Nature in the City

Lufkin’s Azalea Trail | Nature In The City


Over part of Easter weekend I was in Lufkin, Texas to spend some time with Chris as he was doing a field job nearby. It was nice, taking advantage of a hotel room and having time to explore the area. I really wanted to go do a few hikes in Angelina National Forest nearby but was too chicken to go out there by myself. I probably could have driven a few forest roads and seen a lot of things anyway but instead I decided to see what was in the heart of Lufkin itself. After I found a couple of plant nurseries I decided to go explore two different parks in the city. One of them was the linear Azalea Trail.

This is definitely an urban/suburban type of trail, made for walking or light exercising. I parked on the north side of the Lufkin Mall and walked over to where the sign is above. I had planned to do the entire trail up to the northern terminus but turned around maybe three-quarters of a mile in.

There were a couple of other folks out for the day, mostly walking. I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of interesting things along the trail including this small sassafras.

The path follows Hurricane Creek, which is filled with litter due to its proximity to the urban environment, but I think that helped in providing some interesting habitat for what wildlife I did see.

This squirrel was the only mammal I saw along the path and it wasn’t too nice in posing for me, dashing around the vegetation if I moved just a little.


hurricane creek
I tried to find a clean section of the creek to take a photo of, you know garbage doesn’t exactly make for a pretty picture.

Tent Caterpillar
This caterpillar caught my eye causing me to stop, sit on the ground and try to get a good shot of it as it walked along the debris.

Tent Caterpillar

Tent Caterpillar

Tent Caterpillar

And then I saw a whole bunch more a little while later climbing up and down a pine tree. I was planning on looking them up but last weekend I was going through the latest issue of Organic Gardening and there they were displayed in a segment in the back. Eastern tent caterpillars. So, kind of a pest and not necessarily a much loved species, but they were entertaining for me.

Lyre Leaf Sage
One plant blooming profusely in our area of Texas right now is the lyre leaf sage, Salvia lyrata. It is really beautiful along the roadsides and even in my yard. I’ve been trying to mow around any of the clumps.

Male Cardinal

There were several cardinals bouncing around the tree canopies and this male posed well for a few minutes for me.

Flowering dogwoods were providing a beautiful show in the woods around the area. This one was close enough and low enough for me to get a nice shot of.

I turned around once I reached a massive wisteria vine. Did you know the flowers are edible? Despite wisteria being a very invasive growing vine, and I’m guessing this is probably the Chinese wisteria not the native Wisteria frutescens, but it is still a very beautiful flowering vine.

And that was my walk, a little bit of nature in the city coming from Lufkin, Texas. I’ll have another small adventure from the city to a slightly wilder place to showcase soon.


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