It has been awhile since I’ve done any Nature In The City posts so yesterday I got outside to a local park to explore. Burroughs Park is part of the Spring Creek Greenway project and part of the larger Houston Bayou Greenways around the metropolitan area. In the spring of 2012 I visited another park further east down Spring Creek, the George Mitchelle Preserve.
I took a lot of photos so I will be breaking it out into two posts, with the second post coming later this week.
First off, I was surprised by the size and activity in the park when I arrived. There’s a long, winding road that goes up the middle of the park and I had to drive it to arrive at the far north parking area to get to the wooded hiking trails. As I drove through though, I noticed a lot of soccer games going on at the facilities in the front; runners, bicycalists, and rollerbladers on the paved sidewalk and roads; and quite a few people fishing and picnicking at the pavilions. I was also excited to see in their fishing pond ten or so weeping cypress trees planted in the pond! I have never seen them in plantings aside from the two in our yard. Needless to say, this place was hopping with activity on a Saturday morning.
As I was scouting this place out for a hiking destination I was aware the trail system was much more intricate than the posted trail maps allowed for, with multiple smaller trails branching off here-and-there, so I kept that in mind as I started out.
Within the first few minutes on the trail I encountered a man with his two children. Good, there was some activity back here! When I made it to a trail junction I saw folks off to the left so I went right. After that it was pretty quiet until later on in my hike.
As I was walking the trail narrowed a bit and I found a mesic to wet area that looked enticing so I jumped off trail to explore. A tree had fallen over to provide interest and I saw royal fern (Osmunda regalis) scattered about with a few other ferns. Popping up here and there were Chinese tallow trees, to which I ripped up the saplings I could. No need for them to continue making havoc.
A little ways down that trail I found myself crossing a pipeline right-of-way. I had several options and decided to head downhill where I could visibly see it was wet. I didn’t go too far down the pipeline and then found what appeared to have been an old trail that was overgrown. It looked enticing so I jumped off it to see where it would lead.
With the pipeline still in sight to my left, I found a dry drainage. I was surprised it was dry since we’d had several inches of rain at the end of the week. I opted to follow the drainage to see where it led. If it went nowhere I could easily turn around to go back to where I came from.
The drainage dropped me back out on yet another trail and to the left I could still see the pipeline, so I hadn’t meandered very far off whatever course I had been on. Rotting logs and dead trees provided ample opportunity for fungus encounters.
We’ll have to continue our explorations in the park another day—so stay tuned!