Afternoon Walk In Nature…Boy Is It Ever Hot Here

Yesterday threw me a curve. It started out so much cooler than the preceding week…Only to end up so very much hotter by mid-afternoon. Here at the house we hit 92 at our hottest.

The heat of the day arrived at about the same time I arrived at Brazos Bend State Park just the other side of the Brazos River from us off of FM 1462 and FM 762.

This was a spur of the moment trip. I had been meaning to run over for a while to buy a yearly pass to the Texas State Park System and had been procrastinating. When I looked up from the computer after lunch and didn’t have any pressing business I decided it was time to make a “road trip”. So I tossed the camera in the truck and headed west.

After checking in at the entrance shop and paying for a pair of yearly passes. I drove to Elm Lake to sit, walk and shoot some photos. As I settled in the sounds coming off the lake were very primal sounding. Between the birds, the insects, and the bass drumming of the reptiles it seemed like I was back in a dimly remembered and ancient ancestral memory.

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Brazos Bend is a really nice place to spend some time. I haven’t been by in  a few years but I plan to spend more time there in the future. Here is what the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service has to say about the area…

Brazos Bend is on the comparatively flat Texas Gulf Coastal Plain and falls within the Coastal Prairie Vegetation Region. Most of the park land is in the Brazos River floodplain, but there are areas of flat uplands typical of the coastal prairies.

The Brazos River bottomland and portions of Big Creek support a mixed hardwood vegetation community which includes pecan, elm, sugar hackberry, various species of oaks, and numerous species of shrubs and vines. Gallery forests along the river, creek banks and bayous are dominated by sycamore, cottonwood and black willow. The old meander escarpment of the Brazos River is characterized by magnificent moss covered and vine draped live oak woodlands. The flat uplands support tallgrass prairie, and the numerous swales and depressions become ponds during periods of heavy rainfall.

In addition to the Brazos River, the major water course is Big Creek, which meanders diagonally across the park and is associated with sloughs, bayous and cutoff meanders called oxbows. Two of these meanders form natural oxbow lakes, and two other oxbows are manmade by the channeling of Big Creek. Other lakes, such as Elm and 40Acre, have been created by levees, dissecting the main channel of the ancient Brazos River. Pilant Lake, a shallow, freshwater marsh, is shared by the park and private landowners.

It is the lakes that draw most of the attention…And wildlife. I enjoyed my time sitting and watching and listening. It was a great couple of hours on an otherwise too hot afternoon. One of the main attractions at Brazos Bend is the abundance of American Alligators. The reptiles are so abundant they have become the symbol for the park. With it being so hot though, for so early in the season, the big guys were soaking in the cool of the water…Mostly out of sight.

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