Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Break

The week before last Benjamin was out of school for his Spring Break.  He spent the majority of his vacation at school with me taking classes in political science and exercise physiology.  He actually had a great time, and all my professors were crazy about him (but why shouldn't they be, he's pretty amazing).  When we weren't at school I took the kids to the creek down the street and we had our first experience crawfishing.  

My much needed, well deserved spring break was this past week.  We held Ben and Cloudy from school and took a little last minute camp-cation to a couple Texas State Parks.  

First stop was Pedernales Falls.  It happened to be a side trip because we were unable to obtain reservations for as long of a stay as we wanted at Inks Lake.  So reluctantly we traveled south an hour farther to visit the falls.  The state park was beautiful.  Hill Country in Texas is pretty spectacular, when you add in Spring weather there's not much to complain about.  There were deer in the site next to us. I don't think they had reservations, they were just grazing through.  Ben was able to track them to their bedding grounds and walked within 10 feet of them, before I pleaded with him to back away. 
The falls themselves are off limits to water activities of any kind, they are fun to look at, and hike around but we had the most fun at the swimming area.  There were rocks to climb, water to swim, tree swings, picnics, and I'm even convinced I found a broken arrowhead.  
On our way out of the park, Ben's deer friends wanted to say goodbye and they ran us down at the exit.  Literally, ran right at us.  The speed limit in the park is only 15, but when you are towing a camper you can't exactly stop quick.  I was pretty sure there was going to be deer face slobber all over the passenger windows.  Luckily, the first lady went around and we waited patiently for the other three to decide, second guess, say their goodbyes, and commit to crossing the road in front of us.  

Tuesday we drove up to Inks Lake (the park ranger at Pedernales Falls called it Stinks Lake and I think he implanted a seed in my conscious).  The place was absolutely packed, and we lucked out to have a site directly across from the water.  I was completely bummed by the lack of privacy at the campsite we have become accustomed to at Ray Roberts.  My attitude changed every minute we stayed up to the time we left when I no longer wanted to leave.  We hiked and people admired our dog.  We unicycled and people admired our skill (it really isn't skill, you just "don't see that every day").  We paddled and everyone commented on the shark canoe.  We made a lot of people smile this past week, this is for sure.  One of the main attractions of Inks Lake is Devils Water Hole, which happened to be a short paddle from our campsite.  
The lake is clean, clear water that is still a bit cool this time of year. It didn't stop us!  By the end of our visit Pete had jumped half a dozen times from the top of the cliff into the lake.  Ben jumped once from the top and several from the mom-approved, and mom-willing-to-jump spot, which was half way up.  Cloudy jumped from the you-guys-are-crazy-I'm-still-having-fun spot (about 3 feet out of the water).  
At the end of this cove is a spillway where Spring Valley creek feeds into the lake.  We parked our vessels and hiked half a mile down the creek to find a great waterfall.   

It was apparent this was no secret place, and a favorite of the locals.  The scenery was worth the hike to take the trip a second time the next day.  

While at Inks Lake we also perfected our campfire popcorn packets.  We sacrificed a few to the fire in our attempts, but the end experience of the perfectly popped popcorn was pretty incredible.

We had heard the fish were moving and it was a good time to pretend to be anglers.  In the morning we paddled across the cove and before we know it Ben hooked a striped bass.  A few minutes later Cloudy landed the biggest fish any of us had ever caught - an 18" catfish.  This is going to be your classic fish story because, unfortunately, I did not have a camera on me to document the catch.  Trust me it was huge.  A few more catch and releases and we called it the most successful fishing trip we ever had.

Pete left a can of unshelled peanuts on the picnic table where a very determined little squirrel replenished his food pantry for the year in one hour.


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