Enchanted Rock State Park

We’ve always wanted to hike Enchanted Rock and today was the day to do it. You don’t want to attempt this on a hot day, unless you’re up really early.  But today was nice and cool.  Enchanted Rock is a massive pink granite dome rising above Central Texas.  Since there is no RV camping and since it’s close to our home, we did this as day hike – no camping.

It’s a .6 mi hike with an elevation gain of 425 ft.  Basically, you just head out from the trail head, cross a small creek and then walk straight up to the summit.  There are no switchbacks.   If fact, about half way up there is no trail.  If you look real hard you can see people standing on the summit.

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From the trail head

Here’s a closer shot.

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The summit

Since schools are on winter break it was pretty crowded.  On the one hand I hate crowds, but on the other it was good to see families with kids doing something outside together.   Once you’re on the top, the views are like being in an airplane.  You can walk completely around and see the Texas Hill Country.

 

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Just over the summit is a cave you can go through.

The cave entrance
The cave entrance

It’s not a true cave but rather a jumbled pile of giant rocks you can weave your way through.

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Inside the cave looking up

Mary Lou  received a set of trekking poles from her thoughtful husband and she tried them out today, along with the aforementioned new hiking boots.  The trekking poles were a success. I’m considering getting a pair myself.

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Mike and Mary Lou

That’s all for this post.  We have an actual camping trip scheduled soon, so stay tuned.

Happy New Year and as always we appreciate your replies and comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inks Lake State Park-Day 3-Hiking

Mary Lou upgraded her hiking boots so we wanted to take a little break-in hike.   The south trails at the park were closed for hunting so we walked from the campsite to the Devils Waterhole trail head.

New Boots
New Boots

It’s a short walk to Devils Waterhole and when you get there the view’s not as nice as it was from the water.  In warmer times,  the brave jump off the rocks into the deep pool.   We continued on the trail and there is a small loop trail into Valley Springs.  It has a little elevation gain and follows the creek.  There’s another small waterfall.

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We had it all to ourselves with the exception of these two black vultures.

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As the trail begins to loop back it leaves the canyon and meanders through the forest.  It gets a little too close to the park road at a few points.  It was a nice hike and the new boots worked well.  Back at the campsite we had some lunch, then Mary Lou decided to put the finishing touches on a painting she’s been working on.

Longhorn about done
Longhorn about done

As the evening approached it got very gray and we knew rain was coming, but it held off until after we had a nice dinner and campfire.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This blue heron paid us a visit before heading off into the mist.  

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That’s all for this trip.  Stay tuned as we have trips planned for January and maybe something after Christmas.

Happy Holidays to all.

 

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As always, I encourage your replies.

Inks Lake State Park – Day 2 – Kayaking

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe love to be on the water and use our kayaks whenever we can.  We have hard shell Native Kayak Manta Rays (see them on the About Us page) and they’re great, but they’re a pain to transport.  We have a small cargo trailer that we’ve been using, but we can’t pull it while we RV. So, after extensive research we acquired a Advanced Elements Convertible DS Series Inflatable Kayak.  It comes in a bag that weighs 56 lbs.   Today we test it out.

The first step is inflating it.  It came with a high-efficiency pump that only takes a few pumps to inflate any section.  The DS version comes with the rigid floor, but this was the source of our only glitch.  The pump includes a set of nozzles that fit the various inflation ports, but there was none that fit the floor.   After trying every nozzle in the set multiple times without success, I grabbed my cell phone and called the manufacturer.   In short order we found out that  the nozzle needed for the optional rigid floor was in one of the seat back pockets.  With that issue resolved, we were ready to go.  I suspect that next time we could inflate the kayak in 15 mins.

Just about ready
Just about ready

I handles in the water really well.  It has a small fin on the bottom and tracks really straight.  So much so that paddling on one side doesn’t turn it nearly as much as our other kayaks.  It took a little paddle dragging on one side to make it turn.  Chloe had no issue riding on the bow as is her custom.

 

Chloe on watch
Chloe on watch

We paddled from our campsite upriver to The Devils Waterhole.   As the canyon narrows it was beautiful.   There a small waterfall where the creek dumps into the lake.  A highly successful first paddle.  Here’s a better shot of the kayak fully inflated

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After lunch we took a second trip downriver towards the dam.  It was quite pleasant.  We got a good view of our campsite from the water.

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Mary Lou coming in
Mary Lou coming in

Rain was predicted for Wednesday so we carried it back to the camp.  My research had found some had issues putting it back in the bag, but we just folded it in half the long way, then folded it into fifths – like the instructions said.  We briefly struggled zipping the bag until Mary Lou laid it on its side and suggested I sit on it.  Problem solved!

Another cozy campfire ended the day.

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Inks Lake State Park – Day 1

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Welcome to our blog!  This is our first trip in our new RV and our first blog post.  We’re going to do some camping for the next year or two to confirm our dream of full-time RV’ing when I retire. During this time we’ll share our adventures with you and ask your advice. See more on the About Us and Our Rig pages.

We chose Inks Lake State Park for our shakedown trip in our new trailer because it’s close to our current home near Austin.   We had hoped to camp there during the Thanksgiving break but we couldn’t get in.   But midweek in Dec there were over 200 open spots.  We had a nice waterfront campsite (#279).   We were the only ones on the water for 300 yards in either direction.    We were near the fishing pier, which might have been noisy at other times of the year, but not now.   If you look real hard you can see our trailer on the other side of the trees, right in the center.

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North Fishing Pier

Here’s a better shot of our camp during happy hour.

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Mary Lou and Chloe
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Mike wetting a line

I tried my luck on the fishing pier with no success.  I saw others repeat this during our stay.  Not a fish was landed.  There were a few bass boats on the lake, maybe they had better luck.  I bought some firewood from the camp host.  It was $5 for 5 piece bundle.  That’s seems pricey, and it is,  but the good news was that they were big pieces of oak and after some splitting, there was a nice pile.  The bad news was some of it was too thick and hard for me to split with my camp ax and it was a little green.   But, not one to accept defeat,  I got some of it split and we had a nice campfire – the first of many, I hope.  At dusk we watched this blue heron take flight from pier.

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We had a light dinner and played some cards, Mary Lou is obsessed with cards, and called it a night.  Tomorrow is supposed to be the best day weather-wise and we plan to make the maiden run in our new infallible kayak.

We encourage your replies.