid raccoon, then having problems with a black bear, but you never know.
This update was supposed to be in 2 parts. The first part was supposed to be doing some maintenance to the boat, such as fixing some broken rivets. The second part was supposed to be taking the boat out on the river to make sure is running ok, and to to use a GPS to see how fast the boat can travel down the river.
Well, the boat never made it to the river.
The front of the boat has a deck that is held in place with rivets. Over the years of walking on the deck the rivets have slowly pulled lose or broken.
Replacing the rivets
Use a drill bit the size of the rivet, drill through the middle of the rivet, the head should come loose.
Use a punch or drift pen to drive out the middle of the rivet.
If the rivet does not want to drive out, use the drill to drill it out.
When planning a trip like a 100+ mile river / camping trip, its important to test your gear. Part of the testing phase is making sure your boat is in good running order. The purpose of todays trip was to test the boat to make sure it was in good running order.
A few weeks ago I put the boat in for repairs. During a recent camping trip a bolt fell out of the gear shifting lever, the water pump impeller has never been changed, and the spark plugs were looking a little old, the oil in the lower unit had never been changed and there was a short in the starter button.
Trip to the shop
I brought the boat to a local boat repair place. the service guy was told what I wanted, I even had him go out to the boat and take a look at something I wanted fixed.
For those of you that have not read River Trip Part 1, please do so. After talking to my buddy about the boat launches I went and looked at on my first trip, he sent me an email with what was supposed to be a boat launch just south of the dam on Toledo Bend dam.
The plan for Sunday was for my wife and I to make a trip to Toledo Bend dam. There are two roads on each side of the river on the south side of the dam where the Sabine river starts. The goal is to see if there a feasible boat launch.
What I found on the trip on each side of the river were steep banks, and no real boat launch. There is a place where a pipeline crosses the river. On the Texas side of the river, it looks like bags of cement were placed on the bank to stop erosion. The bank is so steep that it would be dangerous to carry a boat and boat down the bank.
Comparing the banks at the Toledo Bend dam to the other boat launches:
From my house, its plus or minus a few miles, its 50 miles from my house to the dam at Toledo Bend
The banks dam are very, very steep. I would consider the banks so steep that it would be unsafe to a boat and motor down the bank.
For around 14 years or so, a couple of my buddies and I have been talking about making a river trip from the northern part of the Sabine river, all the way to the Orange / Bridge city area. If everything goes according to plan, we will be making the trip sometime in 2012. The trip is currently in the planning phase – we talking about what boats we want to bring, where we are going to launch the boats at, who is going to be going on the trip,,, just stuff like that.
There are two boat launches in the Bon Wier Texas / Merryville Louisiana area that we are looking at using. On Sunday January 15, 2012 my wife and I made a trip to the boat launches to see if it was feasible to launch at either one.
Sunday morning started off bright and when my wife and I crawled out of bed around 8:45am. After getting our shower and having some breakfast, it was finally time to get one the road. We stopped at a local corner store to picked up some snacks, bought a sunday paper for the coupons, then it was to wal-mart to get some gas. If you use the wal-mart gift card, you save 3 cents a gallon on gasoline. A few days before hand, my wife put $40 on a gift card. When we stopped at the super wal-mart in Jasper I put the whole $40 in my truck.
After gassing up, and getting some snacks, it was finally time to get on the road. My wife and I left Jasper heading west on HWY 190 towards Newton. At Newton, we passed over HWY 87, then turned south on HWY 190.
During a long term SHTF / teotwawki survival situation, fishing will be an important way to gather food. One of the goals of this fishing / camping trip is to practice our SHTF / teotwawki fishing skills. another goal of this trip is to make observations about issues that people might run into.
There are a lot of people out there who plan on bugging out to the wilderness after the food and water run out at their home. Part of the SHTF survival plans are along the lines of “when we run out of food, we will have to go to the food”. This usually includes grabbing the bug out bag and bug out to a wilderness location where they survival can hunt, fish and gather wild foods.
