Nearly two and a half years ago one of the worst wildfires in state history burned a considerable portion of this once pristine state park. I remember the towering pine trees mocking us as my grandfather and I tirelessly searched for our golf balls at the parks golf course. It’s heartbreaking recalling these lost pines separated by nearly 175 miles of prairie land and rolling hills before entering the east Texas piney woods. This was our second hiking trip to the park since the wildfire. Our first visit was last summer when the temperatures are unkind to the trails without their former shade trees. We found the trails to be in excellent shape considering the relatively recent devastation. We toiled with danger as we picked native blackberries from the trails.
On this particular adventure we decided to invite Lauren, a friend and avid outdoor enthusiast. After battling a sinus infection all weekend and a horrific migraine that morning, I decided it may help to get outside and take a nice hike. We met Lauren at the trailhead and hit a new trail. We thrilled to see Charlie Brown pine trees popping up throughout the barren forest. Mother Nature always finds a way to make a come back and its slowly happening at the park. We hiked to the small lake where you can canoe and fish if you have the patience. Stop for a few moments of solace and treasure the old pines as this is one of the few places in the park that was spared from the fire.
From the lake take a leisurely stroll around the lake to the cabins hidden in the pines. I believe there are 13 cabins that can be rented and from the outside appear to be quite nice. We contemplated renting a cabin for a weekend but unfortunately they are not pet friendly, which means it’s a not going to happen unless we have some nice friends to watch the dogs. While walking around the cabins and mature pines it easy to forget you’re in central Texas and not in the mountains.
We still had a little daylight to burn (pardon the unfortunate pun) so we decided to head for the scenic overview. Notice how far you can see without the old pine trees. The view is outstanding yet bittersweet without those pines. After a nice break and some photos it was time to get back to the truck before the sunset. The three of us agreed we deserved to grab a delicious burger from a local burger joint just outside the park gates. Be sure to stop by the Roadhouse and grab a burger and some sweet potato fries. It’s across the street from the park on highway 21. It’s a small place so be prepared to wait or sit outside which is not a problem unless its summer. Just another great daytrip to another lovely state park. If you have the golf clubs in the back of your car, give the course your best shot. It’s not a championship course but it’s a nice bargain and if you like playing in jean shorts its just the place for you! We can’t wait to explore some more trails on our next visit. See y’all on the trail!