Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Walking at San Angelo State Park

We enjoy hiking at San Angelo State Park. Over the past few years, I've posted numerous entries about hiking the parks 50+ miles of trails. You can see these on my website Living the Good Life in the "Hiking" section. We probably hike at the park once or twice each month, mixing up the trails as best we can to get new experiences.

Sometimes, though, we prefer to walk rather than hike. You might wonder what the difference is. To me, there are several differences between hiking and walking, but in this specific instance the difference largely lies in the surface. When hiking, we stay on natural surface, while when walking we stay on park roads, most of which are paved. Also when walking, we are mainly concerned with fitness, so we walk quickly and without stopping. When hiking, we stop often to "smell the roses" along the trails.

The park is ideal for "road walking." Originally an Army Corps of Engineer park, there are roads all over in various condition. Many of these roads extended into areas that are no longer maintained. As a result, some of these roads are deteriorating. Roads once paved are now breaking apart, with grass growing up in the cracks. Dirt surface roads are now overgrown with grass, weeds, and other plant life.

The two routes we have been taking recently in our walks range from  5.1 miles to 6.3 miles. We've been walking these often in the last few weeks, for we are trying to get in shape for longer hikes. We used to enjoy 10 mile hikes, but lately we just haven't been in shape for that distance. Yeah, we could go that far if we needed to, but we'd be pretty exhausted as the end. For me, my legs and feet wear out, and I think Donna is the same.

For both of these walks, we park at the restrooms next to the playground near the Red Arroyo Campground. The shorter walk is merely a loop that goes southwest to the headquarters, then east along the park road to a lesser used and deteriorating park road that veers northeast. When the crumbling road turns sharply southwest, it then becomes a maintained park road, for it winds briefly through a campground, eventually heading due north. It then turns sharply southwest again, passing through occasional campsites then veering off by the Chaparral Pavilion. From there, we follow another older park road, once again in deteriorating condition, which then intersects with the main park road, taking us southeast to the headquarters and then back to our truck.


This is the 5.1 mile route
The longer route starts from the same location, goes by the park headquarters as in the previous walk, then east along the park road. Instead of turning off as in the previous walk, though, we continue on the park road. Near the O.C. Fisher dam, the road veers suddenly in a north/northeasterly direction. On the left is a colony of prairie dogs that are sometimes scampering about. Most of the dogs in this colony are small, and we rarely see them anymore. There is another colony in the north section of the park with some pretty chubby citizens. We follow the road north along the dam to its very end, then turn around. On the return trip, we veer off on the deteriorating road mentioned in the shorter walk, then come through the campground, eventually back to our truck.

This is the 6.3 mile route
We've had several rains lately, not enough to build our lakes back up at all, but enough to keep things green and wet. Several of the trails are now becoming overgrown, and we prefer not to hike through tall grass, so walking on the roads is a good alternative to this. Also, there are numerous mud holes on the trails during wet weather, and we prefer to avoid those as well.

So for now, we'll continue our walks along the paved park roads, building our legs and endurance for longer hikes on our camping trips.We're lucky to have a state park on the edge of town. It is so much more pleasant to walk there than in town, where traffic and noise make the walks unpleasant. At the park, we can hear the wind and birds and not be bothered by traffic. It's a good way to spend a couple of hours.






Saturday, April 25, 2015

End of an Era

It's the end of an era for Donna and me. Last Sunday, her mother, Thelma May Neel Cromwell, passed away at the age of 92. She enjoyed a good life, and she leaves behind a score of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren as evidence. We attended her funeral in Conroe this past Wednesday and said our goodbyes. Thelma was the last of our parents. My mother died in 1996 and my father passed away in 2008. Donna's father was the first to go, back in 1994. I miss all four of them, but have so many good memories of each of them.

We still have a few family members from our parents' generation still alive. Donna has an uncle by marriage still alive. One of my father's sisters is still alive, and one of my mother's brothers is still alive. For the most part, though, our parents' generation is largely gone. I've always had the greatest respect for my parents' generation. They suffered through the Great Depression, then fought the greatest of all wars.

While attending my mother-in-law's services (visitation and funeral), I could not help noticing that my generation has now assumed the mantel. We all have children, grandchildren, and a few of us even have great-grandchildren. There were a lot of white-haired folks in attendance.

The passage of time takes us from childhood to old age. I like to think that Donna and I are aging gracefully. We are still pretty lively, and we certainly enjoy life. We look forward to what each day brings, and there is so much we still hope to do, so many places we still plan to see. I just want to live as long as I can do so with some quality of life.

