Camp Rock Fun


Suzy floating in the river with the boys

Today I have one of my favorite pictures. It was taken on  the Concho River north of Christoval, a place we called Camp Rock. Daddy  and I took our two boys there almost every summer, starting in 1963, the year we bought our little Airstream trailer. The pecan trees made a dense canopy over our side of the river, the bank sloped gradually so it was a good place for the kids to  swim, Roland had a nice diving board on the opposite side and everyone was welcome to use it. There was always a tree swing where you could sail off out to the middle of the river. Then there were the rapids, get on a tube and go on  a short and very fast ride that would take  your breath away. We had several dogs through the years. Big Spook was the smart one. He would hide  behind a tree and watch for the flies to get on his bone,  then go after them. He knew the difference between, bone, bowl and ball and would bring which ever one you sent him for.  Once when we were in the  row boat, we heard him howling and running through the plowed field like he had been hurt. Then we smelled the skunk. In just a few minutes he was in the river, swimming toward us to get in boat, (and shake off). The boys had their friends come up for camp outs. They had a big tent with nice beds, a night stand with a small TV, (they got to see the first landing on the moon). One night, I heard Paul calling, “I think there is a rattle snake in the tent”. I went to look and found a black widow spider under his bed but no snake.  In a few minutes he called  again and I told him there was no snake, to go back to sleep. Then some of the family who was camping nearby said they thought the heard a rattler. I found it this time under the night stand. We had several encounters with snakes through the years. Almost every afternoon there was a water moccasin that came slithering through the swimming hole. What a wonderful place though, the best summer time fun for two sweet little boys and their dogs. It is always there, waiting for the next family get together. 

South Concho River

The South Concho runs from south to north, which is almost unheard of~

This painting is on the South Concho River near Christoval. You can get in a kayak and paddle almost to the ‘head of the river’ where it starts as a small gravely spot and water bubbles up out of the ground. Like Magic, it turns into this wonderful river that flows all the way to San Angelo 19 miles away. When you are in a boat, every bend in the river is a new scene, one thrill after another. I like painting water, not only rivers and ponds, but  a puddle in the road, or dark clouds building up before a rain. I have seen paintings of the surf, with waves tumbling over each other, white foam and aqua colored water, I tried it once but it was a failure. I can appreciate anyone who can capture all of that wonder. I have to stick with the calm water of the river. Air, water and food, in that order, we can’t survive without all three~I am grateful~

Swimming Hole

swimming hole at Camp Rock

This is a painting of the swimming hole at Camp Rock on the beautiful South Concho River. I took artistic license in several areas, the water hole isn’t quite this big  and  the hills in the background are actually the double knobs near Grit in Mason County. I painted this one to hang out on my screened porch, it was there for almost 40 years with no fading or  weather damage, (the secret in oil painting is to use linseed oil to mix the paint colors and never ever  use turpentine, that is for cleaning brushes). There is something so special about water, I always wondered if people who grew up in a town with a lake or river could appreciate what they had. I almost always  put water in a painting, if not a river, then a puddle in the road or a windmill with a rock tank. I always need to be able to get a cool drink~ Two years ago I turned the screened in porch into a sun room, with insulated windows and air conditioning. It is my favorite room in the house.

Texas is Hot

two friends and a dog, what could be better. No one ever enjoyed that water more than Suzy~

 Texas is hot in the summer. If you stand out in the sun you bake but if a little cloud comes over, it is pleasant enough. Stand in the shade and it is not bad. I am always grateful that I am not having to work out in the heat.  I passed some men  digging trenches for a service cable along the highway and one guy had a wide brimmed straw hat on and on top of that had on his hard hat, I guess they are required to wear the hard hats as a safety measure. Today’s picture is two boys and a dog taking care of the hot weather, this was 47 years ago at our family place on the South Concho River. They could slip in the water and cool off and then back to the boat business. Lazy days of summer, tender memories.

Women on the South Concho

Becky was the youngest one and so pretty~

In the summer time, everyone who came to the river rode in the River Mouse. The battery would last two weeks and then needed an overnight charge and was ready to go again. I have lots of videos of our dogs sitting at the wheel, driving  the boat, dogs and the children were the most fun.

