Saturday, September 17, 2016

Inks Lake Camping Trip

We joined five other families for Inks Lake  labor day weekend camping trip.

Inks Lake State Park is about 4 hour drive away from DFW area. It is a great place for outdoor activities - beautiful lake, many camp sites by the lake,  a particularly good place for paddling due to a large no wake zone, wandering trail through bushes and  rocky hills with a creek running in between.
inks lake
What impressed me the most about this camping trip started a couple days before the trip. On Thursday night Nick asked his mom if he could skip the camping trip with quite a few excuses. His attitude changed almost instantly when he was told that his friends Ben, Kevin, Jefferey and Andrew and their families would be joining us -he wanted to go on the camping trip now! Unfortunately he had an accident during Friday morning's marching band practice - he got a few open wounds on his legs and arms. But he still wanted to go on the trip.

Devil's Water hole trail
4 of the six tents were really close to each other
the kayak group
The boys had a great time play together  - playing cards, chat, hiking and kayaking. Even the untimely heavy rain near the end of our evening BBQ did not damp their fun. When the rain stopped, we all came out of the tents, enjoying water melon and marveling at the starry clear sky and the milky way which was clearly visible above our tents. The boys played hide and seek late into the night until forced to stop playing!!

Devil's Water Hole  - jumping off "cliff"
creek running through rock formation
The same trip, if we come by ourselves, we would have done the same type of things. The thought of coming alone made Nicholas not wanting to come. A simple change of format, took the trip with his friends, his attitude changed 180 degree, he was very engaged and had fun. This made me appreciate the obvious "format matters" so  much more after the trip. In fact I told this story as a value moment during a management meeting at work.

Another unique happening was that all of the trip participants went to kayaking or canoeing together the morning of our second day at the park. To generate some excitement, I proposed a short race among the kayaks from the devil's water hole to a rock in the middle of lake, ~ 30 yards distance. Four kayaks participated and the boys were really excited. So I asked the kayaks to line up for a "formal" race for a bit longer distance.

Of course the real fun for kayaking is to paddle along shorelines, viewing the wild life or water plants up close. Lily and I actually sneaked on a great grey heron standing by the shore, and took many pictures of grey heron from different angles, and eventually its take-off from the water when we were too close to it.

While Nick had fun with his friends, Lily and I also had some time for ourselves - kayaked on the inks lake by ourselves before the evening's BBQ the first day, watched the stars and milky way by the lake, away from our tent site after the first night's rain.

No work, no homework and no computer games ...camping gives us total mental relaxation. 

great grey heron took-off from water

standing in the valley creek
a frog on tarp
view of ink lakes from an overlook

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