Camp Meisenbach at Clements Scout Ranch, Athens
Our Cub Scout Pack camped this past weekend at Camp Meisenbach, and although the campout was cut short because of thunderstorms and flooding, I still managed to get some Mommy Tips for scouts looking for a weekend camping site. We also took a couple opportunities to “sneak-off” and explore a little more of the Clements Scout Ranch and Trevor-Rees Jones Scout Camp! So while it’s not as complete of a review as I would like, it’s still should give you some ideas of ways to make the most of your weekend at this beautiful camp in the Piney Woods of East Texas!
1. Know Before You Go
The Clements Scout Ranch is HUGE, over 3500 acres, and it’s filled with many, many beautiful creature God created, and armed with unique defenses. Close-toed shoes are a necessity here. Rubber boots seemed to work well for the boys.
Athough the weekend camping sites are primitive, they do have running water and latrines with showers. Be sure to bring soap and toilet paper.
We camped at the Eagles Nest. The area is extremely natural, very wooded with plenty of undergrowth. The large trees offer ample shade during warmer weather. Weeks of unusual rain amounts had left a few soggy areas and a nice supply of young cricket frogs for the boys to observe!
There was a small, covered pavillion with a concrete floor, maybe large enough for a table. Latrines were located in the campsite, and Eagles Nest was a close walk to the parking lot. Cars are allowed in the campsite to unload/load, but cannot be left in the camp.
As at most Scout Camps, there are not leveled tents sites. The ground is typical East Texas soft, sandy loam, with little rocks; the remains of vegetation stems poked a hole in the tarp I had under my tent, and I did worry for my tent floor. Take a few extra minutes to flatten all vegetation at your tent site, or even use 2 tarps before setting up your tent.
Things to Bring:
There is not a designated fire ring at the campsite, and all fires must be in a camp ring. Bring one from home, along with firewood.
East Texas is known for their mosquitos, so bring your favorite repellent or essential oils.
My Boy Scout often has “stick wars” when on campouts, so I purchased several pool noodles for the Cub Scouts to use in noodle wars, and maybe leave the sticks alone. Sure enough, no sooner than I packed up the noodles did they start with the sticks!
Worried about charging your phone during the day? Academy and other sporting good retailers sell solar powered battery chargers for about $50.
During our only night there, we took a group walk to the open parking lot, turned off all lights and watched with amazement at all the stars visible in the sky that we can’t see in DFW.
I love the FREE app Night Sky, which shows you all the stars and planets in the sky above you, and you can zoom in and out to locate certain ones. We were able to locate Saturn and Jupiter, as well as Ursa Major and it was interesting to find Neptune on the other side of the Earth, simply by pointing my phone to the ground! Technology is powerful (and we all know what Spiderman’s uncle said about power)!
Want to plan your campout around a meteor shower and have a shower party? Click HERE to visit Earthsky.com and see their annual meteor calendar, along with tips for best times, etc. to see the showers.
4. Hiking Trail
There was a hiking trail just across from the parking area, but we did not have time to take a hike.
Boys can fish along the 160 acre Murchison Lake. Bring your own tackle. There are a couple of fishing piers, but the lake was too flooded for us to be able to reach them. Adults are required to have a fishing license.
We chose instead to drive into Athens to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center and take the boys fishing in their stocked lakes. The kids had a blast, and there are plenty of other activities at the Center to make a terrific day trip from Camp Meisenbach!
More at Clements Scout Ranch
Trevor-Rees Jones Scout Camp also offers weekend camping, as well as summer and winter camps. We drove around to the Museum of Natural History but it was closed. We then headed out to the Camp Headquarters, stopping to see all the water activities on the lake, including a slide, a huge water pillow, a floating deck out in the lake with a high dive, kayaks, canoes and paddleboards! We were racing to beat the incoming storm, but their website list many more activities…
“The programs include a swimming pool, horseback riding, 60 ft. John Coffman Climbing Tower, the Roy & Frances Rea COPE Center, and many more traditional program areas. Trevor Rees-Jones Scout Camp is also home to a first class Museum of Natural History. A variety of wildlife trails, great fishing on all four lakes, rowboats, canoes, rifle, shotgun and archery ranges are available.
Clements Scout Ranch/Trevor Rees-Jones Scout Camp and Camp Meisenbach
11217 FM 2970
Click HERE to visit their website.