The Presbyterian Women of the Church, over twenty of them, came in 1992 and we had Bible Study and a devotional by the water. It was a day filled with the Holy Spirit, this is a day the Lord had made. We had some fun that day too~

Helen driving Sandra

Jerry riding with Jean, the wild one

Everyone  either  drove  the River Mouse or rode in it. (up to the rapids, turn hard and it would  spin in  circles,  then come  rushing  back  down with the ladies squealing). I have to laugh when I remember~

Danell and Pat, almost to the thrilling rapids

almost dinner time

  After the boat rides, I served a bar-b-que dinner up at the camp, it  needed  to  be  good because I was feeding some of   the   best   cooks  in  the world. We even had cloth napkins,   china   and silverware. Some of those who were there that I remember were Becky Lux, Maxine Page, Nook Mayo, Geneva McWhorter,  Pat Pfluger, Helen Marie Page, Nancy Stanford, Jerry Whitten, Pat Pitts, Isabella McCutcheon, Jean Brazzel, Danell McCormack  Florence Williams, Maggie Lee Williams, Joyce Whitten, Sandra Helmers, and our preacher, Hawley Wolfe 
All the women were good friends, it was 25 years ago and some of them are gone now. They will always be remembered~ we could not do without our church family~

Helen won the prize at her table

Hello to my Washington friend Tara Clayton Wootten, I have been enjoying you dog pictures!

South Concho River

The South Concho River passes through Christoval Texas as it runs north nineteen miles to Lake Nasworthy in San Angelo. It is a unique river in that it runs from South to North. Any rain that falls in the northern part of the Edwards Plateau in Schleicher County runs through draws and into the South Concho. This is a beautiful river with huge pecan and live oak trees along the banks. It begans several miles away on the Ford Boulware ~Head of the River Ranch, Bois d Arc Draw flows into it from the West. It  starts as a gravel bed with a little water bubbling up and grows into a stream and finally a full fledged river.  

Pugh Park, pictures from several years ago, it was a crowded place all summer. There are lots of big trees hanging out over the water with rope swings. The park is closed at the present and fenced off to visitors while a renovation is going on. The riverbank is being reinforced, new boat docks being built and the improvements will stop the erosion along the banks.

 I will show you some pictures along the river.

Saturdays  during the summer, the River Ministry was preaching, with live music, free hot dogs and pulled pork bar-b-que. There were some big crowds~


there are several places where the river is narrow there are some fast rapids

all along the river you can see boat docks and swimming holes

Mineral Wells Crossing is a great place for camping and swimming. There is a low water bridge and small dam, it is a nice place for children to play in the water, many of them first learned to swim here.

This is where the river goes north toward White Rock, it is more remote since the land is owned by ranchers. It is a good place to go in a boat and fish along close to the banks. Catfish, bass, perch and water moccasins


Here is one of the places where two deep holes in the river narrow and  the water rushes to make rapids, it is a short but exciting ride in a tube or rubber boat. This is where you hear lots of squealing~ noise travels on the river

River Ministry

The River Ministry was going strong in Pugh Park on the South Concho River for three summers. Every Saturday afternoon the group met to spread the Word, minister to the visitors in the park, serve  free hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches and ice cold water. Live music, preaching, praying and fellowship. This was a  smaller version of the Baptist encampment that was held annually when as many as 10,000 people came to the river area  and to the mineral waters in nearby Christoval. In 1936 a flood hit the South Concho and destroyed the facility and parts of Christoval. Several people were killed as they were swept away by the rising water. The cabins were never rebuilt but the idea has stayed alive since that time. Several people got together in 2009 and decided to try to get something positive going at the park, times have changed, sometimes it could be a pretty rough crowd. I have several pictures of those who came and helped. Praise be to God~

serving free hot dogs and wonderful home smoked pulled pork

The park has been closed for the past year while banks on the river are being rebuilt to save them from erosion. Fences have been put up to keep people out while the work is being done. There were a lot of people who came to Pugh Park to party and probably would never have gone to a regular church, but they could hear the Word in the background as they floated on their tubes and did their thing. At some point they may remember and be filled with the Holy Spirit and want to turn their lives around. Prayers and Blessings, this was  worthwhile ministry.