Jim Hogg Park, Georgetown

On Friday June 15 about noon we realized we had no plans for the weekend. Let’s go camping! But, can we find a spot close to Austin and get a reservation starting today? We tried Texas State Parks, but they don’t allow same day reservations, at least not on their website. Jackie, who we met at Garner State Park Garner State Park – Day 2 Hiking, had suggested  Jim Hogg Park on Lake Georgetown. It’s a Corp of Engineers Park and only 30 miles away and they do take reservations on their website for the same day. So Jim Hogg Park it was. With my Sr. National Parks Pass it was only $39 for 3 nights.

For the first 6 months of using our RV we retrieved it from the storage lot and backed into the driveway at home for loading and the reverse for unloading. Not an easy task since our street is narrow and there’s little room to swing the Jeep to be in front of the trailer when its time to stop turning due to neighbors trees and mailboxes. But on our last trip (Goose Island State Park) we just dumped it at the storage lot and unloaded it there into the Jeep. This seemed easier so this time we put all the food and supplies into the Jeep, drove over to the storage yard and Mary Lou stowed it away while I hitched up. The refrigerator gets cold pretty fast. This is a lot faster and less hassle than backing it into our driveway.

We arrived at Jim Hogg Park around 3:00. We had campsite #9 on the lower loop. COE campgrounds are reserved by site number, but there were no waterfronts or water views left.  We felt lucky we got in at all.   But #9 was a nice spot with a big oak tree for shade, lots of green grass and a covered picnic table.

Oak tree

At the time we arrived most of the campsites were empty, but they filled up over the next 4 hours.  We sat there under the shade of the oak tree with a cold beverage and watched the RV show.

Campsite 9

Campsite 9

We liked the 2 story pontoon.

Jim Hogg Park-17-2
Pontoon with slide

After we were settled we took Chloe for a walk and checked out what the rest of the loop looked like.

Jim Hogg Park-9
Campsites we might have had with just a little planning

It was a little breezy where the loop was exposed to the lake, but nice. You can see the dam in the photo above.

Jim Hogg Park-12
Every campsite has a covered table

Jim Hogg Park-14

 

 

 

We also explored the fishing piers. As you can see below, the lake, like all lakes in Central Texas, has risen recently. This dock needs a little adjusting.

Jim Hogg Park-53
Contemplating the high water

Our usual routine on these weekend trips is to do a hike one day and some paddling the other.  There aren’t a lot of trails at this park, just one that goes all the way around the lake – 26 miles!  We decided we’d just do a mile or two and then turn around.  And so we did.

Jim Hogg Park-26-2
Good Water Loop Trail

We picked it up near the entrance station for the park and hiked counterclockwise.  The trail starts out wide and flat but quickly becomes dark, narrow and rocky and it weaves through the cedar forest.  There are no real elevation changes, just gentle ups and downs. For most of the section we hiked you don’t get a very good view of the lake, but we found this spot and it became our resting and turnaround spot. All of the submerged vegetation was on dry land a month ago.

Jim Hogg Park-30-2

Jim Hogg Park-34
Taking a break

Jim Hogg Park-46

 

 

 

I spotted something red in the woods and it turned out be an old lantern.

 

 

 

 

Here’s some flora from the trail.

Jim Hogg Park-60

 

Jim Hogg Park-50
Juniper berries

It was an okay hike but would never make it into anyone’s top ten. On Sunday we planned to inflate the kayak and do a little paddling but we woke up to rain. The rain cleared but it stayed breezy and we kept deferring to later in hopes that the wind would subside. As it turned out we never did any kayaking, not that we couldn’t have if we were serious about it.

As we’ve come to discover, these parks close to the city empty out at noon on Sunday. We still had one more night, so, like we did at Goose Island, we moved to a waterfront site, #56. Sometimes we also dump our tiny 30 gallon grey water tank as part of the move, but it wasn’t necessary this time. We chose a site not out on the windy point, but on a bay. It was nice. But it looked like we were about to get some more rain. And we did.

Jim Hogg Park-65
Campsite #56 and rain a comin’

That shower did roll over us but it only rained for a short time.  We had invited our son, Joe, to drive up for a dinner visit and I put the chops on the barbie.

Jim Hogg Park-78

While we were hanging around the campsite, a wedge of many hundreds of white pelicans flew over.  By the time I grabbed my camera it was too late for a high res photo, but Mary Lou captured them on her iPhone. It was very impressive. One of the biggest flocks of birds we’ve ever seen.  This photos shows just the beginning.  They just kept coming.

Pelicans
White pelicans

After they passed over they made a left turn and began gliding to land. I thought they might come back around and land in the bay, but they must have set down on the main lake as we didn’t see them again.

Jim Hogg Park-72

Joe’s a fishing fool and wasted little time in wetting a line. He didn’t have any luck here.  But here’s some of his work from Lake Austin recently.

Joe Fish

But we took time to catch up and had a fine meal.

Jim Hogg Park-81

That’s it for this adventure.  I’m off to San Francisco for a business meeting and will meet Mary Lou at the Seattle airport thereafter for our next adventure. Stay turned for the details. As always, I refuse to live an uninteresting life….