It seems natural that the writer of a blog called “Whit’s Wilderness” should go to a park in Texas bearing the name Whitney, doesn’t it?
Every summer, my husband’s family takes a trip to either Colorado or somewhere in Texas. This year, and with no influence from me, Brandon’s parents chose Lake Whitney State Park for their annual family vacay.
Lake Whitney is located between Waco and Hillsboro, west of I-35. More importantly, it is just north of the Czech Stop in West, Texas, where you can get the most delicious kolache you’ll ever eat in your whole life.
What a brilliant name for a town.
This trip was the debut of Brandon’s parents’ new RV, and while I definitely supported the idea of RV camping, I won’t lie–I had a few hesitations.
I was primarily afraid of being crammed in an overcrowded RV park with fewer than ten feet between us and our neighbors. My fearful vision may or may not have included tacky lawn furniture, worn-out public restrooms, and geriatric clientele. Not exactly “relaxing weekend in nature.”
Fortunately, I was wrong. Rather, at Lake Whitney State Park, we were assigned to a spot along a huge U-shaped drive surrounding a grassy prairie, with forests all around. It was actually very scenic.
And we had plenty of space between us and our neighbors. The restrooms turned out to be harmless. Not the Four Seasons, but clean and mostly bug free.
As it turns out, when you have an RV, you have many of the comforts of home such as air conditioning and a refrigerator.
Our neighbors have recently gotten an adorable little Airstream, and I must admit, the notion of getting a cute camper is starting to look appealing.
It was really more of a “chateau” than a tent.
Lake Whitney State Park has some very old forests and impressive trees, which were beautiful and grew in all sorts of funky directions and provided much needed shade.
When we weren’t hiking through forests, we were following trails that cut through the expansive grassy prairies. We hit it at just the right time and they were covered in little wildflowers. Gorgeous!
I thought this burned forest would be a cool place to tell ghost stories once it got dark but no one seemed into that idea.
Saturday morning we headed down to the edge of Lake Whitney, where interestingly enough, the week before our visit, a cliffside began falling apart in chunks and the mansion that had previously sat upon the cliff had begun sliding down into the lake. The day before we arrived, a demolition crew set fire to the house and tv crews and onlookers watched what was left of the structure burn and fall into the lake.
We really wanted to get in a boat and see how close we could get to the destruction but somehow we agreed we would just fish instead.
We caught absolutely nothing. No surprise there, I’m not that great of a fisherwoman.
My grandad always said, “Slow down! Have patience.”
He meant this advice to improve my fishing strategy, but I’ve found it applicable to most things in life.
Warning! Deep thought alert.
Metaphors aside, fishing is a fabulous excuse to wear a pink fishing shirt. At least I can find joy in that.
Later that afternoon, we had a picnic and played horseshoes. Games are a superb addition to any camping trip.
I sliced open a cold watermelon, which is synonymous with Texas summer.
Brandon’s dad grilled steaks and I piled my baked potato high with sour cream, cheese, bacon, and other deliciousness. It hit the spot.
But then, to impress, I prepared my super-easy Dutch oven peach cobbler.
Dutch oven cooking is my camping party trick. Guaranteed to please and impress, with very little effort.
It’s also a great way to impress your in-laws.
(Check out my recipe under Chickwagon Cooking.)
We served it up with Blue Bell ice cream for. the. win.
My mouth is watering as I’m writing this.
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend and Lake Whitney State Park lived up to my hopes and dreams. It was beautiful, comfortable, clean, scenic, and has plenty of entertainment for the kiddos.
Worthy of the name Whitney, I say.
I also must give a shout out to RV camping, for being much better than I could have imagined.
And here’s to pink fishing shirts. May they bring joy to the lives of fisherwomen everywhere.
Back to city life for us.
Trooper is sure glad we’re home. Doggie day care was exhausting.