Even though I grew up in Texas, I lived only a few minutes from the Louisiana border. Texas is not known for its’ swamps and bayous like Louisiana is, but the Texas I know and love is. I took this photograph at an RV park in Orange, TX while greeting some out of town visitors. My friends and their dogs did not feel welcomed to their vacation spot as they arrived at their destination to see a pond full of alligators within walking distance.
Before I moved to the Pacific Northwest my husband and I were living in a small town in the Texas Hill Country, Pipe Creek, TX. Everyday it was certain that the whitetail deer would pay us a visit in our yard. The animals were so familiar and comfortable with people that we could feed them right from our hands. The picture shown is one of the regular visitors to our home each day.
Concan, TX has the second largest bat population in the world, but the largest one open to the public. It is quite the experience to see over 10 million Mexican free tail bats as the come into the evening sky from the Frio cave in the Texas Hill Country.
Hiking on the trails in WA state is one of my favorite things to do. I owe many thanks to all the volunteers who help maintain and keep those trails safe throughout the year. This is one of the many reasons my husband and I decided to join the WTA work party in repairing a section of trail on West Tiger Mountain, an area we often enjoy hiking together. The day started with temperatures just below freezing, leaving a sheet of ice on the windshield and a dense fog in the air. We arrived at the parking lot near the trail-head for the Tiger Mountain Trail just in time to join the carpool. The group caravan followed the power lines driving up the service road, parking at the trail-head for the Section Line Trail. After hearing the safety guidelines and learning about the tools we would be using, we gathered our materials and began hiking up towards Poo Point. We split up into smaller groups, at which point our group became responsible for repairing the middle section of the Section Line Trail.
My husband and I mostly focused on repairing trail dips and ditches to allow rain water and snow melt to flow away from the trail. We rested during small breaks throughout our day as needed enjoying small sugary snacks provided by our trail leader. We took delight in a much welcomed lunch break until we realized how frigid the air was. Soon we went back to repairing the trail welcoming the warmth we gained from the labor of repairing ditches. Even though it was a full day of hard work, it was worth the conversation with new friends sharing hiking and backpacking stories. I also took pleasure in hearing about all of the hours my new companions had spent over the years helping the WTA through work parties, volunteer vacations, and back country response teams.
As the sun made it’s way towards the horizon, we gathered our seemingly much heavier tools and made our way towards the trail-head. According to our work party leader, the entire work party cleaned 44 drain dips, 450 ft. of ditch and one culvert and also replaced a water bar and brushed 75 ft. of the trail. As we cleaned the tools and returned them to the service vehicle, our day ended with the warmth of hot cocoa and cider paired with tasty cookies. I can’t wait to join the WTA for more volunteer opportunities and the chance to have my very own customized hard hat!