Inks Lake 2020, one to remember

Camping, cold weather and children, what could go wrong? Our camping trip to end this very memorable year was only about three and half hours away near the Austin area. Inks Lake State Park in Burnett, Texas has by far the nicest camping spots and restroom facilities we have ever seen. We had to reserve our spot two and a half month in advance and we were able to snag a site close to the facilities, that had an amazing view of the lake and climbing trees that the girls believed were placed in our spot just for them.

We arrived to our spot just before sunset. We were able to set up camp and have just enough time to watch the sun go down over the lake. There was an open field by this part of the lake just across from our campsite where the girls would play and explore. Right at sunset birds flocked to the reeds just off shore. We enjoyed the chatter and commotion of the feathered frenzy which reminded us of a book we are reading called “The Girl Who Drank the Moon.” We ate meatball and ham sliders with provolone cheese melted together by our fire. I put Norah to bed early and the girls had s’mores with Daddy. That night got very cold and I was nervous Norah would kick off her covers. I slept very little checking on them and snuggling them close to keep them warm. My poor husband was abandoned with the mattress that ended up having a hole in it. Our last camping trip in March, it was so cold Norah’s hands became swollen. Apparently the baby fat in the hands can freeze and crystalize. I was nervous it would happen again. Everyone was fine, we woke up to the sun shining and a warm fire thanks to Daddy.

We threw breakfast tacos on the fire grate and had a wonderful hot breakfast. Bacon, eggs and cheese for the girls, added avocado and salsa for mom and dad. Norah ate the entire thing! There is just something about camping that spurs the appetite.

We went into town to grab a few supplies and groceries. When we got back the girls set up their hammocks, I made hot chocolate while the girls played and put out a lunch of cucumbers, salami, cheese and boiled eggs. It was a chilly day and the girls took their lunch to the hammocks where the sun kept them warm.

Ryan and the bigs found worms at a store right outside the park. Mia and Madelyn were gifted stuffed animals by a guy that happened to be shopping as well. Norah and I enjoyed a nap while everyone else went fishing. The pier was just a short walk from our camp.

Norah and I joined the rest of the family at the pier after we had a secret snack of Oreos and milk. We drove the van and found the big girls playing on the rocks near the pier. It was such a fun place for them to explore. The water is even lit for night fishing. They didn’t catch anything, it was windy and cold but I know Ryan enjoyed it. We don’t go fishing near enough. The girls are both capable of pinching worms in half with their fingers and baiting them on the hook. Mia has been doing it since she was five. Of course when it’s cold you would rather run around on rocks instead of sitting still waiting for fish.

That night we took showers, made a dinner of meatballs and pasta and got the camp ready for an evening rain storm. That evening was much warmer than the previous. The low was in the mid fifties and the rain storm got pushed back to 3am, which would have coincided with my bathroom break. The girls asked to go to bed early, Ryan and I decided we would make a date night by watching a movie in the van. It was a HOT, steamy date, as in the chamomile tea was piping hot and the jerky we had bought on the road trip was spicy! We watched Uncle Buck and laughed our heads off. John Candy is hilarious but I may have also been delirious from lack of sleep. The rain didn’t start until early morning about 5am, there was a short break around 8am and we were able to get a restroom break and all of our food. We had cereal, fruit and milk for breakfast. We didn’t know if we would be stuck until after lunch so we prepared. The radar showed scattered showers lasting until after noon. It became chillier the more the rained and I was able to get through a few chapters of “The Girl Who Drank the Moon,” before the girls became too restless and the toddler threw her sippy cup on my already hurt ankle. I prayed that it wouldn’t be too muddy outside. We needed to get out, the girls were so patient but they needed to release some energy.

We had pretty much ate the entire time in the tent, we grabbed some water and a few more snacks and headed out to explore. There was a trailhead so close to our site near the restrooms. It took us through cactus and to the highest point of the park. Norah’s favorite thing to do was to splash in the mud puddles. She found several places in the rock that held little pools of water perfect for her to play and splash around in. Mia and Madelyn wanted to collect rocks and were reminded several times that we cannot take anything home. They still picked up rocks and little seashells to inspect.

We headed back after the hike to cook some lunch of sausage, fruit and veggies. We decided to forgo a nap and head out to geocache, Norah fell asleep on the hike. Two hikes in one day! The paths were great and a few places to climb rocks. We took the hike around the lake and found some beautiful spots to sit and snack. The girls climbed a tree and enjoyed the areas to explore… warning. The cactus are everywhere. Thankfully we avoided them except when we ate prickly pear fruit. You can cook the pickers off in the fire and peel them. They tasted sweet at first. I don’t think they were in season. Also they are super messy!

Overall we had a wonderful camping experience and I would definitely recommend this park for campers of any level. They also have RV sites. We even had running water at ours which was such a convenience. Please don’t let the pictures fool you, as soon as we got to camp, Madelyn had to do push-ups for throwing a tantrum. She couldn’t climb a tree and was screaming at her dad for getting her down. Norah is a toddler and as toddlers go, she gets tired, wants to eat all the time and falls quite a bit. Thankfully she didn’t fall into a cactus but she did fall into the fire and the lake. True story. Thank God she was wearing her rain jacket, Norah was unscathed but the jacket had a few melted spots. Daddy was right there trying to grab her hands to rescue her but her wriggling made it impossible. Mia thought quick and grabbed her feet and yanked her out. She didn’t even cry, just pointed to the fire and said “hot!”

We were packed up ready to leave camp on Sunday morning. We wanted the girls to play and release energy before the long car ride home. They were throwing rocks into the lake when she got a little too close and tumbled into the 50° water. Completely submerged, the sisters and Dad pulled her out. The look on her face was complete shock. I was walking up videoing them by the lake playing when I was able to catch a few seconds of them pulling her out of the water. I grabbed this photo from the video.

She was completely soaked, crying a bit but dried and changed within a few minutes. Ryan and I both looked at each other and decided that was our cue to go home. We left before anything else happened. Oh yah, she also tripped over a tree root the same day as the fire and hit the concrete slab where the picnic table was with her forehead. Ryan saw it and said it hurt him to watch. we both decided we were grateful that she didn’t fall into a cactus or fall off the pier. Norah definitely has guardian angels around her. What is a camping trip without a few good stories to share? Happy camping!

Love and Blessings,

Venice

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