Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hords Creek Lake

Donna and I spent the last 9 nights/10 days at 3 parks in our trailer.

Our first stop was at Hords Creek Lake near Coleman, Texas. The dam on Hords Creek was constructed by the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1947-48 to control flooding and provide water to the area. Today, the lake provides not only water and flood control, but also recreational opportunities.

Camping -- including full hookups -- is available in two parks: Lakeside Park, located on the north shore of the lake, and Flat Rock Park, located on the south side. During our stay, Flat Rock Park was still closed for the winter season. Reservations can be made at http://www.recreation.gov/. Normal rates for full hookups are $22 at this time; with our National Parks Lifetime Pass, we paid only $11 per night. Full hookup sites are somewhat limited, and are intermixed with other sites. Most sites have a picnic table and fire ring. Restrooms with showers are located throughout the park. Camping information is available at http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/hords/Recreation/Camping/Devareas.asp. In addition to campsites, various shelters are available throughout the park.

Main body of the lake, with dam clearly visible.

Day use park next to south end of dam. The dark area in center of picture between water and picnic tables is a patch of bluebonnets.
We arrived on Thursday, April 2. The day was warm. We had secured the last available full hookup site in Lakeside Park -- number 32 -- and it was a bit tight (see map). It took me several tries to get the trailer located in the site. After setting up, we jumped in the truck and rode through the park to become familiar with it. As with all lakes in West Texas, Hords Creek Lake is down. Still, the park is quite popular.

Our campsite, number 32. It was a challenge to work my way between the trees, but we loved having all the trees around.
Camping areas just to the west of our campsite.
The day of our arrival was nice and warm, and we were able to sit out under the oak trees at our site and enjoy the setting. Coming from treeless San Angelo, we were surprised at the number of trees in the park. The tree line actually starts in this area. We had stayed here once before, but that was over 20 years ago, and I had forgotten just had many trees were in the area.

The temperatures dropped the first night. Regardless, we took a walk early Friday morning. There are no hiking trails in the park, so we stayed on the roads and walked to the extreme west end of the park. Along the way, we saw numerous wild pigs foraging near the shore line.

Some of the wild pigs we saw scampering about the park.

This is the boat ramp at the extreme west end of the lake. That "ditch" is actually Hords Creek. Yep, the place has seen wetter times.
 
Although too cool for Donna to fish during our stay, she checked out this pier for future angling opportunities.

Later that day, the weekend warriors began arriving. By night fall, all full hookup sites were occupied except for the spot next to us, but very few other sites were occupied. Lots of folks met friends and families in the park, and they grouped together in nearby camp sites. The temperature that night dropped to the low 40s and did not get very warm on either Saturday or Sunday. We received quite a bit of rain on Sunday. So, we spent most of our time at the park huddled in our trailer. We picked up a handful of TV stations out of Abilene, so we were able to entertain ourselves. There was no WiFi signal that I detected.

Some of the many group facilities available to park guests.
 
Some of the many shelters available at the park.
On Saturday, looking for something to do, we ventured into Coleman, the nearest town, to see what was available there. In addition to a local grocery, there are a couple of dollar stores and a sprinkling of fast food eateries as well as a few local cafes. Most businesses of interest to travelers like us are located on Highway 206 south.

The lake, taken from the road at western end of park. Dam is low flat structure in center. Our campground is on the left.
We ended up spending a total of 4 nights in our trailer, mostly in cool and wet weather. It was a good test for our new trailer. The furnace works great, and we are able to heat the trailer quickly and efficiently with a space heater. I especially enjoyed sleeping our last night to the sounds of rain falling on the trailer.

Nice playground for the kids.
On Monday, we arose early as we had a long trip ahead of us. We had secured most of our gear the night before, so we only had a few things to do before hooking up and heading down the road. As I was rolling up the water hose outside, I looked around and found myself surrounded by numerous small groups of deer who were working their way down to the water. On our drive out of the park, we passed through a herd of 15 - 20 deer, and near the entrance we came across another smaller herd of 8 deer. We also saw numerous scissor-tailed flycatchers and cardinals during our stay.

This and other cardinals visited our site during our stay.
One of the many scissor-tailed flycatchers we saw. I love the salmon colored breasts of these graceful birds. They are so much fun to watch swoop and perform acrobatics in the sky.

Hords Creek Lake is only 66 miles from San Angelo, so this is a park we will probably frequent during the next few years.


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