Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rockport

Coming down with a bad case of cabin fever in anticipation of three days of rain forecast for Austin, I headed down to explore Rockport. How bad could it be? Most of my experience in Texas storms has been scattered cells, they might drop inches of precip but move on quickly. Little did I know what was waiting off the coast!

It's my first visit to Rockport. There is so much to do within a 20 mile radius I'm sure I will be visiting often. The gal working the kiosk at the Beach Park couldn't have been sweeter and she clearly loved Rockport, even in the 25 mile per hour wind!

Rockport Beach is 'man-made', about a mile long with piers at each end that resemble open arms reaching out into the ocean.

The storm was still aways off shore when I arrived so I took a long walk along the beach roads. There is a very cool 'salt water pool' for swimming, it's open to the ocean, though, and that means alligators can swim there too!

A traffic cop pelican was fighting the wind to stay upright on his post. While his comrades were hanging out on the island.



These little birds were not on my Texas bird 'cheat sheet'. I really am going to get the Bird app on my iPhone soon.

When the storm got worse they huddled together in groups standing in the swallow water.

The storm that blew in that night brought flash flood warnings and many inches of precip. It was parked over south Texas and not moving on. Still raining hard the next morning. I shopped at Walmart and Bealls, not much else to do in that kind of weather. I did drive along the beach just to check it out. Several low areas were flooded; it was fresh water, not from the ocean.


Finally, maybe 2 pm, the storm moved on to Austin, thank goodness! I went out for a walk, it was still really windy and my legs were beat from walking into that kind of wind.

Later I went out again to see the sky at sunset.

It was fabulous, so many layers of color!


I watched this 'sky shark' until he disappeared into the night...


Saturday morning, I had coffee with a fellow blogger. Barney (Old Fat Man Adventures) knows the Gulf like the back of his hand and now I know all the best places for my next visit!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Trees

I like trees, and take many pics, but seldom post. To change that....here is an old oak branch hanging across the cemetery wall at the LBJ National Park.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Year Hike

Some Texas state parks are closed on major holidays. I called to check on Thursday morning, Enchanted Rock would be open!

My plan was to walk the Loop Trail. It's a four mile walk around the base of the mountain. You might guess, the summit could not be ignored on such a gorgeous morning, so up I went. There was more water in the pools than I have seen before thanks to recent rains.



The modified plan was to drop back down the Summit Trail and pick up the Echo Canyon trail out to the Loop Trail and then back to the trail head.

The park has a really good map with some topo lines so I knew I was on the trail. It dropped over these loose slaps of granite and then into a stream bed of big boulders! Even my favorite mule, Rosie, could not negotiate this 'trail'. I was glad it was a cold winter day because I would not want to share this section with the rattlesnakes.

Shortly after the rough part, the trial passes Moss Lake. It's just a speck of a reflection from up on the summit. There's a walk-in campground near-by for the rock climbers. I bet they come in via the Loop trail and not the creek!

A long shot of rock formations near the summit.

It's fun to visit at different times of the year. Usually I take pictures of the lichen, this day it was moss.

It was also the first time I have ever seen water in Sandy Creek. Looks like the perfect place for a toddler to play in the water (hint, hint)!

Back to the telephone call to check if the park was open, the ranger I talked to sort of laughed when I asked the question. Now I know why, Enchanted Rock is evidently a New Year's Day ritual for locals. I had arrived early, all was quiet. Back to the parking lot about 1100 and the place looked like Pinecrest on the 4th of July!!! People, kids, dogs, cars everywhere, all having fun, and bundled up in their new Christmas gear. The concession was even open. Maybe it wasn't the wilderness experience I had expected, but the iced tea sure tasted good!

Blue Moon over Texas