Brazos River Hike

After a really long hiatus, I finally made it back out on a trail. It was a great hike, too. Worth the effort – and this one took some special preparation for me! 

I hiked for an hour, and according to my car (parked in shade) thermometer, it was 102 fondly Fahrenheit out there. The weather app on my phone said 97, and I’m inclined to think it was mid-nineties on the trail, since I was in shaded trails almost the entire time, and down right on the overflowing banks of the Brazos a fair amount of that time. I had the trails almost to myself, despite Cameron Park being right in  the heavily populated outskirts of the city of Waco, Texas. Probably due to the heat and time, on a Monday afternoon. I was happy about it, anyway. Hiking in the morning is undoubtedly more sane in Texas as summer slowly heats up, but that’s not an option for me. This day, I was meeting up with my daughters, and my grandpuppy for the first time. We’d planned a picnic so the dog could be with his people, and I chose Cameron Park so I could arrive early and hike before the meeting. 

The plan went off nearly without a hitch. The hike was amazing, and even with the kids running late, I was so blissed out I just dried off in the car AC and ran to get a cold drink after the hike. Spoiled rotten, I am. Plus, by the time they got there, it was overcast and cooler, without actually raining on us. 

Looking down the river from high up on the bluffs.

I have to say, I was not expecting Texas to be this green. Or this wet. The river is a few feet over it’s banks, and I was unable to complete the loop trail I’d chosen, because the water was over it. 

The River Trail is maintained for cyclists and runners as well as hikers.

I took my time, ambling rather than my usual brisk pace (between photos). I stood and watched birds (and didn’t get photos that were clear enough to share). I even did something I never do on the trail, and I found a log and sat to rest for a while. I’m not used to this heat, and even packing water and drinking enough to keep me sweating, I was being very cautious. I also switched from the light sandals I’d worn to drive, into my Danner boots to keep my feet safe on the trail. I was packing a small firstaid kit, although I’ve realized I need to get salt tablets and keep those on me while hiking here. I was also good, and wore my new hat as well as liberally applying sunscreen before getting on the trail. In Ohio, I could be lackadaisical about the hikes. Here? I’m going to be much more careful. 

The river is a bronzed green, and I suspect later will be much the same. albeit lower.
A brilliant chartreuse lichen on these cedar trunks caught my eye.

Dragonflies drifted over the path in front of me, birds sang all around, epic spider webs glowed in white cones at the bases of trees, and a few flowers linger on in the heat. With the wild magnolias, and redbuds I saw, this should be an amazing spring hike while they are in bloom. 

A damselfly perches over the flooded trail.
Halictid bee on Acacia angustissima (Prairie Acacia)

In the heat of the day, I didn’t expect to see much wildlife, but there were plenty of squirrels with incautious attitudes to capture in the camera’s gaze. 

A telephoto lens helps keep me far enough to seem harmless.
This bright-tailed fellow even turned his back on me.
I kept seeing white spheres on treebark, and finally was close enough to see… ghost snails. Dried out and parched into bone-white mummies.

The trees here were mostly unfamiliar to me. Oaks, cedars (junipers, really, but the local common name is shared with yours truly), and I believe pecans. Will be interesting to delve into my books and start working some id’s out now that I am home. 

A small spider in her carefully woven web sparkled in the shadows.
A topography of moss, on the high bank.
A tiny dragon came to see what we were doing, when we picnicked at Lover’s Leap.

As I got to the picnic area where I’d meet up with my daughters, and stepped out of the car, camera in hand, I saw it. My first roadrunner! 

So fun to watch him bob, weave, and pant as he sprinted down the walking trail.

And not least, I got to meet Bugg, my daughter’s dog. He’s supposed to be part Chihuahua, but look at those ears. He’s obviously stepped right out of an Aztec wall carving! 

2 thoughts on “Brazos River Hike

  1. Roadrunners are called Paisano by the Mexicans.

    Texas is incredibly diverse in geological terms – – mountains, swamps, desert, pine forest, salt marsh, etc.

    A local business you might want to know about is Brazos Walking Sticks. They make good sticks, but you might find more joy in making your own from local wood species. If you’re interested in herpetology, Noah at NKF Herping on YouTube visits Texas every summer and has a lot of fascinating videos to watch.

  2. You got outdoors, took sensible precautions and enjoyed yourself. Wins all around.

    Of course your roadrunner photo triggered my “Where’s the coyote?” response. 🙂

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