Friday, April 06, 2007

Hiking Lake Tawakoni State Park

This time of year, we honestly have no personal life. My dad lives approximately one mile away and yesterday marked only the second or third time I've seen him in 2007. David's mom lives a couple miles away, in another direction, and I could count the number of times we've visited her this year on one hand. Six long days per week we meet with clients, work on designs, prepare for speaking engagements, address various admin duties, and talk to many many people by phone and email. Often Sunday becomes cleaning/laundry/dishes day. But this year we are making a focused effort to spend one or two Sundays per month outside our home/office doing what we love best: playing outdoors.

A few weeks ago we hiked Cedar Hill State Park. April Fools' Day we made the hour-and-a-half trek to Lake Tawakoni State Park. The deluge the previous day flooded out many low-lying areas throughout the trail system. Mosquitoes were everywhere, making our hike a fast-paced clip to the end of the trailhead. Keep moving, keep moving. We had the trails to ourselves -- only we fools set out on a humid, hot, soggy, mosquito-infested excursion through this East Texas park. And it was an incredibly rewarding experience, surprisingly.

We found May Pop foliage standing all around us about 18-24" tall. The tropical-looking leaves are the size of dinner plates. David recalled seeing them 'in the wild' when he was in school in Pennsylvania, but confessed he had never seen them in their natural habitat in Texas. What a find. Wood Sorrel (a type of Oxalis) are blooming in small pockets at the base of trees. Vibrant, sapphire Spiderwort line the front where wooded areas converge with open prairies. Texas Toadflax, too. I fell in love with this little guy. There was also a yellow dandelion-looking plant (see pic below); I need to identify it ASAP. So cute. All of these plants grow without fertilizers, irrigation and human interference, and most are found naturally in shady areas.

David, Folsom and I finished our 5-mile loop completely sandy and muddy and with sopping wet feet. And despite all this, we had so much fun we talked all the way home about our experiences. Definitely, we recommend you check out Texas' most recently integrated park.

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