Last week I wrote that a camping we would go. Well we did, and survived to tell the tale. Just barely.
Our destination was Inks Lake State Park outside of Burnet, TX. It is about a 90 minute drive from Austin and gets you into the northern part of the Hill Country. The lake is formed by Inks Lake Dam on the Colorado River at an elevation of about 900 feet. It isn’t exactly back country. The campground boasts such features as showers (with free hot water), Wi-Fi, a store, cabins with AC, and a golf course. The lake is rather nice and virtually everyone was either swimming, boating or fishing.
When we got there we were bummed to find out that a burn ban was in effect. This wasn’t the impression that we got from the website which chose to showcase this:
Instead of the big warning at the top of the page that was so prominent on some of the pages of other campgrounds. We dropped those from consideration because after all, what is a camping trip (especially to little kids) if you couldn’t roast marshmallows over a fire? As it turned out, we weren’t even allowed to use charcoal in the grill provided at our site. So after setting up tent we headed into Marble Falls (about 35 minutes away) to the only store selling camping gear, WalMart, so we could buy a propane stove. Raw chicken just isn’t really our thing.
I was surprised when I made our camping reservation to find that only 5 spots were available. Granted it was less than a week out, but I wrongfully figured that normal people would not choose to camp in 100+ degree weather. I had forgotten that these are not normal people. These are Texans. We didn’t get a lakeside campsite, which would have been really nice, but we did get a nice spot in the less crowded area of the campground near the hiking trails. Spot 320 did just fine for us.
The kids really liked the tent. Amazing how much smaller it seems crammed with books, stuffed animals and sleeping bags. Wesley was actually a big help both with the setup and take down. He helped with poles, stakes and unpacking.
We did normal campground things. Checked out one of the fishing piers:
Went swimming, but ended up at the playground first:
And finally went swimming:
We didn’t swim long though. Because in rolled a thunderstorm. The lighting was starting to make us a little uneasy. So we packed up and headed back to the camp. This is our second camping trip in Texas and our second thunderstorm.
As it turns out the storm mostly missed us. There was some really nice lighting and it sprinkled, Washington-like, most of the night. But we never did get the torrential downpour we were expecting. As usual the kids were not pro-sleep. They were having a crazy hard time getting to sleep. So I took the kids, one at a time on long walks around the campground starting at about 9:30p. These walks had two objectives: 1) get the kids apart, so the kid left behind could fall asleep. 2) wear out the walking kid so they would fall asleep when they got back to the tent. The walks were a bust. Wesley finally fell asleep sometime after 10:30p. Jillian was more or less awake all night. By 2:00am I was walking her around again because she was crying and yelling “Go Home” over and over again. We ended up in the car. She fell asleep from about 5:30 until 8a. Not the best nights sleep any of us has had.
And of course what story about Texas would be complete without fire ants? Not this one. It turns out they decided to move into the tent as well. Crawling through the small hole where the zippers touch. They moved into a mesh pocket on the side of the tent. Nothing in there but a small stuffed animal. There were maybe a hundred or so. That was my end of the tent. Luckily for me Jillian insisted we sleep in the car, so I only ended up with a few bites. Amber said that by morning when she cleaned the tent they were all over my pillow.
Jillian spent most of the morning in the car. She just wanted to go home. I’ll admit so did I. We’ll go camping again, but I think longer might be better in some ways. It would give us a chance to get used to the tent and maybe relax a bit more (or at least get a nap in). The ride home was smooth. The kids mostly slept and so did Redmond (who also managed not to hurl all over the place, which was awesome).