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  • J.F. Rowan

Buescher State Park Shananigans!

I’m still not sure what it means but I will say this much, it makes for a great place to find wildlife, cool looking tree moss and more great folks from Texas at Buescher State Park in Smithville Texas.

Buescher State Park, Smithville Texas

Our nice quiet spot. Fresh air here is REALLY fresh!

After some really crappy weather at the end of our stay at Brazo’s Bend State Park, we got back on the road and closed more distance between us and Austin where we would need to be for a house sit in a little over a week. That gave us just enough time to spend about 8-9 days between to different parks before meeting the homeowners in Austin. Again, there are no BLM (Bureau of Land Management) areas in Texas, so free camping in the backcountry just doesn’t exist. The drive to Buescher State Park on non-interstate roads was great.

Smooth roads and light traffic made it easy to click off the miles. And then, a giant squirrel. Out of nowhere, standing about 20 feet tall, right next to the road! Fake of course, but it peaked my curiosity to such a degree, I hit the brakes and made the turnoff to a nutty place called Berdoll’s Pecan Candy and Gift Company. A great family owned and operated business where everything is pecan or nut related. You name it, if it can be made with pecans, they have it. You can even step out the back door and see a thousand or so trees that they own. After procurement of 2 pounds of the tantalizing little nuts, it was back on the road.

Buescher State Park, Smithville, Tx.

Typical spot on the smaller loop at Buescher State Park. Clean, quiet and private.

Buescher State Park isn’t huge, but it is very clean, quiet and there is still plenty to do. Hiking trails, biking and plenty of wildlife. If it was warmer, we would have rented a canoe for very little money. The staff was very friendly and helpful as well. We found a nice little spot tucked in by the lake. Our spot was surrounded by trees and bushes so we had a real sense of privacy and quiet. I got out my telephoto sense and was able to catch a Red Shouldered Hawk looking for dinner during an afternoon walk. And in the evening, we could always here a coyote or two in the distance.

Red Shouldered Hawk, Buescher State Park Tx

The park itself is comprised of two loops within a loop. One loop caters to 50amp customers, such as fifth wheels and A class motorhomes, and the other loop caters to the smaller guys like us with and provides a 30 amp service option. Which was nice because getting in with the big rigs means A.) More expensive and, B.) Usually more ambient light at night as well as the possibility of more noise. Fortunately, we are parked on the other side of the lake. But the main loop makes for some nice biking. Biking could have easily taken up most of our time here because what makes Buescher really unique is that it is attached to another state park to the north called Bastrop State Park. A ten-mile road that exits from the north end of Buescher winds its way through prairie type meadows and Loblolly Pine forests to Bastrop State Park. This area has had its fair share of tragedy however, fires ravaged through these areas not too long ago and consumed over 1600 homes, several thousand acres and claimed the lives of two citizens. There is still evidence in the forest but rejuvenation is coming on strong.

We did take one day to seek out a local farmers market where we scored a free-range chicken, some greens, eggs and a pack of cookies that were named “Lemon Snowballs”. Yes, they were good, damn good. So much so that we rationed the three large cookies for over a week. They were worth every bite. We then sought out a place named “Bone Distillery”. Bourbon, Gin, Vodka and few other spirits are what they do best. We were able to attend a tasting of these fine spirits and they were indeed heavenly. I know of a few folks back home that would very much approve of the distillery masters rendition of Bourbon.

Smithville, Texas Farmers Market

Farmers Market in Smithville TX. Fresh, local and actually cheaper than supermarket prices!

A trip to Bone Distillary for a taste of Bourbon, Gin, and Vodka. Guess which two ended up with us?

The weekend in any State Park is always the busiest part of the week from what we’ve experienced thus far, and this weekend was no exception. In a matter of two hours, the 6 spaces and 3 cabins that were empty were now filled. For the most part other than the obvious visual clue, you really couldn’t tell they were there. One cabin did seem to be a bit noisy until about two in the morning, but by the end of the next day, they were gone. As a matter of fact, by 2 o’clock on Sunday, the park returned to its former peaceful self and we were again, the sole residents on our side of the park. It was much the same during the week and we spent a few hours on Wednesday planning the next leg of our trip to McKenny State Park which was our “Lay-Up” for our house sit in Austin. I call it our “Lay-Up” because normally you have to meet the homeowners the day before the actual house-sit starts and you need a place to stay before it starts. In this case, McKenny falls was right near the house sit and will work perfectly.

So on Thursday morning, we packed everything up and headed out the gate, but not before stopping in at the main office and thanking everyone for being such great hosts. And they were. We got to know them by name and even the Ranger would come by once a day and either chat or wave to make sure we were okay. I tell ya, you gotta love these Texas state parks. If you would like to see more on this leg of our trip, check out our YouTube video by clicking HERE.

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