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  • J.F. Rowan

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area-Fritch, TX.

During the last 3 or 4 weeks, we have been planning ahead so that our stops would somewhat line up with our upcoming house sit in Colorado. During our stay in Buffalo Lake (See the Last Blog Here), we saw our objective as in the "home stretch" and did some tweaking to our itinerary so we would arrive exactly in Colorado City, Colorado the day the house sit was to begin. As it turned out, our next stop from Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge would be, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (NRA). Now if you look at the video we made about Buffalo Lake, you'll see the significant relationship between Buffalo Lake, and Lake Meredith. To see that YouTube video, CLICK HERE.

The ride to Lake Meredith was through some pretty flat country. Not much out here until we get closer to a town called Fritch. Lake Meredith is a man-made lake formed by the Sanford Dam in Sanford Texas. The primary feeder is the Canadian River? (Yea, just seems strange to have a Canadian anything in Texas.) How much water? From what I've researched there are about 961,568,000 m3! (I think that's cubic meters) which I think equates to about 33,957,453,450 cubic feet of water. I'm happy to report that I'm pretty's all there.

Lake Meredith NRA, Fritch, Texas

Taking the long way round.

Even though our camp spot was on the western side of this rather large body of water, we still needed to head to the main NRA office in Fritch, on the east side. We arrived at the main office in the town of Fritch and while I was doing some last minute adjustments out in the truck, Yvette conversed with the Lake Meredith NRA staff. Once Yvette finished the registration and briefing, we drove another 20 minutes to get to the general area where we might make camp. Of the three we had in mind, the first looked very enticing. A long, narrow inlet that curved into a small canyon. The problem was the area had no natural shelter from the constant winds, so we moved along to the next possible site.

Our spot at Lake Meredith.

The next site proved to be ideal for our needs. A long dirt access road meandering down into the canyon with the low land situated close to the ledges and cliffs that would eventually protect us from the bulk of that famous Texas wind. We parked in an area that afforded us nice views of the lake which were often dotted with a wide variety of migratory birds. The actual parking area was a small grassy, slightly sloped space tucked in up against the hillside. There seemed to be 2 camping areas here, but we would be the only campers during our stay.

There were a few trails that radiated from our spot and we explored those while we were there. It was amazing to see so many varieties of wildflowers. Plenty of animal sign could be found, though tracking was very difficult in the hard rocky clay-like soil.

As we do every time we get to a new place, we try the digital TV. And, as usual, there is no reception. Not that we are missing a whole lot of garbage TV mind you, but it would be nice to get a visual on a local weather forecast now and again. We actually ran into someone who purchased a somewhat portable antenna that seemed to work well for them, so we're doing some research to see if it might help us. I think our feeling is at this point is if we don't receive a signal 80% of the time (and we seem to be exceeding that now) then the next time we travel through SC, we might stop off at Provan and have them remove the antenna and the TV. I've looked into a satellite system for our rig, but frankly, I can't justify the cost. And, I hate being on the monthly payment gerbil Wheel!

During our second day, my goal for the morning was to explore the shoreline and try to get some decent photos of wildlife. All the birds here were a challenge to photograph. Herons and most other birds could be spooked easily even if I was a quarter of a mile away. My only real luck was finding a place to sit, and just waiting. Though I didn't get a lot of variety this way, I was able to take a few shots of a Black Throated Stilt. To be honest, if I didn't know any better, I think he was showing off.

Black Throated Stilt.


American White Pelican far from it's normal saltwater habitat.

On the third day, while the wind had decided to take a break, or at least ease up a bit I decided it would be a good time to shoot a video. Using the truck as a windbreak (microphones hate wind) I set up the camera and tripod just after lunch. Yvette and I recorded a few videos and as we finished up the third and final video, I noticed that thousands of bugs had started to light on the leeward side of the truck. As we finished shooting, we also discovered they liked the inside of the coach as well and took full advantage by entering in droves everytime we opened the door, any door. It was time to move.

The entire leeward side of the Tiger was a bug parking lot.

During our research here, there was one spot we hadn't visited that we thought might be our answer to the now growing bug problem. It was on higher ground and might offer a bit more breeze to help keep the bugs away. So, in twenty minutes we had everything packed and we were on the move to a different site about a mile away.

Higher ground sure, but not a lower bug count.

As it turned out, the site was indeed higher. It had a nice view of the lake from a higher perspective. Yet, the bugs either followed us or phoned ahead because the same number of bugs were at the new site, regardless of the slight increase in wind speed. What to do? Stay and suffer? Years ago a then-controversial Air Force Colonel stood looking over my shoulder as I was trying to make a decision during a military aircraft launch process. "Make a decision, right or wrong." He would say. "Indecision is usually worse than the wrong decision."

"Yvette, we're all packed anyway, let's just move on to New Mexico, let's just keep going," I said. It was a bit late in the day to head to our next planned destination, Sugerite State Park in New Mexico, but perhaps there would something in between? As it turns out, there was. Clayton Lake State Park near Clayton New Mexico. And, we bugged out and hit the road. Off to Clayton Lake.

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