Martin Dies Jr. State Park
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Martin Dies Jr. State Park Hike
November 11, 2010
Hubby asked if I wanted to invite my sister & her kids to go with us and I said, ‘Sure!”
My “Sis” and her kids “B” and “L” joined us but prefer to not be pictured in my blog, in the famous words of Shrek “I like my privacy” (imagine that being said in my best Shrek voice.)
Thank GOD I have a Tahoe that seats nine people because we all piled into it and drove to the park.
We are used to going to parks that cost $3 to enter, so imagine my surprise when they said it would cost $15 for all of us to have a picnic and hike the 2.37 mile “Slough Trail“. Stewart and I had been thinking about getting a “Park Pass” for $60 (at that time) since we go hiking and picnicking so much. We decided to go ahead and buy one since $15 dollars of today’s charge is a quarter of the whole cost of the “Pass”. I did not realize that Texas Parks and Wildlife Parks were different than the Federal Parks we have been going to. But honestly these parks are really well maintained, so my money goes to good use.
Finally, we are on our way to our picnic. We choose a table out by the lake so we would have a beautiful view as we ate. I lay out my table cloth and set up the food. I learned from our last picnic that bringing my table cloth would be much better than trying to remind the kids constantly that the table is nasty and not to let your food touch it.
While we eat our sandwiches and talk, I snap a few pictures.
I did not know Magnolia trees had cones or that they had beautiful red seeds.
I think the trees with the Spanish Moss hanging from them are so beautiful. It reminds me of my childhood and my granny having it hanging from her trees.
I thought the hole in the tree was neat, Austin said it started at the bottom and went all the way through to this hole.
Austin hangs from the lantern hook and climbs a tree, probably showing out in front of his cousins. “B” picks up some of the Magnolia seeds to take home.
We load up our leftovers, our trash, and our family and drive over to where the hiking trail starts.
We take some group pictures and then we are on our way.
“L” seems to want to “speed hike” so we have to keep calling her back and telling her to slow down. She is missing nature as she walks through it so fast.
We are kind of disappointed that our “Slough” we are supposed to be walking through was all dried up. I tell them we will have to come back after we get some much-needed rain. We were hoping to see some Alligators because there are plenty in this park, but no slough means no gators close by. The only water we were seeing so far was the lake so we had the kids sit for a picture.
The girls are chattering constantly and leading the way with Adam hot on their heels. “Adam, don’t you do it!” I warn as I see the “hiking stick” go into the air. I am sure he was only acting out what he was imagining but I thought I should make sure. I figure their chatter was probably making him wish he could wap them.
We spot some neat mushrooms along the way. The first one we find is maybe a Honey Fungus Mushroom, although I am not positive. Next, we find a Puffball. I remember as a kid I would stomp these and send the spores flying, now my kids love it just as much.
Adam finds a small tree to stand on, trying to “surf” it, but he was too heavy and it just bent down.
We liked the bridges it made the hike more interesting. We kept hoping that each bridge would have water running under it but we were disappointed each time. Stewart goes to hop up on the edge of one to sit and “flop”, over he goes. I can always count on him to be the “comic relief.”
We also came across a snake skin, which Austin took as a sample to investigate further, but it gave us an opportunity to call the “speed walking” girls back and remind them why they should not walk so far ahead.
Anna finds a leaf that looks like a little canoe and puts it on her ear, “An ear cover” she announces then gets shy when I want a picture. I think she is only acting shy because her cousins are with us. Adam is not shy at all, he thinks his sister’s idea was the best idea yet, so he got a “cover” for each ear. His daddy and I think he looks like he belongs in a Star Trek movie. And of course, if you have ear covers you must accessorize with the fashionable nose cover too.
A few more mushrooms were on the tour. My best abilities to identify them, these are maybe a Butter-wax Cap, some kind of Cauliflower Mushroom, and a Shelf Mushroom. Do not take my word for it on these identifications because they are way to easy to miss-identify.
We continue walking and “L” says, “Hey there is an outhouse.” I crack up laughing. “Honey that is not an outhouse that is a deer stand.” I correct her between my giggles. A little while later while voicing my need for a restroom my oldest son so sweetly says, ” Well, mom, we could always go back to “L”s “outhouse and use it.” I start laughing again, “Son, I do not think the hunter would appreciate that very much.” Stewart pipes in, “Yeah, he wouldn’t have a deer around for miles.” We all have a good laugh.
After walking most of the trail without any water in the “slough” we finally come to an area that was swampy. By this time it was getting dusk and the frogs were croaking, crickets chirping, and mosquitoes swarming, but we did get to look at the trees and ferns that grow in a swamp area. The little ones were a bit worried that we might see an alligator and it beginning to get dark made that worries a bit more intense.
We finally get to the end of the hiking trail but we still have to walk all the way back to the car along the park road. We come up to the park store and I tell Sis and the kids wait for us here, Stewart and I will go get the Tahoe. Sis is relieved because her back was starting to hurt. The poor girl worked all day then I drag her out to hike 2+ miles. Not to mention the little ones were beginning to wear down. After a brisk walk we return with the car and we all pile in and head home. It was a good day.
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