Possum Kingdom State Park
Possum Kingdom State Park was the 2nd park of our ten-day four-park late summer RV camping adventure in 2016. It was also number 47 on our list of visited Texas state parks.
We left Lake Brownwood State Park at noon on Sunday and traveled two hours north, on mostly less-traveled two-lane highways, through the small towns of Rising Star, Gorman, Ranger, and Caddo, to Possum Kingdom state park.
Weekend campers were still packing up when we arrived Sunday afternoon. We managed to land a perfect lake-front campsite (#4) with a covered picnic table. After I leveled our trailer and hooked up the utilities, I noticed that almost all the campers in the park had left. Things were going as expected; we scheduled our four-park RV trip in September to avoid the summer crowds.
It was quiet in the park. There wasn't even enough breeze to rattle the leaves of the nearby trees or stir the calm waters of Possum Kingdom Lake. Once we finished setting up camp, we broke out our lawn chairs and enjoyed reading and cold beverages by the lake for the rest of the afternoon.
By noon on Monday, only four other campers remained in the park. We decided to browse the park store one last time, just in case they closed early.
We walked inside the air-conditioned store, and a friendly lady behind the counter welcomed us.
"Come on in," she said. "Let me know if I can help you find anything."
"Thank you, ma'am," I replied.
The store had almost everything you would ever need for camping, fishing, or performing minor repairs to your boat or travel trailer.
I asked the kind lady if Possum was the name of someone of local importance. She laughed and began telling us about the region's history.
"Folks known as 'Cedar Choppers' made their money by farming and selling the skins of small animals, mostly opossum, to the neighboring towns."
Who would buy opossum skin? I thought.
"The region became widely known as Possum Kingdom," she continued. "and once the dam was built, in the early 40s, the time had come to name the lake. The officials wanted to name it after Texas Senator Morris Sheppard, but the local folks insisted it be called Possum Kingdom Lake, as the area had been known for so many years."
"That's good information. Thanks for sharing that story with us," I said.
"Well...at least that's they way it was told to me," she said with a smile.
"It must be true. No one would make up a story like that," I said, returning the smile.
Before leaving the store, we bought a couple of ice cream bars to eat while exploring the park from the chilling comfort of our pickup truck - summer may have been over, but the relentless Texas heat remained. We cruised through the Lakeview, Shady Grove, and Chaparral Trail camping areas. There were no tent campers, just a couple of RVs with their air-conditioners running full-blast.
On the way back to campsite #4, we spotted this impressive Fish Carving on the side of the road across the cove from the marina. We stopped to admire the artwork's fine detail.
After discovering the fish carving, we learned, from the lady at the park store, there were more wildlife carvings scattered throughout the park.
At one of the day-use areas, we came across a Roadrunner perched on top of a charcoal grill.
"He better watch out," I said. "Someone might come by and light the fire!"
"Looks like we won't be having possum for dinner tonight, ma!"
We enjoyed our relaxing stay at Possum Kingdom State Park. We plan to pay another visit to the park when construction has ended on the new Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, and we can visit both parks simultaneously.
On Tuesday morning, we had potato and egg tacos and coffee for breakfast, then packed our gear to get back on the road. Around 11 a.m., we left Possum Kingdom on Highway 1148 to visit the next park on our list, Lake Mineral Wells State Park.