By Rebecca Rose

Harker Heights Herald

Back in May, when I first interviewed new Harker Heights Mayor Mike Aycock, I asked him to tell me what his favorite part of the city was.

I ask this of a lot of people I meet in the "Heights," because it's the fastest way to find out from the people who know best exactly what I need to put on my "Things To Do And See" list.

Aycock answered without hesitating, explaining in detail his love for Stillhouse Lake, and his, fondness for enjoying life on it's pristine waters.

Immediately, my ears perked up. Even in my short time in Harker Heights, this has become one of my favorite places to visit, too. Like our mayor, I'm amazed by the sheer beauty of the water and land around it, and just how easy it is for residents to access.

Comanche Gap Road down to Dana Peak Park is a familiar route to seasoned locals. Sometimes it's hard to believe that right off of Farm-to-Market 2410, less than 10 minutes from the bustle of Market Heights and the busy Highway 190, is one of the quietest, most serene spots in Harker Heights, if not the entire greater Killeen area.

Driving through the winding, hilly road that leads up to the park entrance, it's easy to forget that you just left jam-packed traffic lanes filled with cars streaming into the busy shops and restaurants that line the highway and the access roads.

This is one of the reasons why I love Texas so much; the unexpected surprises it reveals to the casual traveler. Sometimes, in the middle of the most unremarkable parts, you make some random turn and suddenly feel like you're in a whole different country. It's filled with random beauty that you might never notice from a busy highway.

The first thing you notice about Stillhouse Lake on the Harker Heights side is how quiet it is. During a typical weekday, fishermen dot the shoreline, lazy swimmers float in inner tubes and a handful of boaters make their way out into the horizon. There aren't many of buildings, there are no businesses or manned sites; just a few picnic benches and places for children to play.

This is a part of the Texan landscape that simultaneously reminds me of the summer I spent on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland with my mother, of backpacking through Yosemite in the spring and of the endless crystal blue waters of the Midwestern lakes that filled my college years.

I don't know why anyone would opt to cram themselves or their loved ones into some crowded mall to spend the weekend trying to beat deadlines for the latest sales, when something like this sits so close by. I mostly come to read a good book or just watch the lake waters, to unwind from a long, hectic day.

If you haven't been yet, take time out this week to drop by for an hour or two. A day pass to access the marina and lake is $4.

I bought an annual pass for $30, which I've already made a lot of use of. Marinas in Belton offer boat rentals if you think you're up for that. But even if you're not a diehard boat enthusiast, the lake is something you shouldn't miss.

Contact Rebecca Rose at or (254) 501-7548.

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