Goodbye, Thelma -- we'll all miss you.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hike Report: A Mix of Trails at Lake Brownwood State Park

We were happy to be back in West Texas at Lake Brownwood State Park. This time, we stayed in site #83, which is in the trees. In fact, there was no room to let out our awning, but we didn't need it since the trees provided so much shade. A fire ring was at the edge of the trees, and we sat out one night with a cozy fire.

Site 83 at Lake Brownwood State Park
On our first morning there, we rose early for a hike. There aren't many trails at this park (see trail map), so I pieced together a route of 3 trails connected by paved park roads. Altogether, we probably hiked only 4 to 5 miles.

We began near our campsite in the Council Bluff Camping Loop. Just to the north of the camping area is the short -- .31 mile -- Council Loop Hiking Trail, which basically leads from the camping area to the fishing pier. The first part of the trail, though, provides some nice views of the lake, which appears to have more water than any other time when we've been there. I'll be glad when this long, long drought is over.

One of the views from the Council Bluff Hiking Trail.

Donna at the fishing pier. We camped here about 3 years ago, and the water line was farther out then.
From the fishing pier, we followed the paved park road past the Willow Point Campground and the Fisherman's Lodge to the main park road. From there, we followed the road due east to the Group Rec Hall.

Monument honoring the 36th Army Infantry Division in front of the Group Rec Hall.

At the Group Rec hall, I followed the steps leading towards the roof, where I enjoyed some good views of the surrounding area. You can see the steps to the right of the large window in the picture above.

I kind of felt like I was in a castle going up these steps of the Group Rec Hall.
It's a good view from the crow's nest at the top of the stairs.

After leaving the Group Rec Hall, we picked up the Lakeside Trail (.72 mile) to the northwest of that building. This by far was the most scenic portion of the hike.

Rest areas such as this are all along the Lakeside Trail. The CCC really was an industrious group of men, and they did such good work with native stone.
This is the CCC Grand Stairway, which leads down to the lake. It is quite impressive.

I walked to the bottom of the stairway and took this picture of Donna, who stayed at the top. She's a bit right of center.
Another CCC constructed rest area along the Lakeside Trail.
Unfortunately, the battery on my camera died at this point. Oh well, I guess I'll have to do this trail again to get some pictures.

The trail continued on high ground overlooking the lake. There are numerous ups and downs along this stretch. The trail comes close to several of the cabins at the park, and there are many rest areas near the cabins with fire pits. I'd love to have a fire at night in one of these locations overlooking the lake.

Eventually, the trail levels off and curves west. Keep your eye open and you'll see a wooden sign indicating that the trail goes in the direction you just came from. The sign is intended for folks walking in the opposite direction, but it is your signal to turn sharply left and follow the rock steps down, where you will soon find yourself on another paved road near some shelters. If you miss the sign, you will probably continue walking on what looks like the trail and you'll eventually have to back track.

We then followed the paved road past the screened shelters and up a good hill to the main park road, where we headed west for perhaps a quarter mile. We then found ourselves at the trail head for the Nopales Ridge Trail, which we hiked on our last trip to the park (see "Hike Report: Nopales Ridge Hiking Trail, Lake Brownwood State Park"). This time, though, we only walked about a mile of the 2.89 mile trail. We started in a counter-clockwise direction. When we neared the park headquarters, we exited and returned to our campsite via the park road.

It was an enjoyable hike. The weather was ideal and the views were really good, especially along the Lakeside Trail. All trails were in good shape.





Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On the Road: Huntsville State Park to Lake Brownwood State Park

We got up early Thursday, April 9, for the long drive to Lake Brownwood State Park. We were looking forward to leaving the mosquitoes and humidity of southeast Texas behind for the drier climate we have become accustomed to over the years.

Because of the bad roads and heavy traffic on the trip to Huntsville a few days before (see "On the Road: Hords Creek Lake to Huntsville State Park"), we decided to try an alternate return route. For the first leg of our journey, though, we retraced our previous route up I-45 to Centerville. We stopped briefly at Buc-ee's in Madisonville for drinks and snacks, then continued up I-45. Instead of exiting at Centerville and returning the way we came, though, we continued on I-45 north through Buffalo to the small community of Dew, where we exited and headed west for about 10 miles on Highway 179 to Teague. This area is very familiar to me for I grew up in this county; in fact, I was born in Teague. I was happy with the smooth surface of 179.

