Friday, March 18, 2011

Brazos Bend State Park

We hiked 5 trails at Brazos Bend State Park last Saturday.  I feel like saying 5 trails is misleading...two of them were straight paths and less than a mile...but this was my favorite hike location so far!

The first trail...err path...we walked was the Prairie Trail that was a short (.3 mile) out and back trail made of crushed stone.  We had a gorgeous day for a walk with a nice cool breeze, which for many parts of the park were great since there was little shade in areas, including the Prairie Trail.

The trail had an entry way of trees that opened to a path surrounded by tall red-brown grass.  It led out to a boardwalk over wet land area.  The prairie was outlined by trees.  It was very pretty and we were the only two out there.  I think the fact that it is such a short trail and a simple out and back that it doesn't get much draw, which is unfortunate.

The second trail we walked at the park was a short wooded loop and was my favorite.  It was a dirt trail where bikes are not allowed.

We were the only two on this trail as well and it was so quiet and nice.  You could hear the birds and the wind blowing through the trees.  And there was no sign of alligators, yes, alligators.  We will get there in a minute.

The 40-Acre Trail, and Elm Lake Trail were two loops connected by the Spillway Trail.  They were less shaded, but beautiful.  The terrain was mostly crushed rock and we had lots of company on these trails.  Many people walking, biking and pushing strollers. 

I was honestly a little stressed about the alligators that the hiking book promised.  I was not interested in a hike turning into a run from an alligator.

We started off small, and they were actually kind of cute...and really didn't notice we were there, not that I walked right up to him and introduced myself of anything.

I would say we saw 10 different alligators and some of them were quite large.  We did pass one group of people that were very intrigued by a very large one close to the edge of the trail.  They were taking lots of pictures of him and getting a little too close for me.  So close that the alligator picked up his head to look at them.  As I read in the hiking book and in the park warnings...this is not a good thing!  I am guessing these folks hadn't read up on this.  We didn't slow down to take pictures of this or stick around to see what happened.  I can tell you that the alligator they were entertaining was bigger than the one below.

We also saw lots of beautiful birds.  They were fun to watch. 

In all we hiked over 5 miles and it took us a little better than 2 hours.  Not a bad morning!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A View From the Floor

I have degenerative disc sounds a lot scarier than it is.  I think disease is a very strong word, it doesn't cause me sickness and the meaning of degenerative implies that it will continue to get worse over time, which isn't necessarily true.  I can tell you that my discs are weaker and do cause pain from time to time, one of those times is now.  Several years ago I had a fully herniated disc, one that my doctor wanted to operate on, so I know the kind of pain that can cause.  The signs of the beginning of a herniation are engrained in my mind, so I know when my back needs a break.  The best way to give it a break?  Take the pressure off of it.  The best way to do that?  Take to the floor!

I lie on the floor with my legs elevated, usually on the sofa, and this removes pressure on my lower back and gives it time to heal and rest.  It is rather boring, but it works...and provides an interesting the time to study the throw pillows on the sofa.  So glad I got some new ones for spring.  Love them!!  They are so happy.

Daniel is here keeping me company and not laughing at me too much.  Actually he is taking very good care of me, as are my colleagues at work.  I feel the love.

I am having a Bones marathon on that show.  I wish they already had the next season on streaming!

Sammy is super excited...she is thinking this is her lucky week.  She is bringing me toys, nesting on my quilt and sharing my pillow.  She is thrilled. 

I can't say that I'm thrilled, especially when she decides to smother me with kisses, but I am starting to feel better and I do have good company down here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Criss Cross Bangle

Last month I took class at Nova Beads in the Heights where I learned to make a "criss cross bangle"  I made a blue and clear crystal one in class and then made this awesome pink and blue one later. 

Love it!  I'm working toward doing more metal working with my jewelry.  I am taking another couple of classes this month, one for a ring and another for a pendant.  I'm looking forward to those!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hiking Weekend

We spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning checking out a couple of the trails in the hiking book that we recently purchased.  We had a great time!

Houston Aboretum

Daniel was excited to use his Garmin GPS toy that he got for Christmas.  We spent a little while in the parking lot when we got there while he got it all set up.  :)

The aboretum had lots of trails to follow and I think we hiked all of them!  We walked for about 2 hours and had awesome weather.  Some of the trail was rock, some dirt and there were some boardwalks.

There was a wetland area where we saw tons of turtles.

We also came across some blooming azaleas!

The trails were very well labeled.  I was teasing Daniel a bit about using his gps.

I fully enjoyed the hike, but it was very clear we were still in the heart of the city.  We could hear the freeway traffic beyond the park.

Challenger Park

Challenger Park is out in the League City area and is dedicated to the memory of the astronauts from the Challenger shuttle.  We went out there Saturday morning despite the gray skies.  We had no rain, but it was windy and a lot cooler than Friday had been.  Daniel's garmin needed new batteries which we didn't have, so we went without it.  Although I had made fun of Daniel's toy on Friday, I wished we had had it on Saturday.  The trails at Challenger Park were not as well labeled as those at the aboretum, so we had trouble deciding which trails we had already been on.

The trails were well covered by trees, which cut the wind a lot and made it much more comfortable.  There was definitely no traffic noise and it was a very relaxing hike!  The trails were dirt and grass covered and we walked about an hour and a half.  There were some lovely yellow flowers blooming and falling on the trail in one area.

And since we had no traffic noise to remind us we were still in the city...we were relieved to be reminded by some nature loving graffiti.  Kids, kids, kids...

What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I have been reflecting on things lately.  I seem to do that each year around this time.  Last Tuesday (really February 29th, but there wasn't one this year) would have been my dad's 75th birthday. 

I can't imagine him being 75.  I bet if he were still here, he wouldn't look a day older.  He died in 1999.  I can still hear his laugh and voice and see his face.  I hope that those memories never fade.  He was a great man, he was there when I was born and I was there when he died.  People say that is the natural order of things...and I suppose that it is.  I wouldn't trade that moment or experience for anything.  It was very comforting to be there and tell him I loved him and that he was the best father a girl could ask for. 

My mom told him he raised two strong women and he could rest in peace knowing that we would all be okay...and we are, but we sure do miss him.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spring Fever

Well, it is that time of year where we are having some gorgeous days in Houston!  I have spring fever and would like to be outside right now.  I have planned to take Friday afternoon off from work and go to the Houston Aboretum...I have never been there before and I can't believe it!

My husband and I are going to start hiking.  I love being outside and I love burning calories while exploring.  Win, win, right?  We bought a book called 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Houston, so the aboretum will be the first trail out of that book.

I'm thinking that once we get to the aboretum I will be wondering why I have not been there before.  The pictures I have found online are all very pretty and they have lots of activities and classes there (including yoga!!).  I'm leaning toward taking my camera with me.  I hope the weather is as nice on Friday as it was today.

Are there any great trails near you?