Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Paddling and Eating

Our last few days on Sam Rayburn Lake were spent checking out some of the surrounding COE parks, we didn't find anything that we'd want to stay at. Martin Dies Jr State Park would be our preference if we find ourselves in the area again.

We did get back to Martin Dies Jr State Park-Walnut Ridge Unit (never did get to Hen House Ridge Unit) and got an awesome paddle in.

From the Texas State Park website:

"Martin Dies Jr. State Park is one of the best paddling destinations in Texas. The scenic sloughs that meander through the park combined with the lake, and the Angelina and Neches rivers provide endless opportunities for kayaking and canoeing. Whether you are a beginner, or an expert paddler looking for an extreme back country tour, there is something here for everyone.

Martin Dies, Jr. State Park is a 705-acre recreational area nestled alongside B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir between Woodville and Jasper. The park is composed of three separate units located in both Jasper and Tyler counties. The land for the park was acquired under a long-term lease from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1964, and officially opened under the name of Dam B State Park in 1965.
Born and raised in East Texas, Martin Dies, Jr. spent many summers as a boy at his father’s farm near Bevilport (Jasper County).  Much of his childhood was spent riding horses through the forest and river bottoms on the future lands of the park. Dies graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1942. When the United States entered World War II, he volunteered to join the Navy. During the war, he served as an officer aboard the destroyer USS Richard Suessens. Dies saw combat in Leyte Gulf and Okinawa where he received multiple commendations for his actions. After the war, he completed his law degree from Southern Methodist University and joined the family practice in Lufkin. Later, Dies served as a Texas State Senator for eight years before becoming Secretary of State of Texas. In September of 1971, he became the Chief Justice of the Ninth Court of Appeals in Beaumont, until 1989 when he retired. Throughout his years of public service, he devoted much effort to improving the state park system, and therefore the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission honored him by renaming Dam B State Park to Martin Dies, Jr. State Park in 1965."
We would highly recommend Martin Dies Jr State Park if you are staying in the area over any of the COE parks. I imagine we'll try and stay there one of these days. We'd also like to do some hiking in the Big Thicket National Preserve or the Angelina National Forest when Dave's tendonitis is gone.

We did end up eating out twice while in the area, a delicious Mexican meal at El Lindo topped off an afternoon car ride-forgot to get pics of their awesome food. A stop at Smitty's Smokehouse -recommended by the local Sheriff who we met at a gas station-capped off our paddling day. Both restaurants were excellent and we wouldn't hesitate to return to either.
Before leaving the area we recieved word that Dave's uncle had to go on a business trip the weekend we were suppose to get together. Good thing our plans are made in Jello, we headed south to Brazos Bend State Park on Sunday.

Until next time...


  1. Looks like lovely paddling and some really good eating.

  2. Will have to keep those restaurants in mind :) We trust your judgement after Uncle Mick's Cajun in Prattville AL! One of our best experiences! :)


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