Huntsville State Park to Lake Brownwood State Park, a journey of 291 miles.
At Teague, we got on US 84, which we would stay on all the way to Brownwood. This was a great improvement over Texas 7 on our trip down. The surface was smooth and the shoulders were generous. Although we had no passing lanes until we neared Gatesville, it was easy to move onto the shoulder to let cars pass. We stopped briefly on the eastern edge of Mexia at Walmart and did some grocery shopping. I was also able to manuever my rig into the Murphy Gas station at Walmart. At many Walmarts, there just isn't enough room for doing this; I admit it was a bit of a tight fit, but I really had no difficulty, even though a larger truck was taking up some room. In Mexia proper, there is also an H.E.B. with gas pumps that are easy to get into, and the price is the same.

At Waco, I just drove straight through on US 84 rather than take Loop 340 or I-35. 84 is the most direct route, and this directness makes up for the traffic lights I had to endure. I enjoyed 4 lanes all the way from about 10 miles east of Waco -- where Texas 31 merges with US 84 -- until McGregor, about 15 miles west of Waco. From McGregor, the road to Gatesville is easy, with several passing lanes which eventually become 4 lanes a few miles east of Gatesville. There are a couple of nice roadside parks between McGregor and Gatesville, but they are on the south side of the highway, and there are no signs for west bound traffic indicating them until you are right on them. We opted to stop at a nice roadside park on the west side of Gatesville, just a few miles east of Evant.

I've documented the trip from Gatesville to Brownwood in other "On the Road" entries, so I'll not repeat this section of the trip here. This was a much improved route over the one we followed when we were going to Huntsville, so I will probably opt for this route in the future. The surface is good, passing lanes are available in many places, and shoulders are smooth and generous. There are numerous places to stop for gas that have easy access for RVs. I found the level of traffic to be much less than the Texas 7 route.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hike Report: Huntsville State Park

Donna and I hiked Huntsville State Park back in March, 2008. You can see the report for that hike on our website, Living the Good Life. The park has about 20 miles of trails, so on this trip we tried to hike some different trails. The park has an excellent trail map, by the way.

For our hike today, we started from our campsite, #20 in the Raven Hill Camping Area. We walked just a short distance east on the paved park road and then veered left into the woods on the Coloneh Trail, which at this point parallels the park road. After about a quarter mile, the trail comes back out on the park road to cross Big Chinquapin Creek, one of the main feeder creeks for Lake Raven. Across the creek, we ducked into the woods again for a short stretch to the other park road, which we crossed before joining the Dogwood Trail..

The Coloneh Trail near the start of our hike. This is typical of the trails we hiked on this day.

Signage is good on the trails.
Almost like walking through a tunnel.

We turned west on the Dogwood Trail. We passed a junction to the north and continued west, soon crossing a minor park road (see picture above). The trail emerged at a kiosk. Such kiosks are available at numerous places along the trails at Huntsville State Park, and the kiosks are indicated on the trail map. We then turned sharply north, staying on the Dogwood Trail. For a few hundred yards, this stretch of trail followed a power line right of way, then ducked into the woods behind the Prairie Branch Camping Area. Farther on, we ran into the Prairie Branch Loop Trail and followed it north for almost a mile.

Kiosks like these are located in numerous places along the trails. In fact, their locations are indicated on the trail map.
This part of the trail follows a power line right-of-way
Signage indicating where we get on the Chinquapin Trail.
We then turned south on the Chinquapin Trail. At roughly one-half mile, we crossed a spur to the Lone Star Trail. After another half mile, we reached the Nature Center, where we took a short break. After resuming our hike, we crossed the main park road and continued on the Chinquapin Trail. It slowly worked down to Big Chinquapin Creek, which is about one-third mile from the Nature Center. Just before the creek, we crossed an equestrian trail. A long boardwalk crosses the small creek. The surrounding area is quite swampy.

The Nature Center, along the main park road.

Long boardwalk over Big Chinquapin Creek.
It gets pretty swampy in some areas. This is near Big Chinquapin Creek.

Big Chinquapin Creek, looking upstream.
After crossing the creek, the trail began working up slowly, crossing another equestrian trail at about a quarter mile. Only 2 short stretches of equestrian trail are marked on the map, but I would guess there are more trails available.

We continued on the Chinquapin Trail until we neared the Coloneh Camping Area, where we exited the trail and followed the paved road back to our camp.

