Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A brief visit to Central Texas

The past few nights we stayed in Lockhart State Park.  There are only about 20 camping sites, half with electricity/water/sewer, the other half with electricity/water only.  The sites with sewer access sit higher than the park road and on open prairie.  The rest of the sites sit below the elevation of the road and are nestled among trees along the banks of Clear Fork Creek.  Whether out in the open or tucked into seclusion, none of the sites receive reliable access to cell phone or mobile internet access.  That's perfectly fine if your goal is to escape into nature and away from modern technology.  But when your business is mostly online, it's a real pain.  Fortunately, our stay there was short and we were still able to check on our project located on the premises of Golden Age Home.

If you have the time and means to spend time in Lockhart State Park, I wholeheartedly recommend it.  Pick up some world famous barbecue -- Lockhart is the barbecue capital of Texas, you know -- and bop over to Schroeder Park on the grounds of Golden Age Home on 183.  (That is our project.)  Choose from Smitty's, Black's, Kreuz, or Chisholm Trail.  All are great and each has something special to offer.  While you relish in the divine Lockhart dining, let your eyes delight in the dance of the plants native to the Blackland Prairie.  Full sun, brutal breeze, mostly ambient rainfall: this is one durable yet beautiful garden.  Back at the park...birds and butterflies congregate on the many native plant species along the creek and hiking trails.  During our stay we did not focus on documenting bird species, but we could not ignore the woodpecker tapping out a rhythm on the tree next to our site.  Neither David nor I got a good enough look at it to identify which species of woodpecker.  We did however observe a variety of butterflies, a couple that are new to us.  Like our visit to Cedar Hill State Park, there are Pipevine Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Hackberry Emperor in Lockhart State Park.  Other species include Gulf Fritillary and Southern Dogface.  New sightings for us were a possible Dainty Orange Sulphur and two Bordered Patch.  Another we have not properly identified yet.  Its forewings look almost pink and the hindwings are mostly orange.  Maybe it's a type of blue?  If anyone knows, please send me a link to a pic.  Help!  There were probably about 50 of them following us along the hiking trail.  One would expect me to snap a photo, right?  These nervous-flappers kept fluttering away whenever I approached.  No pics yet.

Fishing is permitted in a couple of areas inside the park.  One of the "hot spots" is next to the waterfall just downstream from our site along the creek.  Sage used her Barbie fishing pole for the first time!  I was back at the site, working, and could hear her clearly exclaim, "Daddy, this is so much fun!"  No bait, so no fish.  Lots of fun memories, though, and that's really what matters most.

Although we were only in Lockhart State Park for three days, we saw abundant plant life and took some stunning photos.  The photos of our project -- now almost six years old -- are lovely, too.  Tonight we will select only the best and post them just before we settle in for the night.  Destination, undetermined...for now.

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