For those who don’t know, we offer four Go Play Days (paid workdays) a year for all employees to get outside and learn more about our products through personal experience. Of course, it doesn’t take much pushing to get ACK-ers outside.

Here’s a blog by ACK Customer Relations Manager, Morgan Jennings on a recent camping trip out at Hill Country State Natural Area.

A few ACK employees packed up this weekend to go camping at Hill Country State Natural Area in beautiful of Bandera, TX, which is about 50 miles northwest of San Antonio. Hill Country SNA has primitive and equestrian camping areas and over 40 miles of trails that we planned to run/bike.

We headed out on Friday afternoon, but we didn’t leave as early as intended, so we ended up just grabbing food on the way to the park and had to set up camp in the dark. Luckily, I had my Petzl Headlamp to help light up everything in front of me. Plus, my Big Agnes Tumbler Tent is extremely easy to set up. After we set up camp, we gathered wood to get a roaring fire going and we busted out our IceMule Cooler full of beer, which we enjoyed until the fire died down.

The next morning, we woke up and started cooking breakfast. One of our customer service managers, Jacob, came more than prepared to cook at a camp site. He brought this super light, gasless, stainless steel camping stove that we used for cooking. All it took was a few embers from the fire and some dry wood chips and that stove was hot enough to cook on in just a few minutes. Once we each got a few breakfast tacos and cups of coffee down, we were ready to hit the trails.

Tip: Don’t forget to check your gear before hand! Jacob forgot to bring his tent poles, so he set up camp in his Subaru Forester. 

Our friend, Brandon, and I had our bikes, but Jacob is actually running a trail runner, so he decided to run to get a feel for the trails. On the trails, we met some friendly people on horses, saw some amazing landscapes and scenery and even came across an old ranch area. We ended up covering a little over 12 miles of trails.

Our trail day concluded with us making ground beef tacos with a side of boudin and bacon. We ended up getting rained on a little that night, so unfortunately, we didn’t get to enjoy a second night by the fire. It did make for a very peaceful sleep in my tent though.

I had never heard of Hill Country State Natural Area before this weekend, but after this trip, I’m convinced it’s one of the prettiest areas in the state of Texas. Even with the weather being cloudy and rainy, that didn’t deter us from seeing some amazing views of the rolling Texas hills. I will definitely be back to explore this park more and I would highly recommend it to anyone that likes to camp and hike.