Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Favorite Texas Hill Country State Park – Inks Lake

I must admit, I have a favorite park among the state parks in the Texas Hill Country. It’s Inks Lake State Park. While there are many other wonderful state parks in the hill country, this one is special, at least to me.

State parks have been so very important to me all of my life. As a child, my parents would take “us boys,” all five siblings in the family, camping every summer. While we camped all over the United States, most of our camping was done in Michigan state parks. Except for the climate, the fauna, flora, and the scenery, Inks Lake State Park reminds me of the state parks in Michigan. Y’all must be scratching your heads by now wondering what I mean, or, if I’m crazy.

Based on my boyhood experiences, I judge a state park by many things. First and foremost, the attractiveness of its camping spots. A great state park has somewhat private camping spots that have trees, are near water, have nice views, a grill, and a fire ring. Next in importance, are the presence of hiking trails, and the availability of boating, swimming, and fishing. And last, but not least, there must be a park store. Inks Lake State Park has all of these, and more. Additionally, the park has quite a few small cabins available if you find yourself without a tent, travel trailer, or an RV, and need a place to stay. For golfers, there is a scenic golf course right next to the lake.

Like the other Highland Lakes of the hill country, Inks Lake is formed by a dam on the Colorado River. The area in and around Inks Lake State Park is prominently highlighted by large rock outcroppings of the pink colored Valley Spring gneiss. The area was the scene of cattle ranching during the 1800’s, and, this park, like many others during the 1930’s, was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

One of the attractions of Inks Lake is the “Devils Waterhole.” It’s a spot where swimmers can jump off a cliff into a pool of deep water. Even if you don’t want to participate in this activity yourself, it is fun to watch.

Yesterday, during our repeat visit, we saw only a relatively few campers. How nice for them. The temperature was in the mid-70’s, with clear blue skies, and a beautiful park all to themselves. We saw many picnic tables at occupied campsites decorated with flowers and plants. These campers were succeeding in making a really nice location even nicer!

Inks Lake lives up to every one of my boyhood expectations of what constitutes a great state park.

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