Only three of our cabins here at Lake Whitney have ovens so it takes a little creativity to manage several days’ meals. We have a tips and tricks on our Lake Whitney Pinterest Board, but here are the basics.
- Bring paper and plasticware. You want to spend your vacation washing dishes after every meal? User paper goods for meals that aren’t wet or drippy, then bring along a set of sturdy plastic plates or bowls for cereal or for heavier meals like steak. Nobody really wants to eat a big juicy steak off of a flimsy paper plate, right?
- If you have an electric skillet or griddle bring that to expand your cooking options.
- Don’t limit your grilling to just meat. Grilled corn, squash, onions, tomatoes, pineapple, and even orange slices are creative additions to any meal. Use cast iron skillets to scramble eggs or even bake brownies.
- Think combos. Dump things together for simpler cooking and serving.
- Spread the chores. If there are several in your group that cook, divide up the meals. Assign each cook a meal to plan, shop for, and prepare. Be clear about cleanup expectations. Assign those chores in advance as well.
- Relax a little. Vacation is for experiencing new things or indulging in the things you would never eat at home.
- Bring snacks. Whether your weekend activity of choice is flopped in bed watching a movie or busy time on and in the water, snacks are appropriate and might limit the actual cooking to one or two meals instead of three.
- Make a plan. Before you go to the store. Download our easy weekend escape meal planner.
Rest weekly; escape monthly; retreat quarterly; disengage annually.
Your Lake Whitney Retreat is waiting for you. Whether you enjoy tent camping with the kids, cabin “camping” with your extended family, or even a luxury hotel room overlooking the lake for you and your significant other, Lake Whitney has what you are looking for. You can center yourself here, both physically and mentally. Consider activities like wildlife watching, photography, or hiking to round out your quarterly retreat at the lake. Here are some ideas to get the planning started.
- Dads and daughters—best in an outdoor setting where dads often feel most comfortable; think campfires, building things, and scavenger hunts.
- Moms and daughters—you can do this almost anywhere, spas in the city are fun, but do-it-yourself spas in a scenic location where you do each other’s nails and hair are even better.
- Dads and sons—same principles as dads and daughters, but maybe add fishing or a boat rental.
- Cousins—time for games from childhood, simple meals together, photo sessions, and maybe scrapbooking. Try renting a large cabin where you all stay together, slumber party style.
- Sisters—dinner out, and talk, talk, talk.
- High school buddies—be sure to bring old annuals or class newspapers, plus cameras for fresh photos.
- Sunday school class—you can choose between in-depth Bible study or just fellowship outside the church walls. Lake Whitney scenery offers serenity and calm that are often lacking in our day-to-day lives.
- Your immediate family—do things you never have time for at home. Play Monopoly, read to each other, take long walks together.
- Your significant other—rest, romance, rest, romance. Quiet places are best, but almost any location will work, from a cabin resort to a tent in one of the many public parks.
- Just you—eat simply or maybe even fast. Read, write, rest, or use the time to jumpstart a new routine like a diet or exercise plan.
For more ideas on planning retreat planning check out these Pinterest boards: Retreat ideas
Excerpted from Camping Colorado, 3rd Edition by Melinda Crow, Published by Falcon Publishing/Globe Pequot Press
You are no longer at home. You’re not even on your own turf. Camping is a foreign world where strangers may be sleeping on the ground under the stars 50 feet away. It’s a world where the choices you make can make a difference from the top of the food chain to the bottom. And it’s a world where respect for your fellow man and beast is of utmost importance if we are all to continue to enjoy our natural resources.
The first sign of that respect is in knowing the camping rules that apply to your destination. The rules may seem arbitrary to you, but respect the fact that they have been placed into effect for good reason. Some examples of rules you should know include:
1. Maximum number of people per campsite/cabin. This varies between five and fifteen, but in general, fewer is better. Fewer people means less impact on the campsite and less impact on neighboring campers.
2. Maximum number of vehicles per campsite/cabin. The reasons are the same as for people per campsite, plus, by requiring additional vehicles to pay for additional space, the facility gains needed revenue.
Campfire restrictions. Always find out whether fires are allowed at the time of your stay. You don’t want to be the one responsible for the next forest fire.
3. Maximum number of nights. Campgrounds in state parks and national forests are not second homes. They are for the enjoyment of all. Popular areas may limit stays to as few as three days, whereas secluded destinations may allow up to fourteen or twenty-one days (campgrounds restricted to fewer than seven are so noted in the book).
