An update from Amanda, Outdoor Adventures Trip Leader:
On October 13, eight people set out to conquer and explore Matagorda Islands over SMU’s fall break. They came back on October 16, four days later, stronger, wiser, and with an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience of survival against the elements. And if you don’t believe me, we have the pictures to prove it.
The first task was waking up before the sun to meet outside Dedman Rec Center, where a memorable six and a half hour drive down to Port O’Connor awaited. A mixture of sleeping, introductions, and learning about one another defined the ride down as the group began to bond quickly. Talk of different majors from Advertising and Marketing to Engineering led to advice for the future from all different age aspects, including both undergraduate and graduate students. Finally arriving in Port O’Connor, we stopped to pick up our Island permits in Walmart and even some ingredients for S’mores! The first night was spent learning how to light and cook using small backpacking stoves, putting up tents and most importantly good “tentiquette.” After a beautiful night in the campgrounds, the group couldn’t wait to actually get out to Matagorda.
Getting up early the next morning, we set out to conquer the waters next to the Gulf of Mexico. After getting down to the water, we loaded up our kayaks and launched from a lovely fishing center to brave our five-mile paddle. We laughed and talked at the beginning of the paddle, and enjoyed the company of five bottle-nosed dolphins!! After playing a few rousing rounds of musical kayaks, we reached our halfway point of an old abandoned Coast Guard tower that we got to explore! What a thrill, but the group buckled down and set out to reach our final destination, Sunday Beach. Finally pulling onto shore, everyone setup camp and began cooking their scrumptious pasta meals, yum! After, everyone turned in for a good night’s rest in preparation for our day hike down the beach to explore more of Matagorda Island.
Waking up somewhat leisurely, we had a lovely oatmeal breakfast, packed up our bags and set off down the beach. After a nice two-mile march down the beach looking out across the Gulf of Mexico, we stopped and sat down to have a Pizza Bagel lunch. We continued constantly reapplying our sunscreen and drinking loads of water on the journey back to camp. Once back at camp, the rest of the day was everyone’s to do with as they wished. Whether it was another small hike around the beach, taking a nap in the sunshine, playing in the waves of the Gulf of Mexico, or even a quick paddle around the bay. After our few hours flew by, we sat down, made our last night’s dinner and prepared for the paddle back.
Up and ready to get on the water early the next morning, we completely broke down camp and finished tying down the kayaks with the remaining gear. We shoved off just in time to catch the last bit of sunrise, and even enjoyed the company of our dolphin friends. We hit the halfway point in no time, everyone beaming from ear to ear including myself as our group had made amazing progress! We chatted, laughed, and even sang on the remaining paddle back to Port O’Connor. Waving one last goodbye to our dolphin friends, we pushed up at the docks, changed into more comfortable clothes, and loaded everything back into the van, tying down the kayaks nice and tight for the drive home. Then we popped in a few movies and drove home in what seemed like no time. After arriving back at wonderful SMU, everyone was sad to say goodbye and agreed on a reunion soon!