I've discovered a few things over the last few months of walking almost daily in our neighborhood. First of all, walking helps with weight loss. Second, walking is a great way to exercise because you can do it anywhere. Third, I get bored easily.
When the weather started warming up this spring, Hubby, Iris and I began exploring the hiking trails in nearby parks and woods on the weekends. We usually walk quite far on these hikes, and we always enjoy the opportunity to get "back-to-nature".
Recently we took a day trip to Brazos Bend State Park to hike on some of the numerous trails. Hubby and I packed a picnic, grabbed my camera and the dog and drove about an hour to the park. Upon arriving we took a tour through the Nature Center, where we saw baby alligators and several different snakes. The park has a great educational center complete with exhibits, programs and a Junior Naturalist Club.
We decided to skip the outdoor concert and headed out on a trail. Only 15 minutes into our hike we were in for a shock! There was a large alligator sunning himself on the path! Turns out Brazos Bend is well known for its alligators.
We stayed a good distance away as advised by the park staff. I switched to my telephoto lens to get some photos without having to get any closer. After a few minutes of waiting for the alligator to move off the trail, we decided we couldn't walk around it without risking our lives or that of our dog. Actually, we were in no danger, as long as we didn't get too close or annoy the alligator. After consulting the trail map, we turned around and found a new route.
I don't know how far we hiked that afternoon, but we walked for at least two hours. Iris was so hot and tired! I think her tongue was practically dragging on the ground. Poor baby, I need to get her a short summer cut. We took water with us, but no snacks. I was starving by the time we got back to the car! Luckily it was a short drive to a big, grassy picnic area with lots of wonderful shade trees.
Turns out, state parks are not just for camping (we did lots of that while the boys were growing up), but are great places to spend the day. With almost 80 state parks in Texas, it's easy to find one to enjoy.
Like most Texas State Parks, Brazos Bend has miles of hiking trails, fishing (no fishing license needed), wildlife and educational programs. State parks are a great value (children under 12 get in free) and family-friendly. If you're in need of an affordable vacation, try a Texas state park. Whether you camp overnight or just spend a day, you'll have a great time!
If you want to plan a trip in Texas, check out TravelTex.com for information.
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