Thursday, May 16, 2019

West Texas 2019

I just got back from our annual 8th grade West Texas trip and the only reason this post is happening is because of the ridiculous amount of caffeine I drank yesterday after a few late nights and early mornings :)  I helped chaperone the 8th grade trip to West Texas and had so much fun.

We left school at 4:45 a.m. on Monday and drove about 6 hours to Sonora to tour the cavern.  The tour is always impressive...

... and this year the peacocks were showing off as well  :)

Several things... first, that Texas sky and second, the boys were throwing the football around while we waited for the other groups to finish their tour and the peacocks would NOT leave them alone.  They wanted that football so bad and it was hilarious to watch.

Back on the bus and about 4 hours later we arrived at Prude Ranch.  We had some downtime before dinner and then after and the kids played football, kickball, basketball, swam and explored.  The other chaperones and I got to spend some quality time on the porch of our cabin and the weather was cool PERFECTION.

Tuesday morning we split up into three groups and my group went to the McDonald Observatory.  We went up the mountain and toured the 107" telescope and it is always so much fun to get to watch the kids oooh and aaah over how awesome it is.  The view from the top of the mountain isn't bad either.

After some time in their theater learning about the sun (and getting to view a live feed of it!), the exhibit hall and then the gift shop we headed back to the ranch for lunch and to get ready for our trail ride.

This is always my favorite part of the trip - we get to go up to the top of a ridge and it's often times several students first time on a horse.

Tuesday night we went out to one of the pastures for a "cowboy cookout".  We eat tin foil beef and veggie packs (it's ground beef, potatoes, carrots and seasoning cooked in a tin foil pack over the coals), the kids had an awesome game of kickball in the pasture and then they bring in a cowboy singer to tell the kids some tall tales and sing some traditional cowboy songs.  It's awesome.

After the cookout we headed back to camp and waited for it to get dark and an astronomer from the observatory came out with a big telescope and we had a "star party" where we got to view several stars, constellations and had an amazing viewing of the moon.  Jupiter wasn't up yet and the moon was a little too bright to see the milky way but it was INCREDIBLE.  The skies out there are so dark and the sheer number of stars you can see make it worth the drive. 

A couple of the other chaperones and I had plans to wake up at 4:00 on Wednesday morning to get to see the milky way (once the moon was down) BUT from 3:15 - 4:00 a.m. there were some CRAZY animal noises right outside of our cabin and on our porch along with a TON of dog barking (there are some great ranch dogs) and after hearing the day before that there had been a mountain lion sited on camp grounds (eating a deer it had killed) we opted out of the early morning viewing.  When we woke up this big girl was sitting right outside our door...

... she had been protecting our cabin from whatever had been out there and didn't leave until the sun was up.  SO AWESOME!  We got our cabins packed up, loaded and did a quick breakfast and then hit the road for Monahans Sandhills State Park.  It was about a 2 hour drive and when we got there we rented sleds and spent a few hours sledding down the dunes.  We actually sledded down the opposite side and everyone had a blast.  We loaded up our 60 sandy students and hit the road for McKinney with an Abilene pit stop for dinner and after about another 8 hours on the bus we were home!  

This is always such a fun trip - Texas is such a beautiful state and it's a neat opportunity to get to experience that with our students.  There are so many students who have never camped, ridden a horse, hiked a mountain, sledded a dune, etc. and how cool is it to be a part of introducing them to that!  Even though we're with these kids several hours a week in a classroom setting - seeing them out of the classroom and them seeing US out of the classroom is such a cool part of the trip.   Middle school is a weird and hard and awesome three years and we love getting to send them off to high school with a bang.

If you've thought about heading to West Texas I highly recommend it!  It's a hike out there but definitely worth it.  

Happy Thursday, friends!!!

PS - If I never hear a high school musical song again it will be too soon :) hahaha


  1. Ahhhh! This brings back such good memories!!!

  2. Replies
    1. I mean.... it was a lot :) We also watched "Teen Beach Movie" which was an experience in itself. hahaha

  3. Looks so fun when you go every year! I definitely want to take the boys out west soon...we have extended family in Marfa and I think that would be fun plus some of the places you mentioned. I hope you can catch up on your sleep this weekend!

  4. That sounds like a really fun trip! Texas really is amazing, & what a good dog!

  5. I was raised in El Paso, which is FAR West Texas, but I haven't lived there since I got married almost 20 years ago...these photos make me homesick! What an awesome way to end middle school for those rising freshmen!

  6. Have you seen La La Lane? That observatory always reminds me of that observatory scene in the movie. Did you happen to dance, or run into Ryan Gossling? I kid, I kid. I always look forward to this post of yours each year, it looks like so much fun!

  7. Mountain lion? That sounded scary!

  8. you were in my neck of the woods:)


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