4. Quiet hours. All campgrounds place people a little closer together than we would like. Quiet hours are to ensure everyone’s enjoyment and are usually strictly enforced. The normal times are between 10 p.m. and
8 a.m., but you will occasionally find places that are more strict.
5. Checkout time. You’ve paid your money and you intend to stay all day, right? Wrong. What you paid for was the previous night. Staying past your welcome cheats fellow campers out of a campsite. Even the national forest campgrounds have checkout times around noon. If for some reason you must stay longer, be sure to contact the camp host or a ranger about whether you need to pay for another night.
6. No picnicking in campgrounds. This is one of the most ignored rules in national forest campgrounds, but in areas where campgrounds stay filled, it is an important rule. When you spread out a blanket for lunch in a campsite, you cheat fellow campers out of a good site for the night.
7. Don’t pollute other people’s senses. Specifically, consider the impact on other people of every noise you make, every flashlight you shine, and every smelly pile your dog leaves behind.
Share space graciously. Campgrounds force us to share everything from toilet facilities to parking spaces, from water faucets to boat ramps. A good rule of thumb is to never use more than your neighbor does. Don’t take up extra parking. Don’t spread your camp right up to the next one. Don’t hang buckets or towels from or leave hoses attached to shared water faucets. And where showers are available, don’t hog the hot water. There’s always a limited supply.
8. Leave your campsite better than you found it. Do more than clean up after yourself. Pick up trash left behind by others and leave a stick or two of firewood for the next guy.
9. Learn how to camp lightly. Camping lightly means having the least amount of impact on the environment as possible. Little things, like pitching your tent in a grassy spot rather than on already hardened ground, cause damage that lasts far beyond your stay. The next camper sees that the grass is matted down where your tent was and decides to try that spot himself. In a very short time, that spot of grass no longer exists; it is now hardened earth that may be subject to erosion. There are good books written entirely about this subject, but they tend to be overlooked by vehicle campers who think those camping techniques apply only to wilderness campers. Many of them apply to anyone who sets foot in the forest. One of the best guides available is Wild Country Companion (Falcon Publishing/Globe Pequot Press).
It all boils down to respect—for each other and for nature. If you lack either, you simply are not welcome as a fellow camper.
We wanted to take a minute to introduce you to a friend of ours. Sheri Hemrick is a professional photographer who showcases life around Lake Whitney better than anyone we know. If you want to see the really good stuff our area has to offer, from bald eagles to hummingbirds to lions at the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco visit her website atwww.gotpictures.us or friend her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheri.hemrick. Please keep in mind that all of her photos are copyrighted.
If you spend very much time searching for accommodations on Lake Whitney you are likely to find a variety of descriptive terms used to describe cabins and their relationship to the lake. Lake Whitney is a flood control lake with a 40 foot flood pool above the official “normal” level. That means that nothing but campsites situated on Corps of Engineers property can be located in the flood zone. That also means no cabins or houses sit right next to the water on Lake Whitney.
Almost all properties on the lake adjoin land owned by the Corps of Engineers. These properties are considered “lakefront,” but since in almost all cases there is public land between the private property line and the water’s edge, there are very few “waterfront” properties on the lake. In fact I only know of one area that can claim to be “waterfront” and that only happens when the lake is at or above the normal level of 533′ (which is rare) because they are located far up into tiny fingers beyond the normal Corps of Engineers boundaries that surround the lake.
Those properties have no lake access at all when the water level is below normal. Lake Whitney is a deep lake (108′ in the center) but it stays below the designated normal by 8-10 feet most of the time.
With that in mind, the only two “lakefront” or “lakeside” accommodation choices are:
- Perched atop limestone cliffs out of the flood area, but directly above the water.
- On sloping hillsides back away from the water’s edge.
The questions you should ask when determining which accommodations work best for you are:
- Exactly how do you access the water from the the cabin?
- How far is it to the water?
- What is the shoreline like at their location? Smooth? Rocky?
- Is it possible to swim?
- Is it possible to tie up my boat?
- Is there a public area with a view of the lake?Is there a view of the water from the cabin I have in mind?
Here at Arrowhead we are on a sloping hillside, not a cliff. That means we have easy access to a smooth shoreline. We have a trail that is about 150 yards down the hill to the water. Once at the shore, you have full access to several miles of non-rocky shoreline at your disposal. Because we are not in a cove, we have a wide view of open water from most of the property. Some cabins have better views than others, but there is lots of public space from which to enjoy the view.