Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Break at Millwood State Park

For short trips, we visited Parks around north Texas, southern Oklahoma and west New Mexico for the past several years. This year we decided to visit our northeast neighbour - Arkansas. Initially we picked Lake Ouachita State Park and Hot Spring National Park for a spring break visit - unfortunately all campsites, cabins were sold out weeks before spring break when we tried to make reservation. We eventually picked Millwood State Park .

Millwood State Park of Arkansas is near the boarder of Texas and Arkansas, about 200 miles from Plano. Drive time is about 3 and half hours. We visited the park and camped there on Thursday and Friday (March 18 and 19) due to weather forecast of potential inclement weather on Saturday, March 20 (How lucky we were considering the rain and snow on Saturday!).

Leaving Plano after lunch on Thursday, we arrived at Millwood State Park shortly after 5 pm. Setting up our tent, we went for a hike along the Waterfowl trail. The late afternoon Millwood Lake at this corner was beautiful .

After picnic, it was getting dark and chilly - we set up camp fire. We enjoyed a starry night sky and the new moon by the fire.

The next morning, Nicholas and I got up early, we went for a walk along the lake shore. It was a beautiful morning - sun was rising, fog floated near the surface of the water, Canada geese were making calls and fighting each other from time to time - it is mating season! All sorts of birds were singing in the woods - they were at the top of very tall trees, flying in the sky. However it was not easy to take good pictures.

After breakfast, we went hiking on the 4 mile wild life lane trail. Unfortunately, the trail path was swampy, we had to return to our tent after about 1 mile hike. We did see golden eagle soaring above the trees, turtles resting on logs in the water and we also found an animal skull. On the way back to campsite,we collected some fallen tree branches for another night of camp fire.

It was near noon time , and it was warm enough to canoe and kayaking on the lake. We rent a solo kayak and a canoe for half day. Justin started kayaking and the rest of us canoeing. It was perfect time for boating on the lake - the water was calm, it was sunny but cool with breeze. We had a lot of time on the water, we visited a beaver's lodge at one side branch of the lake, we also paddled to the Millwood Lake Dam - looking at the flood gates at water level.

We paddled for about 2 and half hours on the water before having lunch break around 1:30pm. Then Nick went kayaking solo! He was very comfortable in the kayak, and soon he started to chase a goose around a small island. The rest of us followed him in the canoe. Later we had a canoe - kayak race - we let the kayak win the race :). When everyone else was tired, I kayaked around by myself - speed rowed a bit, chased waterfowls to see them flying on the water, observed crows and sea gulls eating fishing baits left in the middle of water by a fisherman. By 4pm, we were done for the day's main activity.
We finished showers by 5pm and enjoyed a lazy afternoon - Lily and I sitting on a swing facing the afternoon sun; Nicholas was watching Justin working on a wood stick by our picnic table. When Justin was done with his woodwork, the whole family played cards in the tent. Our laugh and noise attracted curious kids from neighboring RVs to our tent to see what was going on.
When it was getting dark, Lily started cooking, Nicholas and Justin went to play soccer with some boys from next site after we started camp fire. We had salad, sausge, bread, the kids had sprite, Lily and I had a beer for a dinner by the camp fire. We sat by the fire in the starry night, listening to Lily singing some old Chinese songs, then Nicholas and Justin sang english songs. It was another beautiful night.

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