Hiking

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Thanksgiving at Lake Brownwood State Park

    The lake was very low, still feeling the effects of the drought. Don’t cut hearts into the prickly pears, y’all. We made Thanksgiving camping reservations a little later this year and paired with only having the four days off instead of taking the entire week, we needed to go somewhere mid-range, not making the trek to South Llano River SP or the Davis Mountains as per what we’ve done frequently in the last several years. Plus, we’d already hit the Davis Mtns back during Spring Break in 2023, though I could easily go there twice a year or more if time was available. Lake Brownwood is “out there” in that…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors

    A Pre-Freeze Hike on the Lone Star Trail

    This bright red-orange sapling tree was stunning but I’m not totally sure what it is. First thoughts were black gum, Nyssa sylvatica, but closer looks at the leaves suggest maybe a Prunus or Pyrus. ID is welcome! Machine clearing in lieu of fire along one section of the trail. You know the terrain is getting good when you find the dwarf palmettos and the river cane! Lots of Sparse-lobed Grapefern, Sceptridium biternatum, along the trail right now. The floodplain section begins… Caney Creek A new find for us in Sam Houston and the westernmost plant on iNaturalist, Georgia holly, Ilex longipes. Hiker crew! Keely crossing a small creek. Ahhhh, the…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Exploring the Big Woods Nature Trail

    In December, after the three of us went to a volunteer workday at Watson, we stopped by the Big Woods Trail in Woodville at Heritage Village. I only found out this trail existed back in October when I did a different volunteer event at the Village with a couple of other Watson folks but at the time I didn’t have time to explore the trails. This time I had an agenda (hopefully more on that soon!) and I was also just curious about the trails, too. Here’s what we saw: There are less than a mile of trails but all of the little side trails make it feel as if…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    First Day Hike at Lake Arrowhead State Park

    It was January 2022 the last time we did a First Day Hike, that time we tromped around Tandy Hills and the newly opened Broadcast Hill trail system. Last year my parents were at our house for New Year’s so we didn’t get out for a hike. This year we spent the week after Christmas in DFW before Chris and I drove to Wichita Falls on New Years Eve to stay at our favorite B&B, the Harrison House in Wichita Falls. We first stayed there in late 2021 after our Charon’s Garden Wilderness Hike in the Wichita mountains and stayed there again on our drive back from New Mexico in…

  • Hiking,  Native Plants,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Thoughts,  Travel & Places

    The Big Thicket Solo Tract | May 2023

    I first heard about the Solo Tract at the Big Thicket from Linda Leinen when she started a blog series called A Year of Going Solo earlier this year. Since seeing her posts, I have dipped into this tract myself twice, the most recent time back in May. It’s very close to the Big Thicket’s Interpretive Center which makes it easy to access if you are short on time but need to get into the Thicket for a few moments. Some highlights from that trip: Wooly rosemallow, Hibiscus lasiocarpos blooming. Tall green milkweed, Asclepias hirtella—I was very excited to see this one in bloom! I love when I come across…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Thoughts

    Respite on Drakes Creek

    It was oppressively hot this weekend, as it has been for the last two weeks. Spring, our wonderfully mild spring, went *poof* once the calendar hit June. I’m glad we had such mild temperatures for so long, it made being outside much more enjoyable. Now? I’m re-thinking my twice daily laps around the yard at work. Opening the office door this last week has been met with the feeling of the inside of a furnace. So much for the pleasant tour about the yard looking for wildlife–I’m now hurrying to get my steps in and stretch my legs and back inside to the cool AC. Even outside time after dinner…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Weekend at Ivy’s

    A few months ago I was on the Texas Land Conservancy website looking into a property I wanted to get onto near Angelina National Forest. Unfortunately that property was closed to the public and so I went digging into their website a little more to find out just what public lands they had available that I could get onto. That’s how I ended up coming across the Spring Weekend at Ivy’s. I emailed the TLC first to ask if their $50 pricing included the entire weekend for the whole family and it did! I sent the link to Chris and after a brief conversation I officially paid the money and…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Butterflies at Medina River Natural Area

    Little yellow, Pyrisitia lisa Dainty sulphur, Nathalis iole Orange sulphur, Colias eurytheme Gray hairstreak, Strymon melinus Reakirt’s blue, Echinargus isola Orange skipperling, Copaeodes aurantiaca Gray hairstreak, Strymon melinus Ailanthus webworm moth, Atteva aurea Vesta crescent, Phyciodes graphica We went to San Antonio for a weekend getaway back in January with no real plans other than going to the zoo, eat at La Gloria on the Riverwalk, and going to the Alamo. I hadn’t been to the Alamo since I was in high school and I don’t know if Chris recalled when he had been, and it was Forest’s first time. We had driven by it several years ago but now…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Big Sky Country

    A week in the Davis Mountains, spring this time instead of our usual Thanksgiving. Which meant warmer, but much windier weather, and the beginning of spring blooms for plants we haven’t gotten to see bloom before. All the warm weather and early blooms will be dusted with snow this weekend as a cold front came through last night, our last night. The city of Fort Davis was preparing for the storm by salting the roads and brought out a big truck with some weird thing on the front, and after our southern sensibilities faded we realized was a snow plow! Hah! You certainly don’t see those around our part of…

  • Florida,  Hiking,  Native Plants,  Outdoors,  Travel & Places

    Mahogany Hammock Trail at Everglades National Park (2007)

    Let’s travel back to Florida and less depressing things like losing a state park—because nature continues on even while we fight to save it. I actually remember very little about this trail. I can recall part of the boardwalk and that there were mosquitoes but I don’t recall seeing some of these plants! The peeling skin-like bark of a gumbo limbo tree, Bursera simaruba The fruits of a Florida strangler fig, Ficus aurea A nurse log filled with long strapferns, Campyloneurum phyllitidis…a common scene in many swampy hammocks in south Florida. An orchid that has died, probably a butterfly orchid. Hammock viper’s-tail, Pentalinon luteum. This is one of the plants…