Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Martin Creek Lake State Park

It's Spring Break for the grands, so Chris, Kelsey and the kids took off for a camping trip - their first one in their NEW camper. Their old camper was a pop-up model, and they had many, many, wonderful camping trips in it. It was time to upgrade.

Dan and I joined in some of the fun. We drove up to the camp site, at Martin Creek Lake State Park, on Sunday afternoon. We ate dinner with them that evening, and spent a few hours there before heading to our hotel room, about 20 minutes away (in Kilgore), for a good night's sleep. Then, on Monday morning, we rejoined the family, and stayed until 2:30 or so in the afternoon. It's about a 4 hour trip back to Temple, so we were back in time to have dinner at home.

This state park is in what is known as the East Texas Piney Woods region, and it is really beautiful. Whenever we travel through that part of the state, Dan marvels at how he grew up in west Texas, thinking that all of Texas looked like that dry, flat area.

On Monday morning some of us walked down a short trail behind their camp site, looking for animal tracks. Robert and Clara had brochures telling how to identify the different tracks. Robert was determined to make them all look like wild pig tracks, though I think most of what we found were deer tracks. Driving home, though, later that day, I did see two wild pigs in the ditch beside the road!

The best part about the trip was the time spent playing with the kids. We played Wiffle baseball and badminton, until Grandma got too tired and hot. (Did I mention it hovered around 90 degrees most of the time?)

Before lunch, on Monday, it was time for some water fun. Chris has the coolest kayak ever! It has pontoons with trampoline decks to each side, is rigged for sailing, and has pedals for paddling. Grandpa and I stayed ashore while the kids launched the boat and sailed to the other side of the nearby little island and back. There was a nice breeze, and Chris said he got close to 8 m.p.h. - a nice clip!


While the kids were on the water, Dan and I walked out to the island and relaxed under the trees. The birds were singing, and it was a perfect day to be outside. 

There was a rope swing, tied to a tree branch, near the picnic table where we were sitting. It was made to swing out over the water. Most of the folks who walked by were about our age. They all commented on how fun it would be to swing out over the water . . . if they were younger. Finally, along came a young family with two children. The boy, whose name was Silas, wanted to try the swing. His parents encouraged him, but each time he grabbed onto the stick, he got cold feet and couldn't bring himself to swing out. FINALLY, after his dad and Dan managed to shorten the rope a bit, and after tons of prompting by all of the rest of us, Silas did it! And he had so much fun that he made four or five more swings after that, without a moment's hesitation. I took lots of pictures and promised to send them to his mom.

After the water fun, we went back to the camp site, ate lunch, and Dan and I said our good-byes. When we got home, about 6:00, we were tired, but couldn't stop talking about how much fun we had and how much we enjoyed our time outdoors with the family.

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