Our recent trip to Rockport and surrounds included several ‘big trees’. I dutifully took pictures of them all, reflecting upon the similar big trees we have here in Beaumont Texas, many of which fell victim to Hurricane Rita, then Ike, and a few more to Harvey and Imelda.
Thinking back upon trees from other places, though—–
A very large cottonwood tree stood in the middle of Blackhawk Avenue in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. It was reported to be the meeting place of Blackhawk, the Indian chief during one of the discussions during some of the wars fought in that area. I recall seeing old photos of that tree…Blackhawk Avenue is the primary commercial street. It was cut down after being hit by lightening in the 1920’s to a lot of consternation from some, and good riddance to others. Another legend has Geronimo hiding out in one of the local caves.
There is also a large tree in the middle of the street in several Texas towns and perhaps other cities as well. They tend to be in the not so commercial areas. I seem to remember Gonzalez; there is one in Columbus and I’m sure there are others.
Here is one in LaGrange Texas, just two blocks north of the courthouse square.
Whooping cranes posed for us and for several other locals including a couple from Corpus Christi who had lived there for over 30 years but had never seen the whooping cranes. They have a festival in late February early March but by the second week of March, the cranes are headed north.
I took a few more photos and of the sun rise that morning–and it was time to head home.
Houston traffic is always iffy but we were there slightly before lunchtime.
We arrived home in time to collect Toby and Dora, take them to the dog park, and attend the monthly bee meeting.
New adventures await us.
Goose Island State Park is surrounded by water and suburbia. Along the banks facing the intercoastal bridge were two large areas of picnic shelters and two really nice bath houses. Unfortunately, Hurricane Harvey left these areas in what can charitably called disarray–and funds to repair have been slow in coming.
The road has large pits and is very uneven but a few fishermen were out including one with a fishing kayak.
We strolled along the banks of the levee—noticed the jelly fish floating near the shore.
The day was cold and windy–and we quickly retreated to our little cabin—by now we had figured out the optimum arrangement of the small electric heaters.
Mustang Island is the northern island of the Padre Island complex ranging from Corpus Christi to Brownsville. The beach is a long white sandy one—and the day we picked to visit had perfect temperatures.
We were mostly by ourselves on the lower portion of the beach and there was some wind–enough to keep us moving but not so much as to make it unpleasant. We strolled the beach, picking up a few shell fragments here and there–that urge is irresistible for Midwest natives—although we have quickly grown accustomed to thinking 50 degrees is COLD and required heavy coats–and definitely no water play.
Near the levees we found fisher people and lots of these little birds pecking away at something that must have been quite tasty amid the moss covered rocks. There were quite a few kites out–they are so fun to watch and so hard to get decent photos.
There were some Hispanic men with their children–tossing footballs, digging in the sand, playing with Tonka dump trucks, and eatimg barbeque sandwiches set up on a table underneath and small tent shelter—no girls except those under six were visible–a guys weekend out—and all were having a blast—their music was a nice selection and quite lively.
My step count for the day was nearly 16000 and my feet and back agreed.
Late in the afternoon on our arrival and nearly every day while we were there, we walked down to the harbor–actually the Intercoastal Waterway. On the first night, a flock of pelicans flew in and swam across the small harbor. They were so elegant in the water and resting for the evening. Later we found them resting on one of the piers.
Some piers have been rebuilt but others are still in disarray.
I don’t know if this is the result of Hurricane Harvey or whether this one was just one maintained but I enjoyed the graphic quality of those piers jutting out at various angles against the backdrop of ocean and barrier island
The day promised to be very chilly, windy, and rainy…not a good day for these arthritic bones to enjoy hiking. The cabin did not have central heat and we finally wised up and put one of the small space heaters in the bathroom so we did not have to work to soap between the chill bumps.
We drove about half an hour or a bit more to the Texas State Aquarium. Glen had been there when it first opened, thought it to be smallish and not to be compared to Shedd Aquarium in Chicago–the first aquarium I’d ever seen and full of art deco details.
We were very surprised when we got to the Aquarium. There is a lot of road construction (isn’t there always) but some of it was repair work due to Hurricane Harvey.
The place is quite large with large glass domes. The ticket price was also a surprise ($35 each and that might have been the senior discount). But inside—-there is a Starbucks and a restaurant inside. We toured the Caribbean area first and were entranced by the 12 coral flamingos.
