I don't think I can describe how much we needed it. It was absolutely beautiful. The Frio River is crystal clear, which is kind of unusual for rivers in Texas. Usually they're brown and full of water moccasins and other unsavory creatures. At least that's how I imagine them, and there is a reason:
In upstate NY, where I grew up, the streams and rivers were pretty clear and you'd never see anything more threatening than a turtle. When my family was moving down to TX (which was a two week process involving the summer, 7 girls, and camper with no a/c - did you know girls can smell not-so-great after two weeks in a camper without a/c in the middle of the summer?) we stopped at a campground in Louisiana to sleep for the night. It was still light out when we pulled in and there was a big pond. Since it was hotter than I ever believed could be possible, I thought I would take my little sisters wading. Sure the pond was had a little algae and it didn't smell quite right, but why not?
We got to the water's edge and I was about to cautiously put my toe in, when I saw something slithering in the murk. It was about 7 feet long. I stared at it, my toe hovering cautiously, and an evil head came up and opened its monstrous, fanged mouth lined in startling white. I hustled my sisters away from there as fast as I could and spent the night not sleeping and getting up periodically to stuff shoes and socks through the cracks in the camper.
I hate snakes more than I fear hell and this phobia does not improve with age.
But enough of that. The Frio was gorgeous and we really had fun. We took the girls fishing, hiked up into the hills and saw a great view, made a campfire, roasted marshmallows, drank some beer, and bundled up during the night like I haven't done in years.
Jen and I also took the girls to hear a park ranger expound upon the geology of the TX hill country.
This particular park ranger was a gentleman probably in his early to mid-40s. He wore a cowboy hat like everyone with any type of authority (real or imagined) does in TX, had a little beer gut, and was mostly nondescript except for a massive handlebar mustache. It was distracting in its luxuriant perfection. I immediately started imagining having sex with him just because I wondered if it was possible to convince a man with a handlebar mustache to have sex with me.
Then he started talking and I realized he was as gay as a trout in a stream and that my imagination is forced to draw the line at having relations with gentlemen who flick their wrists in an airy fashion, even if they do have gorgeous handlebar mustaches.