One issue, the person rarely gets past the planning phase. In order to have a balanced SHTF / teotwawki survival plan, people should also test those plans. The only way to test the plans is to get away from the computer and do something. Being an armchair survivalist is not enough. Make your plans, test your plans, analyze the results from the test, make improvements on those observations.
Sunday, December 25th (Christmas), for Christmas I bought two of my sons a Coleman sleeping bag each, a sleeping pad, and a fleece sleeping bag. They needed a sleeping bag for our upcoming camping trip, so why not give them a sleeping bag for Christmas.
Monday, December 26th was gear load out day. I spent just about all day going over my pack, going over the boat, making sure the lights on the boat worked, hooked the boat trailer to the truck, organizing my food bag,,, just getting everything ready to go.
For Christmas my mom and dad gave me an Optimus Terra Solo. My personal belief is that you test your gear before you take it on a trip. To test my new Terra Solo, I setup my single burner Coleman stove on the stove in my kitchen. Then I cooked myself a serving of noodles, just like I would on a camping trip.
To get ready for an upcoming camping trip I decided to do a load out list. List like this help you see what your pack contains, and hopefully spot missing items in the list.
For those of you looking at this list and wondering how I am going to pack off of this gear, the easy answer is “I am not going to pack it”. The camping trip is going to be on the banks of the Angelina River. This means the boat is going to be carrying the gear for me; all I have to do is load the boat up and go.
Pack – Large MOLLE pack with internal sleep system, 2 sustainment pouches on the MOLLE pack. I was going to take my large ALICE pack, but my sleeping bag, food, fleece liner and poncho liner filled up the pack. This means I am having to store a lot of my gear in the sustainment pouches on the MOLLE.
Tent – Wenzel Lone Tree Hiker Tent, this item is hit and miss and might be difficult to find
Tarp – 6×8 foot for tent ground cloth
Sleeping bag – Coleman Exponent Tasman X 32-Degree Hybrid Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bag liner – GI poncho liner and fleece sleeping bag
It all started several months ago when I was telling my buddy about the undeveloped / primitive camping spots on the Angelina River here in Jasper Texas. Years ago we used to go camping along the bayous and marshes around Bridge City and Orangefield, Texas. But we have not done that in several years. So after talking for a little bit, we decided to take a camping trip on the Angelina River.
Back in early November, a date of November 29 – December 1 was picked. The permit was submitted and the site was reserved.
November 26, 2010 my daughter and I took the boat out – to make sure that it would run ok for the camping trip, and to check on the site my buddy and I were going to be using. The site we had reserved was occupied on November 26th so my daughter and I could not stop and take a look at it. So we just turned around, and headed back home. The boat ran fine, so there were no worries there.
November 28, 2010 my wife and I drop my kids off at my moms house where my ex-wife will pick them up. From there, my wife and I head over to my buddies house, visit for a little while, then he rides back to my house with my wife and I. Instead of him making the drive to my house Monday, we just picked him up on the way back home.
For those you in Southeast Texas that are looking for a little adventure, the Army Corp of Engineers has something you might want to look into. And that is a series of primitive camping spots set up along the Angelina and Neches rivers. The Corp calls these camping spots “Primitive Campsites” and here is a list from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website. As of July 18, 2010, these is no fee to use these sites, and they have to be reserved. To reserve the site, you just fill out a form, fax mail or hand deliver it to the Town Bluff Project Office (phone number 409-429-3491) and they will give you a permit to use the spot. These primitive camping spots are reserved on a first com first served basis – so do not wait until the last minute to reserve the spot you want.
Primitive Campsite List
1. Bluff 1
2. Bluff 2
3. Hamilton Lake 1
4. Hamilton Lake 2 (Closed Indefinitely)
5. Hamilton Lake 3 (Closed Indefinitely)
6. Angelina 1
7. Angelina 2
8. Angelina 3
9. Angelina 4
10. Moon Lake 1
11. Moon Lake 2
12. Moon Lake 3
13. Warden 1 (Closed)
14. Warden 2 (Closed)