Category Archives: Uncategorized

HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY 24INTX!

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This week I’m celebrating one year of 24inTX!

I’ve been on 27 24-hour trips across the state.  I’ve hiked, camped, swam, paddled, danced, photographed, shopped, eaten, driven and adventured my way through the state and I’m no where near finished yet.  Texas has so much to see!

The question I get asked the most is, “Which place is your favorite so far?”

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RECAP & A SHORT BREAK

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Well, I didn’t want to, but I’m going to have to take a break from 24inTX for the month of March.

In the next 3-4 weeks, I’ll be covering three major sports tournaments, the SXSW festival and I’ll be out of town for a few days for family reasons.  Unfortunately, that schedule doesn’t leave much time for my own adventures.  Happily, though, I’ll be working on someone else’s dime!

I’ll be back to traveling this amazing state in April, just in time for wildflowers!

Until then, I’ll leave you with a list of the top 10 things I’ve learned so far from 24inTX:

10)  Doritos make better kindling than newspaper.
9)  Never write off a place by what it looks like from the street.  It will probably surprise you.
8)  I love sleep, but sometimes it’s worth it to watch the sunset, stay up late to watch the stars, then get up early to watch the sunrise. Read more

CEDAR HILL STATE PARK

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I grew up north of Dallas and we’d go on family camping trips all over the state, but we always traveled outside of the metroplex.  I guess that’s why I was surprised to learn that Cedar Hill State Park was only about an hour from where I went to elementary school.

I had to be in Dallas for work on Saturday, so I drove up a day early to enjoy the park.

I packed my camping gear and borrowed a kayak to paddle Joe Pool Lake, then drove north.  When I got to the park, I was even more surprised to find out about a little gem called Penn Farm.

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BUESCHER STATE PARK

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It’s that special time of year between Thanksgiving and Christmas when the To Do lists pile up with gift shopping, meal preparing, house cleaning, party planning, seeing family and friends, traveling, eating and generally stressing.

When I go “home” for the holidays, I exhaust myself trying to see as many people and do as many things as I possibly can.  That was the case during the Thanksgiving holiday and I came back feeling completely overwhelmed.

Fortunately central Texas heated up for a few days, just long enough for me to have an escape to Buescher State Park near Smithville, TX.

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PEDERNALES FALLS STATE PARK

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Pedernales Falls State Park is fairly close to home for me, but the short drive doesn’t make it any less spectacular.

The main attraction at the park is, of course, Pedernales Falls.  It’s a massive area in the Pedernales River that’s packed with giant boulders, pools and rushing water, and it’s all accessible to the public.

I’ll tell you more about that in a minute.  First, if you’ve been following this blog, you’ve probably thought, “I wonder how Ashley sets up camp.”  Well you’re in luck!  I have the Readers’ Digest version right here…

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SONORA

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XBar7830If you’re looking for a relaxing get away with all the comforts of home, Sonora‘s the place.

It’s on I-10, just south of Eldorado, and it’s home to X Bar Ranch Nature Retreat and the Caverns of Sonora.

I was tired when I arrived at X Bar Ranch.  Before Sonora, I visited Balmorhea, where I camped, and Marfa, where I slept in a safari tent and bathed outdoors.  I loved doing all of those things, but four days of traveling, living outside (in the rain) and packing in as much activity in as I possibly could made me ready for some peace and quiet.

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BALMORHEA STATE PARK

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It’s a true oasis in the middle of the west Texas desert.

When planning my trip out to west, I had a whole list of places I wanted to go.  Balmorhea wasn’t one of them.

I looked at the map, studying small towns along I-10 on the way to Marfa.  I saw Fort Davis and Fort Stockton and a few others on my wish list, but then I saw Balmorhea State Park.

Hmm…how do you even pronounce that?  I looked it up on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department web site and, much to my surprise, Balmorhea moved up to the top of my list.

It’s a tiny town about an hour north of Marfa in west Texas.  It’s in the middle of the desert, surrounded by mountains, and home to San Solomon Springs and the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool.  (Among other surprises.)

Balmorhea is the perfect place to make a refreshing stop for the night on your way to or from Big Bend Ranch State Park or Big Bend National Park.

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