Martin Creek Lake is the perfect example of the pleasant surprises that wait for us when we make visiting state parks over private campgrounds a priority. While it may be easier to look for one of many parking spots along the highway or interstate, the state parks that are often just a little bit off our planned routes can give our families affordable escapes from the busy world and force us to commune with nature, even if it is only for an 18-hour stay.
Campsmas 2020 In 2022, I moved my new blog posts to sarahstyf.substack.com. You can read more of my material there. […]
It was our halfway point on the way to Palo Duro Canyon. Established in 1867, Fort Richardson was a major outpost in the complicated history of the relationship between Plains indigenous tribes and the U.S. Calvary. The fort was in full use for 11 years, serving as base camp for many of the conflicts between the U.S. government and native tribes who refused to be forced into giving up their land or lifestyle. Today, visitors can see several of the outbuildings in addition to hiking or biking the many trails throughout the state park, including the nine-mile Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway.
After a year of anxiety and constantly shifting “norms,” our Campsgiving trip was probably one of the most “normal” things we did in 2020. We didn’t have to change our Thanksgiving traditions because our traditions took us where we were safest, especially if we kept our masks handy whenever we were going to be meeting people. And while there was still anxiety about meeting up with family, the small size of our group and the consistent outdoor activity made for as safe of a gathering as we could have hoped.
In the end, we discovered a new park that had never been on our radar. The lake and swimming quickly made the park a favorite for both kids, although I admit that personally I still prefer either Lake Livingston or Huntsville for both fishing and hiking. But Lake Somerville has definitely found its place on our short list for when we are looking for a weekend getaway from the city.
As with most quick overnight stops at state parks, especially when the climate isn’t cooperating (and Texas this time of year is hot), we didn’t get to see as much of the park as we would have liked, but it is a nice enough park for most camping activities and we appreciated the overnight stop.