Travel & Places

  • 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…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Thoughts,  Travel & Places

    Down but Not Out

    *TLDR: Short backstory for what I’m talking about. Energy company created Fairfield Lake for cooling water for its power plant back in late 1960s. Early 1970s, they asked the state to put a state park in on part of the land. State leased the land for ‘free’ (re: yes, monetarily free to landowner but also consider the millions in infrastructure and staff put in by the state, but also the repercussions for the plant to pollute, tax incentives, etc, etc…so very much tit for tat here…) for 50 years. Energy company went bankrupt in mid 2010s, closed plant in 2018, decided to sell off portion of their property, 5000 acres…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    Mountain Pinks (Zeltnera beyrichii) at Pedernales Falls State Park

    Turns out when you stop blogging and trying to feed things through social media you just stop sharing all of the good stuff you have backlogged. Which means I have many things from the last three years to share, plus I know I do have the tail-end of Alaska in 2019 to share, too. We encountered these mountain pinks on the south side Pedernales Falls State Park, some along CR 201 but the white ones were encountered along the Juniper Ridge Trail in the far southeast section of the park. This was back in June 2021 when we rented a cute AirBnB in Dripping Springs for my birthday. Now revisiting…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Thoughts,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    May 2023 at the Big Thicket Pitcher Plant Bog

    In May, we spent a weekend around the Big Thicket, the same weekend we went to the Solo Tract. There will be several posts from this weekend as I divvy them up and share here. On Saturday evening before we went to the Watson Preserve to do some mothing, we stopped in at the Big Thicket Pitcher Plant bog to eat dinner, drive-thru Whataburger. I don’t think I had been to the bog in the early evening before so it was nice seeing it in a different light, literally. Sarracenia alata, yellow pitcher plants in the Big Thicket’s Pitcher Plant Bog Rhexia lutea, yellow meadow beauty–my favorite of the Rhexia…

  • 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…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    July at Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve

    At the end of July, Chris and I went over to Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve to do some archival document scanning for the weekend. Forest was in DFW with grandparents and it provided the opportunity to do this work without the angst of an almost 9 year old wondering when mom and dad were going to be done with their boring volunteer work! I actually didn’t get to walk around the Preserve that much because I was mostly stuck inside the gallery scanning—plus it was hot—but I did get out and see things a few times to take a breather. The area that was prescribed burned earlier this year…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    Variations on a Species

    I’m struggling with what to write here these days. Summer has breezed by, school has started (third grade for Forest!), and we’re limping along with summer until we can get to fall. I suppose the best way to write here is to actually just sit down and write. I almost put this off for yet another day/week because I haven’t actually edited my camera photos of these and so you’ll have to suffice with mediocre phone photos. At the end of July, Chris and I spent a weekend at Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve scanning in some documents there for preservation reasons. We took a break late in the afternoon…

  • Native Plants,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    Chance meeting with Lindheimer’s beebalm (Monarda lindheimeri)

    In early June I drove up to Fort Parker State Park hang out with a couple of friends for the weekend. Typically we get an Airbnb or a cabin at Fort Boggy State Park, but Stephanie and her husband recently bought a travel trailer and we have upgraded our options for meetups! I’ll write more on that trip later, but before I left I scouted directions on how to get there. I chose a slightly slower route in favor of looking for wildflowers and the chance to iNat in some lesser known locations. That decision paid off really well! I wasn’t more than 30 minutes from home when I spied,…

  • Mothing,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places

    Mothing at Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve

    A couple of years ago Chris bought lights and gear to set up so we could go mothing when we were camping, or even in our own backyard. What is mothing? Well, it’s looking for moths, of course! You can do it in a very basic manner, using a flashlight or porch light and try to attract moths that way, which does work to a limited extent. Or you can buy special lights, get a white cloth like a sheet or something similar, hang it up between some trees, and you can really get going with attracting moths! We’ve mothed in our own backyard and at many places we’ve camped…

  • 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…