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Paddlers experience Inks Lake with all senses; park offers other activities

Brothers Sean (right) and David Pruitt paddle a canoe around Inks Lake in Burnet as part of a canoe tour to the Devil’s Waterhole at Inks Lake State Park. The brothers, from La Vernia, learned basic canoe paddling skills June 21 before going onto the lake with park rangers as part of a weekly activity held the rest of the summer. Staff photo Jared Fields

JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF

BURNET – On Inks Lake in a kayak at night, Sean Jones said the unique experience never gets old.“It’s still very relaxing just to be out on the water,” said Jones, a park ranger at Inks Lake State Park. “You can hear and smell things because you can’t see, and your other senses pick stuff up.”

Evening paddles are just one of the regular events scheduled this summer at the park, 3630 Park Road 4 West.

“When it’s a nice, calm night, it’s really special on the lake. A lot of people never really experience paddling at night, and it’s fun,” Jones said.

The park offers evening paddling trips on the lake on new and full moons. The moonlight paddles, July 20 and Aug. 24, and twilight paddles, July 6 and Aug. 10, require flashlights.

Boat rides without the paddling are available as well. Morning and sunset electric boat rides are available Fridays and Saturdays in July and August.

For those who want to see more of the park’s scenery at their own pace, canoe tours are available every Friday at noon and every other Saturday.

“The canoe clinics on Saturday are usually the popular ones,” Jones said.

Children without experience paddling on the water can take part in a new program: the Kids Kayak Clinic.

Another program aimed at kids, Underwater Discovery!, is 10 a.m. Thursdays starting July 11. Rangers let kids go into the shallow waters of the lake with a seining net to see what lies beneath the water’s surface.

“When we’re catching things and putting it in a bucket, it comes alive to (the kids),” Jones said.

Kids, and adults, can learn another skill with the help of park rangers and stay grounded on the shore or a pier. The Tackle Loaner Program allows anyone to rent fishing poles and a tackle box for free on Friday evenings.

The catch-and-release program teaches the basics of fishing to anyone without the need for a license.

Programs and activities require registration. Call park headquarters at (512) 793-2223 to register or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/inks-lake for more information.

jared@thepicayune.com