Back in April, my mom and I went down to Concan, a map dot town on the Frio River, to participate in the Becoming an Outdoor Woman workshop sponsored by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. We had fun! The weekend is a great opportunity for those of you who dive a little deeper into outdoor activities.
Classes on kayaking, fly fishing, cleaning fish, outdoor cooking, archery, game calling, mountain biking, wildlife identification, shooting, horseback riding, nature photography, geology, and heck, even “how to back up a trailer 101” are offered and frankly, they’re all tempting!
The program is held twice a year around the state and this one was held at Neal’s Lodges in Concan.
Concan is beautiful. A picturesque, pristine country landscape dotted with ancient oak trees with a backdrop of green rolling hills. If you haven’t yet been there, you should put it on your Texas bucket list.
Plus, the Frio is The Place To Be in the summer!
Neal’s Lodges is a string of cabins by the river, and were decent accommodations for the weekend. A little rustic, definitely not the Hyatt Hill Country, but a simple, clean place perfect for a laid back weekend by the river. They have a general store, a restaurant, and a bar/picnic table area to hang out in.
We had a cabin all to ourselves, which was fabulous.
At BOW, you get to sign up for four classes. My mother and I of course signed up for outdoor cooking. Duh! Not only do we love the topic but we love a class that involves free samples.
The class was first thing in the morning, and it was cold, so we made hot cowboy coffee and an egg casserole. Just what the doctor ordered.
Later we made beef ribs braised with Shiner, strawberry cobbler, sourdough biscuits in the Dutch oven, and salmon. We felt really sorry for the people in other classes.
Poor souls…..they were missing out.
Later we tried our hand at archery, which was a ton of fun. The last time I tried archery was at summer camp ages ago and I’m pretty sure my bow was not this fancy.
I do think the fancier bow resulted in better shooting.
The instructor was great and teaches at every BOW session, so if you sign up you will probably get him. I promised myself I would take up the sport…but am still trying to fit that into my schedule.
Meanwhile, some people were taking the idea of “Becoming an Outdoor Woman” seriously…
Hehehe. We may be outdoors but we are still women!
The last night of BOW was a hoot! A Laser Shot “gun range” (electronic projector with a screen that plays a video game), was set up, and we each got to do some shooting. The highlight was when the Sheriff showed up.
You know, because things were just getting so rowdy.
I think he just wanted to do some shooting with ladies.
For dessert we roasted s’mores, which just rounded out my day of great eating.
But the last session, Game Calling, was by far my favorite. QUACK!
We were given game calls and taught how to summon up everything from owls to turkeys by replicating the sounds of their prey and mates. While this is a technique used in hunting, it doubles as a really fun party trick. Just take my word for it.
Funny story…the morning I returned from BOW, I was practicing my turkey call in my house in the middle of Austin. My husband called me on his way to work and said, “You’re not going to believe what is at the corner of our street!” A wild turkey. Yes ma’am. I’m not sure if he had heard my call or if this was just a coincidence, but I’m going to go with the former.
All in all it was a fun weekend. BOW is a chance to try new things and brush up on old ones.
A Few Tips
Just from my perspective…
- Go with friends. Many people were there in groups and I think it would be a lot less fun alone.
- Take outdoor cooking, it is the best! 9 out of 10 women agree.
- Bring a jacket and a hat. You spend 99% of your time outside.
- Bring a bag to carry your things from class to class.
- If you are on a diet or want to eat healthy, you’ll need to bring your own snacks. While the food was tasty, it wasn’t gourmet.
- Send in your class requests ASAP because they are first come first serve.
- Bring a book. I didn’t expect to have free time but we ended up having plenty in the evening and during breaks, and I wished for some literature.
- Comfortable shoes–you spend a lot of time walking/standing.
If you want to sign up, see Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s webpage below and get on the mailing list. Warning, this fills up in an hour and a half so if you’re serious about it, stay on top of those emails!
- TPWD Becoming an Outdoors Woman website: http://tpwd.texas.gov/education/bow
- Neal’s Lodges: http://nealslodges.com/
Hope you enjoy, ladies!