All of the trails we followed were well marked and well maintained. There is a lot of traffic on these trails, so they are clearly defined. However, since we were hiking during the week, we met only 4 other walkers and only 2 bike riders, but I’m sure the weekends are busy on the trails. There is very little elevation change, but roots are common and require attention. There are patches of sand from time to time, but not enough to be a problem. The mosquitoes were quite aggressive on our hike, and there was little breeze to help keep them away or to keep us cool from the high humidity levels. I would estimate the length of this hike to be under 5 miles.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Touring Huntsville

Donna and I met in Huntsville in 1976 when I was an undergraduate at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). When I graduated a year later, we married and stayed on for another 2 years while I served on a teaching fellowship while pursuing my MA. So Huntsville was our first home, and we enjoyed living there at the time.

We didn't have long to stay in Huntsville this trip, so we narrowed our sites on doing just one or two things. I'd love to go back and walk the campus of SHSU sometime, but that will have to wait. For this trip, we decided on 3 stops, all related in some way to Sam Houston, the man.

Our first stop was the Sam Houston Memorial Museum on the edge of the campus of SHSU. As a student, I visited the museum numerous times, and I spent a great deal of time wandering the grounds around the pond there. It was a nice place to get away from my studies for a while and visit a more natural environment.

Main entrance to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, sometimes called "The Rotunda".
Sam Houston is one of the giants of Texas history, along with Stephen F. Austin, Jim Bowie, and a handful of other memorable figures. His legend spanned at least 2 states and was intertwined with the Cherokee Indians as well as with his own people. He served as governor of both Tennessee and Texas, President of the Republic of Texas, and the U.S. Senator from Texas. I've always been impressed by his vision, both in time of war and in time of peace. For example, when others in the state were rushing to leave the Union and join the Confederacy, Houston urged calm and voted to remain in the Union.

The museum complex sits on a 15 acre tract which once was part of a larger 200 acre homestead that General Sam purchased in 1847. This was his residence for most of the years when he was in the U.S. Senate from 1846-1859. In addition to the museum proper, the complex also contains two of Houston's homes:  the Woodland home (his residence from 1847-1859) and the Steamboat House, where Houston died in 1863. Houston did not own the Steamboat House, but rather rented it after being removed from the Governor's office after refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.

The museum proper displays many items owned by Houston and his family. It is not a large museum, but the museum is only the first stop. Other buildings on the museum grounds include the Bear Bend Hunting Lodge and the Guerrant family cabin. The Bear Bend Hunting Lodge was originally located in Montgomery County near Atkins Creek. Houston would often stay in the cabin and participate in bear hunts. The Guerrant family cabin was built in 1848 about 11 miles north of Huntsville. It was donated to the museum in 2004 and moved to the grounds and rebuilt.

The museum contains numerous items once belonging to Houston and his family, including the crutch he used following the Battle of San Jacinto.
The Steamboat House. General Sam died in the room on the lower floor behind the stairs. His funeral was held in the room at the top of the stairs.
Houston's Woodland Home. Note steps to the right of the dog run. There are 2 small bedrooms upstairs.

One of the bedrooms at the top of the stairs at the Woodland Home.

Replica of the kitchen, which was in a separate building set away from the house.

This log building was on the land when Houston purchased it in 1847. It served as his law office.
The pond near Houston's home. I spent much time here while in college wandering these grounds.


The Guerrant family cabin on the museum grounds.

The Bear Bend Cabin, also on museum grounds.
After the museum, we drove to Oakwood Cemetery, just a few blocks east of downtown, and viewed Houston's grave. To end our tour of Huntsville, we drove south of town and visited the huge statue of Sam Houston along the interstate. The statue, 67 feet tall on a 10 foot base, was dedicated in 1994, long after Donna and I left Huntsville. But we've seen it for years as we've traveled the area visiting family. It was time we stopped and took a closer look.

Houston's grave in Oakwood Cemetery.

Donna posing with General Sam
There are other things to see in Huntsville. One of the most interesting -- and a place I've never visited -- is the Texas Prison Museum on the north side of Huntsville. The Walls Unit, located just a couple of blocks from downtown, is interesting to drive around. And the prison cemetery is worth a visit as well.

But Huntsville is not the same town Donna and I once lived in. It is much busier, much larger, and the university has changed so very much. I enjoyed our visit, but I was glad to come back home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Huntsville State Park


There is plenty to do for the outdoors enthusiast at Huntsville State Park. And people do throng to this park. It is one of the closest state parks to the Houston area, so crowds from that sprawling metropolis descend on this park on weekends and holidays. But Huntsville is also home to Sam Houston State University, so students from there hit the park regularly.

