Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

Bottomland Explorations at SFA State Park

Wetlands. They are highly undervalued but very awesome ecosystems. It was in college that I pinpointed the fact that I really loved wetlands and decided to focus on them as part of my marine biology degree. Looking more deeply, it was salt marshes that I had an affinity for, something I grew up loving as part of family vacations to the Texas and Florida coasts. Of course from there I learned about freshwater wetlands, and with our living in Florida for 8 years we became wetland maniacs. Wetlands are happening places!

With our camping trip a few weekends ago, we took to the trails the morning we were to pack up and head home. Most of the trails were closed for mud/unknown reasons. A lot of the trails were in and around a floodplain adjacent to the Brazos river. While there wasn’t any water in the floodplain at the current time, it was evident that water regularly flowed through the area. At the very bottom of the floodplain the watermarks on the trees were far above our heads, 10-12′ off the ground. That’s some serious flooding! Imagine paddling through the area instead of hiking…!

Our explorations into the bottomland were thwarted a few times because of closed trails. It was frustrating because nothing was posted at the trailhead or park office stating which trails might be closed. We would walk down a trail for a ways and find it randomly closed. In the end, we still enjoyed the cool but sunny morning. Somehow we got on the topic of geocaching and randomly decided to see if we could find one with an app on Chris’ phone. We haven’t geocached seriously in 7-8 years. The ‘sport’ has definitely changed since then and we found the geocaching app behind a paywall for many aspects of the service. We were able to see that there were caches in the area and use the GPS on the phone to get close enough but I had to log into our account on the computer and figure out via the map which cache we ended up doing in order to log it. The best part of the caching experience was knowing our caching sense was still pretty good. An ammo can in the woods 8 years ago is still an ammo can in the woods today!

And now for some photos!


Hackberry bark…Celtis laevigata

Normally we find trifoliate orange when we’re out exploring but we actually found an edible citrus growing next to the trail! What? Is this Florida? No fruit, though.







One giant cottonwood!




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