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Galentine’s Day Hike at Inks Lake State Park a Trek Through Texas Women’s History

President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, walk through a field of wildflowers. Many people know Lady Bird was instrumental in highway beautification efforts in Texas, but there was more to this extraordinary woman than that. Learn more about her and other important Texas women during Inks Lake State Park’s Galentine’s Day Hike on Feb. 13. Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

HOOVER’S VALLEY — First and foremost, everyone is invited to the first-ever Galentine’s Day Hike at Inks Lake State Park.

This includes you men out there.

Inks Lake State Park interpreter Lindsay Pannell came up with the event so she could combine a couple of things she loves: history and the outdoors. The term “Galentine’s Day” comes from an episode of the TV series “Parks and Recreation,” but Pannell’s version has little more than the name in common with the comedy.

“The Galantine’s Day hike is a two-mile hike from Devil’s Waterhole to our amazing bird blind,” Pannell explained. “Along the way, we will talk about famous women from Texas and this area, in particular, Lady Bird Johnson and Lizzie ‘Cattle Queen of Texas’ Johnson.”

The hike is 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13. It starts at the Devil’s Backbone Nature Trailhead.

Lady Bird Johnson, whose actual name was Claudia Alta Johnson (her maiden name was Taylor), was married to Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States and a Johnson City native. However, being first lady was only part of her legacy.

Lady Bird was a capable leader in her own right. After marrying LBJ, she helped bankroll his first run for U.S. Congress. When the young congressman joined the Navy at the onset of World War II, Lady Bird ran his congressional office.

In 1943, she jumped into the media business after purchasing an Austin radio station and also served as president of the LBJ Holding Co. Then, in 1952, against her husband’s wishes, Lady Bird bought a TV station, which eventually turned the Johnsons into millionaires. Her initial investment of about $41,000 grew into more than $105 million for the LBJ Holding Co.

Lady Bird would eventually become first lady of the United States after her husband, who was John F. Kennedy’s vice president, became president after Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

She was a big advocate for highway beautification, something she continued to champion after she and her husband left the White House and returned to Texas.

Another interesting and exceptional Texas woman was Lizzie Johnson, often called “The Cattle Queen of Texas.” She arrived in the new state with her parents in the 1840s, setting up residence in Hays County outside of Driftwood.

Lizzie taught school at a number of places as well as worked as a bookkeeper for several cattlemen.

During her bookkeeping work, Lizzie realized a person could make quite a bit of money in the cattle industry. In a male-dominated world and business, Lizzie purchased 10 acres of land in 1871 and registered a brand. Some say she was the first woman to take a herd of cattle up the legendary Chisolm Trail.

Even after marrying Hezekiah Williams, Lizzie maintained her own cattle operations.

Learn about more famous Texas women on the Galentine’s Day Hike.

“It is a great way to celebrate our Texas heritage and enjoy beautiful wildlife at the same time,” Pannell added.

If you go, be sure to wear good hiking shoes and bring plenty of water.

The event is free with entrance fees of $6 for ages 13 and older. Children 12 and younger get in free.

The park is located at 3630 Park Road 4 West in Hoover’s Valley near Burnet. Call (512) 793-2223 for more information.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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