The park offers all kinds of activities: hiking, biking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, and camping. There are all kinds of camping options at the park, from tent camping to shelters to RV sites. There are just over 20 sites with full hookups (30 and 50 amp). We were assigned to this area, called Raven Hill Camping Area (see map), and we set up in site #20. All the sites are pull-through, but all are very unlevel both from side to side and from front to back. Make sure you have the means to level your rig before you venture to this park. This is a very hilly park, so the unlevel sites should not come as a surprise.

I know that the impetus on our state parks is to remain natural, but I was a bit surprised at the lack of maintenance at the sites. Spring rains have been plentiful in the area, it seems, and weeds around the utilities were knee high and thick. These areas, even in parks, should be maintained.

The original party girl, doing a bit of bird watching. Note the high weeds around the utilities at left.
But that doesn't take away from the park. It's really a pretty woodland park. The centerpiece of the park is Lake Raven, a small lake with crappie, perch, catfish, and bass, not to mention a few alligators. There are 2 fishing piers on the lake and 1 boat ramp. The park also has a park store, a nature center, amphitheater, stables, group pavilion, and group hall.

Fishing pier where Donna spent one afternoon.
We enjoyed watching wildlife around our camp. Numerous rabbits and squirrels scurried about, and we saw a number of birds. I only caught a glimpse of 1 deer, though, and that was on a hike. 

Woodpecker near our campsite.
This rabbit was visiting the campsite next to ours.
The mosquitoes were pretty aggressive while we were there, and the humidity was well beyond what we are accustomed to. To be honest, we were happy to leave when our 3 days were up. We've grown accustomed to the dry climate of West Texas, and we really prefer to be there.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

On the Road: Hords Creek Lake to Huntsville State Park

We arose early on Monday, April 6, to go to Huntsville State Park, a trip of 290 miles. That's not much when you are driving a car, but when towing a travel trailer, it is a pretty good trip. The first part of the trip followed the same route as reported in "On the Road: San Angelo, TX, to Mother Neff State Park." It was a pleasant drive. We stopped at the Shell station on the western edge of Gatesville for gas. It is an easy place to maneuver a trailer, and the gas prices there are as good as any other place in Gatesville.

At the cutoff to Mother Neff State Park, Highway 107 narrows down for a stretch of about 5 or so miles with no shoulders. At Moody, the highway improves. In fact, we've followed this route several times in our travels to Conroe, and we've always enjoyed the drive.

The trip today is 290 miles long.
At Eddy, the highway crosses busy Interstate 35 and becomes Texas 7, which we follow until we reach Interstate 45 at Centerville. From Eddy to Marlin, the drive is pleasant, as is the road surface. Once past Marlin, though, traffic picks up considerably and the roadway deteriorates in places. A large number of trucks follow this route for some reason, and not all are trucks related to oil field activity (water, gravel, etc.).

A few miles east of Marlin, we pulled off into a picnic area and made sandwiches for lunch. Unlike with our Rockwood, we are able to leave the table set up in our new trailer, so it was nice to sit at the table and enjoy a leisurely lunch.

At Kosse, there is an Exxon station with various services about 1 block west of the main intersection. It is a good stop for RVers. In fact, right next door is a nice little RV park, Camp Kosse RV Park. The website does not provide much information, but prices seem reasonable enough and some of the sites even are covered. A few miles east of Kosse, there is an open pit mine where coal is being strip mined.

At Centerville, there are numerous places to eat and stop for gas. Once on I-45, we made good time. Traffic on this interstate is always heavy, and most drivers assume the posted speed limit of 75 mph is a minimum rather than a maximum speed. Everyone seems to be in such a hurry! At Madisonville, there is a Buc-ee's at the southeast corner of the I-45/Texas 21 intersection. We like Buc-ee's: there is plenty of parking space for RVs, plenty of room to get to gas pumps, restrooms are clean, and they have a good drink selection. On down the road, a few miles north of Huntsville, there is a rest area with restrooms and plenty of parking for RVs.

Just south of Huntsville, we exit at Park Road 40 just past the enormous statue of Sam Houston. Huntsville State Park will be our home for the next 3 nights.

I did not like pulling the trailer on Texas 7 on this trip because of the heavy traffic as well as the poor road conditions. There were numerous potholes on the roadway. On our return trip, I'll take another route. And although this has nothing to do with the roadway, the wind blew hard from the south most of the day. Since we spent most of the day heading due east, the wind was hitting us broadside, and that just isn't a pleasant experience on bad roads. But you have to expect these things when you pull a trailer -- take the bad with the good.


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.