Texas

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Spring Wake-up at Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary

    Reaching back into late February with this post to go with a couple of others I wrote about our hike at the REL Sandyland Sanctuary. I actually had to look it up because I was unsure of who Mr. Larsen was, and it turns out he was an executive with Time, Inc. and as a conservationist later in life he organized the Nantucket Conservation Fund and joined the board of The Nature Conservancy, who later dedicated this tract of land to him when it became a sanctuary. A glimpse down to Village Creek before we headed for the trails. Swamp Azalea, Rhododendron viscosum I imagine it is a much different…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    The Painted Bunting Trail at Guadalupe River State Park

    Looking back at these photos from November feels like a lifetime ago. For one, it feels like nature was still abundant even if it was fall. There were butterflies and moths we saw during that Thanksgiving week we were camping—flowers blooming, nature was nature-ing. And now that we’re in this post-freeze haze and hurtling towards spring, I know growth is around the corner. But seeing these photos makes me happy. We’re going to go through the cycle once again. The Painted Bunting Trail is 2.8 miles and divided by the park road which allows you to park at one of two parking lots and allows you to make the complete…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Looking for Nature at Schreiner Park in Junction, Texas

    I realize I haven’t finished writing about our time camping and hiking at Guadalupe River State Park over Thanksgiving but I’m going to transition to a stop-over between that state park and South Llano River State Park, where we spent the second half of our camping excursion. Junction, Texas is a hill country town without the glitz and glamour of being a hill country town like Fredericksburg, Boerne, and similar have turned into. I mean, I love those places and cannot wait until I can be a tourist again and shop in little boutiques and enjoy local restaurants. Junction still has that small-town farm life feel, though it is a…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Aransas NWR at New Years

    We arrived at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge far later in the afternoon than I think we had expected. After leaving the house very early for the long drive down to Goose Island State Park and tinkering around there, plus a detour into Rockport for lunch which left us sitting in an obnoxiously long McDonald’s drive-thru line (thanks to a kiddo who only eats McDonald’s nuggets), and then eating said lunch at the Rockport beach park, we arrived at Aransas in mid-afternoon. Our first stop was the observation tower at the end of the road where, of course, a large group of people were already there. A photogenic group of turkey…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Goose Island State Park at New Years

    After our arrival to Goose Island State Pak back on New Years Day, we stopped off at the short boardwalk in the marsh on the north end of the bayside campsites. There were several wading birds in the areas, including these roseate spoonbills, to keep our attention for a few minutes. The wind was brisk, blowing off of Copano Bay from the north, so we were bundled up despite the sunny day. Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea Common Loon, Gavia immer Cannonball Jelly, Stomolophus meleagris There were quite a few cannonball jellies on the shoreline and it was a good opportunity for Forest to feel the hard, rubbery bell of…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    In the Company of Giants | Bald Cypress Trail at Guadalupe River State Park

    When many people think of bald cypress trees they immediately think swamps and wetlands, maybe focused in on the areas in the southern US. But the Texas Hill Country has some stellar examples of these trees growing along their creeks and rivers, and the ones lining the Guadalupe River are excellent specimens to behold! Some of the largest trees we’ve seen can be found on these banks, somehow evading the logging industry when their swampy counterparts didn’t. The ones along the Guadalupe River were a feast for the eyes and it didn’t take much to want to hug them and ask them what they had seen over the centuries, to…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    A Crisp Winter Weekend

    Right when Forest started school I looked up his school calendar to see what holidays he had off this spring. Most holidays Chris and I do not get off–the perils of working in the private sector. Boy, do I miss all of those holidays I used to get at my job prior to this one. And rather than suffer through working from home while Forest is off school for the holiday or Chris and I taking turns taking a day off, I figured we might as well take PTO and make it a three day camping weekend whenever these holidays came up. Of course, the first holiday was coming up…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Chinquapin Trail Loop at Huntsville State Park

    As the saying goes, “What a month this week has been!” Let’s step outside for a bit, even if it is in retrospect, to last Halloween weekend at Huntsville State Park. It was our first camping trip of the season, the first since our last one in late February/early March before the pandemic closed everything down. I believe it was Huntsville State Park that was our last camping trip, too! We set off for the large outer loop, the Chinquapin Trail, around the lake. Forest decided these roots along the trail were mountains to climb so he crawled up them and proceeded to do that for several others we found…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    September on the Lone Star Trail

    Whiteleaf Mountain Mint, Pycnanthemum albescens Digging back into some of my drafted posts, today we are going back to September and yet another jaunt on the Lone Star Trail. I really need to figure out what gaps we have left on this trail. We’ve very nearly finished a lot of the portion west of I-45 but there are some small gaps where we turned around and didn’t connect. This trip was after our yearly trip to a patch of beautyberries where we take birthday photos for Forest. A wine colored fruiting beautyberry. Violet Coral Fungus, Clavaria zollingeri This may be one of the coolest fungi I have ever come across…

  • Famous Trees of Texas,  Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    New Year’s on the Texas Coastal Bend

    We checked in with an old friend yesterday, The Big Tree, aka: The Goose Island Oak. We hadn’t been by to see it since Forest’s second birthday, before Hurricane Harvey. Of course, we had plans to visit the year he turned three but Harvey struck the week before and shattered those plans. And it has taken us this long to get back down to Rockport. She’s showing signs of wear and age but thankfully there’s a team working to keep her going after all these years. Before we made it to the oak, we stopped into the main area of Goose Island State Park to walk around and go out…