The Last Wildflower Walk for Awhile
It’s looking more and more like our hike at Lake Somerville State Park two weekends ago is going to be our last hike for a good while. Last weekend we had camping reservations at a state park just an hour from here on the west side of Houston but opted to cancel due to the rain forecast. It was a good decision but I was already concerned about using the bathrooms. Most state parks do a decent job of cleaning up every morning but still…you can only control the surfaces you know, right?
And even up to this weekend I thought that maybe we’d get out and go somewhere less busy to hike this coming weekend, however it is looking like a few things are happening: a) too many people out on trails so we’d have to drive a bit further to get away from people, which is doable. b) imminent lockdown orders. Several counties in Texas are working their way into lockdown mode and though Houston/Harris county hasn’t gone that way yet (later edit as I drafted this earlier—they are now on stay-at-home-mode) (we are a county north and usually follow right after—also an edit: our county says they don’t want to do this yet because they still have faith people are going to be smart *snort*), Galveston county to the south of there did go on lockdown yesterday as did Dallas county the other day. It isn’t long before it happens to us. Which is fine, but still…I’m going to miss getting some hikes in this spring. But I’ll gladly give those up if we can get this damn thing under control sooner.
Every evening I find myself saying that I really need to finish reading the book I’m reading but then my lizard brain just reaches for the phone to endlessly scroll the latest on the virus and to find out which politicians are really idiots (that, of course, we already knew but boy, do these seal the deal. Dan Patrick I’m looking at you. Also, WTF Rand Paul? You’re a damn doctor!). So, I’ll take a breath and revisit these wonderful sights from our hike—and in the meantime I’ll be walking in our neighborhood and seeing what nature is doing around here.
Pointed Phlox, Phlox cuspidata—this is a nearly endemic species to Texas—all sightings on iNat are in Texas, though USDA Plants Database suggests it can be found in western Louisiana and areas of OKlahoma.
Yellow Star Grass, Hypoxis hirsuta
Nuttall’s Deathcamas, Toxicoscordion nuttallii, I wish I’d caught this one in bloom! They are really lovely when blooming.
Tenpetal Anemone, Anemone berlandieri
More tradescantia in a rocky outcrop where the trail swung towards the lake.
Texas Toadflax, Nuttallanthus texanus
Smallflower Fumewort, Corydalis micrantha
Drummond’s Phlox, Phlox drummondii
Old Plainsman, Hymenopappus artemisiifolius
Dwarf Plantain, Plantago virginica
Eastern Bluestar, Amsonia tabernaemontana–I was a little miffed we were early for these as I would have love to have seen them in full bloom!
An unidentified carex near Nails Creek—large clusters of them in this area.
Suffice to say, my nature will consist of taking notice of everything in our neighborhood and in the backyard and when I do get out to drive to the store I will probably be in awe of the changes going by that I’m not witnessing on a daily basis.
Are you sure you’re not able to take day hikes? The orders that have come down for Harris, Galveston, Chambers, and Brazoria counties all include “outside activities” as acceptable. Yesterday morning, the Galveston County Judge was on KTRH being interviewed, and he made clear that outdoor activities that respect social distance, including family outings, are not only acceptable, but encouraged. In fact, the golf courses are open for business. In parks, playgrounds, and campgrounds, it seems to be the structures that are off limits. I know there are parks in Houston that have closed because of the hordes of people there, but out in the country, no problem.
In fact, I happen to know where there are a passel of blue stars blooming along a Brazoria County road, and I intend to take myself there to photograph them. Further afield, the Watson Native Plant Preserve is open for visitors, with cautions about social distance. They have cancelled their spring wildflower walks, but going there still is possible.
Take a look at your order. In the ones I mentioned, it’s article iii in Section 2!