I recently read a book called Dear Bob and Sue: A Couple’s Journey Through the National Park written by Matt and Karen Smith. It is a wonderful book about a couple’s travel to all the parks in the United States with the word “National” in it. They traveled to the 59 parks and wrote letters/emails to their friends who inspired them to visit these amazing places. I fell in love with this idea so I decided for my husband and I that we were going to visit all the state parks in Texas.
Recently the husband and I had a full weekend off from work; this is extremely rare lately for me. You know this meant a road trip for us. By road trip I am meaning a Texas State Park visit to help us mark off another one from the official list. It was a pretty spontaneous thing, but it turned out extremely well. We decided we were going to visit Eisenhower State Park just south of the Oklahoma-Texas border. Taking a few hours, we gathered the tent, bed, bedding, and food for the trip. I made the reservations for our overnight stay online and then off to bed. The next morning we packed up the Tank and headed out. We stopped by Ray Roberts Lake State Park to get photos and mark it off our Texas State Park list. However, we decided it didn’t count because we didn’t pass through the gate, didn’t enjoy the scenery, and didn’t purchase a state park patch. I guess we have to go back. That is really a bummer, huh? Not.
When we arrived at Eisenhower State Park we found the rangers inside the office to be wonderful. They were happy, laughing and downright adorable! We were able to purchase a state park patch and one for Eisenhower. These patches will be proof that we have been to each park.
This brings me to our rules for it being a “mark off” from the SP list.
- Entry Fee/check-in must be done for each of us.
- A photo of each of us, together or separate, must be taken in front of the SP sign.
- A patch for that SP must be purchased.
- We have to have spent time exploring the SP.
That’s how we determine if the park can be crossed off the list.
Once we were signed in and all the “office” chores were finished, we drove in and found our new home for the night. We stayed in spot #29. It was a very pretty spot and just across the road was a huge open spot so we could star gaze that night. The tent was set up and we changed into our swimming suits and headed out to explore.
What a beautiful place this is. It is filled with trees and sits on top of a stone mixture of sandstone and limestone bluffs. The hiking trails are well defined and clearly marked going through this amazing landscape. If you want an adventure, this is a good place to have one.
The swimming area is between the day use area and the primitive camping spots. Because the park is set up in the bluffs you will find yourself going down a rather long, awkward set of stairs. These stairs are not for the faint of heart and you should allow yourself plenty of time to take care of going down them. Once you get to the beach, you will find a wonderful, sandy beach. You will want to have some type of foot protection due to the stickers all over the surrounding area.
One of the best parts about the swimming area is the “caves”. They aren’t actually caves they are more places where the water has carved out spaces in the bluff. However, you will want to take a little time and investigate them. It was a lot of fun reading the scratching left in the rock.
Once we finished swimming and took plenty of care climbing back up to our vehicle, we drove out to the Lake Texoma Dam to do a quick crossing over to the Oklahoma side of the lake. I was honestly very surprised how close we were to Oklahoma! The dam is pretty impressive really and the spillway is even more so. I was surprised at the size of it all.
We then went back to camp and started getting dinner together. We had a campfire to cook our meal, I stitched some and we had plenty of time to chat. Afterward, we sat in a clearing and watched the stars come out. Scott had his guitar out and just played with it, no songs really, just sound. It was wonderful.
The next morning we packed up and headed back to the busy world of home. It was so worth the time and the drive. I can’t wait to go back again.
Ren & Scott