More Photos from Brazos Bend

We took a few photos on our little camera that I thought I would post as wrap up for our trip to Brazos Bend State Park.

This Park will be one of those on the list of Parks I would like to visit again.  It probably isn’t as pleasant when it is crowded but it will be a nice place to go when it is cool in North Texas and we want a little warmer weather.

View from the Observation Tower
View from the Observation Tower

We are home now for a while and I’m committing to posting on our Crafting on Cumberland blog.  Check it out (but not before tomorrow) . . . www.ciemianquilts.wordpress.com

The Last of Brazos Bend

We left Brazos Bend State Park yesterday by 9 AM. We don’t usually get out on the road that early but we wanted to get back into DFW before Friday traffic hit. We drove straight through with only one quick gas/food break.  It only took us about an hour to unload everything since this was a short trip. It was still early, so we took the Airstream back to storage right away. After a stop for dinner and a trip to CostCo, it ended up being a long day.

Here are a couple of left over photos from the Park . . . We actually got to the Brazos River on our last day of hiking. I should take a minute here to clarify my last post – we hiked 30 miles over the 2+ days of hiking and found a total of 30 caches. I may have to go back an update my last post so no one (else) gets the wrong idea.

This river used to carry river boat traffic North and South during the 1800’s.  Some of the earliest Anglo residents of Texas settled along the Brazos River, including Samuel F. Austin and the Old Three Hundred.

Here is the lovely spot where we stopped on a bench for lunch.  The local Eagle Scouts and Boy Scout Troops have done a good job placing benches all along the trails.

We are home now for a month or so before we head out on our first big trip of 2011 – not sure yet where we are going . . . maybe Missouri and some of the surrounding areas.  We are planning a long trip to Colorado and Utah starting in late June.  I’m going to try and get back to posting to my Crafting on Cumberland Blog, although I’m giving serous consideration to combining the blogs.  Thoughts anyone?

Live Oak Trees

We weren’t expecting the giant Live Oak trees in this Park. The official TPWD site mentioned the alligators but not the big trees. For anyone outside of Texas, they keep leaves all year round – hence the name.

I just finished reading a book where West Texas ranchers would cut off the branches of these trees to feed to their goats during long droughts (The Time it never Rained by Elmer Kelton). It would be more accurate to say I listened to the book since it was from Audible. I like to listen to books at the gym or while I’m sewing. My next … The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo.

Back to the trees – this one was one of the largest we saw with all of it’s branches intact so I forced Alan to stand still long enough for me to take a picture.

30 Caches and 30 Miles

We spent another day out on the park trails and made our goal of finding 30 geocaches and hiking 30 miles.

We did pretty good today and found all except for 1 of the caches. Almost no one had logged that cache as found so it may not really have been our problem.

We left Max’s Geo-Dog Coin in “The Better Days” cache. Hopefully, the coin will make it back to Boston. It already travelled to Texas and now we are sending it back on it’s way to Maxwell. It was a pretty cool cache that was dropped down into this old tree. We did have to look at the hint but that was only because Alan looked right at the box an didn’t see it the first time.

Alligators

This Park was supposedly known for it’s alligators. We didn’t see any our first two days here and we were getting a bit skeptical about the whole thing. There were a lot of warning signs but sometimes the more warning signs, the less there is to be warned about.

Yesterday, we headed out on our first big hike. We had two choices – lakes or rivers. The campsites are kind of in the middle of the Park with the Brazos River to the East and several small-medium lakes to the West. We picked West.

This is really a beautiful Park. The trails are well marked and maintained. You could take a nice bike ride on the gravelly paths. We saw a decent number of people, especially for a Tuesday, out fishing, bird-watching, biking or just walking. When we got to the northern-most point of the Park, it was pretty secluded and quiet.

This is where we finally saw our first alligator! He was sunning himself along the side of a small pond.

When we got further around and down near 40 Acre Lake there were alligators everywhere. They weren’t generally as big as the ones we saw in the Florida Everglades but we did see this one big guy sunning himself on a little island. He was still in the same spot when we came back a couple of hours later. Alan figures he was 10-12 feet long.

We had mostly a good day geocaching with 8 finds. But, we were very frustrated with two caches and never found them. The first was supposedly around this big oak tree near the visitor center. Several people had commented that it was hard to find and the clue was no help. We looked all over for a half hour before we gave up.

The second one was supposedly hanging in some vines but we could never find that one either. The hint was a poem that wasn’t much help at all! We were tired by then and didn’t search for that long but we still gave it a good try.

Today is a do-nothing day. I’m going to do some sewing on my scrappy Bonnie Hunter Cathedral Stars quilt. Tomorrow, we will head out to hike the river.

A Cache of Geocaches

As my friend Sherill has noted, we haven’t done a lot of geocaching over the last year. We finally broke down and bought a new hiking GPS this winter which is going to help with the caching issue (and hopefully keep Alan from cursing at the GPS software when trying to load maps.) The new GPS can save all of the cache info, including the clues right on the device. No more printing out paper and carrying it along on the hike.

We did a bit of caching on our last urban hike (more about this some other time.) Brazos Bend State Park is our first opportunity to do geocaching on a wooded hike and there is plenty of opportunities – there are more than 60 caches in the Park!

Yesterday, we headed out for just a short hike (we define a hike as “short” when we don’t need to take a pack.) We found 6 caches in less than three hours within 6 miles.

The hardest one is pictured here – hung in a tree! We figured it was at around eye-level since there weren’t any significant landmarks (e.g. big tree) in range and there wasn’t any real clue with the cache info. We were just about to give up when Alan spotted it.

We almost gave up on our last cache of the day. It turns out we had walked right past it on the way in. There were notes about it having been moved because of a big snake being under the box. Usually, we find the cache within 20′ of the coordinates but this one was a little further than that.

The area of the Park we hiked yesterday was lovely – big trees and a little Lake. They claim there are a lot of alligators here but the only thing we saw near the water was a bunch of turtles. I wish I could have gotten a picture but they dive right into the water if they hear anything!