There were sloths, scarlet ibis, a screamer bird, macaws, not to mention deep tanks of fish you could see from on top and then from the side.
Lion fish are so dramatic but they have taken over and are at the top of the food chain elbowing (if fish have elbows) other creatures.
We tried to identify the dolphins as they swam round and round in their tank; the otters came out to play–they are always so delightful, watched part of a bird show, and finally watched a 4 D Planet Earth movie.
It was a full day—and there were docents everywhere—all ready to explain the creatures and answer questions.
It was well worth that $35 dollar ticket.
Some years ago, I had the misfortune to slip and fall breaking the patellas on my left leg. I was fortunate enough–or dumb enough to work while on crutches. Having a standard vehicle meant I could not drive myself to work; husband drove me to work and while I was at work, took his motorcycle to various nearby places to photograph some of the wildlife. This wildlife refuge was one of his favorite places.
it had sustained some damage during Hurricane Harvey but had two large very tall lookout areas. Whooping cranes could be seen in the far distance and according to the rangers, there were several pairs.
It was windy and chilly up there but a great view.
This was labeled the alligator pond but none had read the brochure stating they would be available for photo ops that day.
We did find this young fellow crossing the road—there will be more about him much much later
And another BIG TREE—-I can’t remember how many we did see and we wondered if perhaps some of the ones we saw with multiple trunks within a very small area were a community instead of individual trees.
Forgot to mention the best part of our trip. Because we both qualified and did buy National Park Senior Forever Passes and then a Texas State Park annual pass–we didn’t spend all that much money on entry fees—except for tomorrow’s entry.
LIve oaks are known for their longevity along with sequoias. When we toured the western states retracing the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, we..like everyone else was stunned by their size—and took dozens of photos with one of us standing in front of a tree with our arms spread wide–to give an estimate of their size.
These trees are not as tall but they are equally large. Each area seemed to have a ‘Big Tree’ for us to admire. These trees have huge branches that lean down to the ground, some of them requiring props. One tree was thought to be over 500 years old, sprouting from an acorn when Coronado was looking for gold.
It is hard to see just how big they are as this one on Goose Island was fenced off but they are huge. In Beaumont our street is lined with them and in the McFadden Ward House museum there are two trees, brought back as saplings from a battle near San Antonio by a McFadden.
Wanderlust appears occasionally but with bees, chickens, and dogs, it takes some organization to plan even a short time away from home. The bees don’t require much work this time of year, time is spent building frames, boxes and planning for splits and honey collection. The chickens have gotten rather spoiled; they expect to be let out of the coop early in the morning, forage about in the yard for yummy grubs and bits of grass they convert into eggs—-dozens of them! And the dogs expect trips to the dog park rain or shine and disapprove of rainy cold nasty weather—if they had lower lips to stick out they would—and they eye us with disdain whenever the weather is not to their liking.
However, we got ourselves organized and took off for Goose Island State Park just a bit north of Corpus Christi. It was an easy drive and we arrived at our Air BnB around 2 in the afternoon.
Rockport was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey and recovery has been slow. Congress has been busy with other things. Some houses are without windows; plumbing problems seemed to abound, and only a few restaurants were open; one of them opening the last night of our stay.
Whooping cranes were once on the endangered species list–probably still are. They migrate annually from North Dakota, Wisconsin and such to areas along the Gulf Coast including Goose Creek Island State Park and the wild life refuge. I was surprised and pleased to see and hear whoopers upon our arrival.
The people across the little salt water marsh had a deer feeder; three or four whooping cranes and sandhill cranes gathered around it every morning and late afternoon. I could hear the whoopers flying overhead—what a noisy bunch they are.
One of the requirements of keeping a license in Texas is mandated continuing education including ethics. They must also be approved by the state Family Practice organization. Fortunately they put on some great conferences and the ethics hours are always a breakfast or lunch meal so relatively painless.
This year I attended the conference held in The Woodlands. The lectures were mostly interesting although I skipped the last half of the one on medical marijuana and CBD oil in favor of walking along the waterway behind the hotel.
The weather was absolutely perfect, sunny, cool but not too cool—perfect for walking. I really wanted to take a ride on one of those duck/swan/goose boats but did not see where they were launched.
It is not up to Riverwalk in San Antonio but it is pleasant.
There are various benches along the waterway–each one different.
I found a group taking Quincinara photos and another taking high school graduation photos.
Then there were the tile murals under the bridge.