With so many places to visit in TX, it would take a lifetime to show them all.
For "Travel Tuesday", here are two places close to where I live:
W.G. Jones State Forest
"If you want to experience an urban wilderness, visit William Goodrich Jones State Forest. It is located on F.M. 1488, 1.5 miles west of Interstate 45 in Conroe, Texas. "
(From Me: I used to drive past this State Park every weekday to go to work, and I never visited it. Best things are usually right on our own doorstep.)
"The forest was purchased in 1926 and named after W. Goodrich Jones, the founder of the Texas Forestry Association and considered the "Father of Texas Forestry". The healthy and productive forest that exists today is a result of public forest stewardship after heavy logging, devastating wildfires and insect epidemics that were common at the turn of the century. Jones State Forest is managed to encourage Red-cockaded Woodpeckers.
The primary purpose of this forest is resource education for all Texas citizens and visitors. Sound scientific forest management that protects and perpetuates native flora and fauna is practiced. It is a working forest owned and administered by the Texas Forest Service.
The forest is an outdoor classroom, with resource education, demonstrations, and nature study. Group educational tours are available by appointment.
Recreational opportunities include: birdwatching, hiking, horseback riding, picnics, wildlife viewing, and biking."
"Prescribed fires are set annually, and the mature pine areas are burned once every three to five years. The self-guided Sweetleaf Nature Trail is located in the northwest corner of the forest; it serves as an ideal classroom for learning about typical flora and fauna of southeast Texas."
Read more at Trails.com: W. G. Jones State Forest | Conroe Texas Bird Watching Sites | Trails.com http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailId=XFA044-072#ixzz1f1hoaABM
W. G. Jones State Forest in Conroe, Texas.
About the Prescribed Burns
This video is one in a series about the forest.
"Today's video highlights the use of fire for habitat restoration. Most firefighters are responsible for putting fires out, but Texas Forest Service firefighters also start fires to help the forest and its occupants.
Fire is a natural component in many ecosystems. It is integral to the function and biodiversity of numerous habitats. Organisms in these habitats have adapted to withstand and exploit natural wildfires.
Unfortunately, campaigns in the United States have historically molded public opinion to believe that wildfires are always harmful. This view is outdated and incorrect. Fire suppression, in combination with other human-caused environmental changes have resulted in unforeseen consequences.
In an effort to restore the balance in the pine forest ecosystem, fire is commonly used as a management tool to restore the habitat and increase wildlife. On the Jones State Forest, fire is used primarily to control understory plant species that could impact the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Fire eliminates mid-story vegetation which predators might otherwise use to access woodpecker nesting cavities. Controlled "prescribed burns" also reduce the likelihood of uncontrolled and disastrous wildfires."
The bird video mentioned about the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers will be in my "Winged Wednesday" journal.
The Swinging Bridge
There are many trails:
Sweet Leaf Nature Trail | Jones Tr. | Jones Lake Tr. | Park Tr. Gravel Pit Tr. | Cochran Tr. Deep Gully Tr. N & S | Cutoff Tr. Nature Tr. | Well Tr. | Buckhorn Tr. | Surcey Tr. | RCW Tr. Upper Horsepen Tr. | Middle Horsepen Tr. | Lower Horsepen Tr. N & S Boundary Tr. | Lookout Tr. | W.G. Jones State Forest Tr.
Here is the Sweetleaf Nature Trail:
Sweetleaf Nature Trail, W.G. Jones State Forest, Conroe TX
"This video is one of a series that describe things to see and do in the Forest. It highlights the Sweetleaf Nature Trail. It is one mile long and meanders along Rice Branch, crossing the creek in two places. Interpretive information and exhibits encourage "teachable moments."
To use the trail, go to the Forest Service Office on FM 1488, 1.5 miles west of Interstate 45. Pick-up a trail guide and obtain the access code to the gate. The forest is open around during daylight hours only. Office hours are 8 - 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
For more information, call the office at 936-273-2261.
More about this forest:
This one is even closer to where I live:
Stubblefield Lake, Sam Houston National Forest, Texas
"Stubblefield Lake Recreation Area was built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. Just an hour north of Houston, in the Sam Houston National Forest, Stubblefield offers great outdoor experiences, including camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking and picnicking."
Stubblefield Lake is home to a variety of fish including largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. The calm waters of the oxbow lake invite canoeists, and just five miles downstream lies Lake Conroe. Boating is great way to pass the time and get some good catches as well. If the fun goes into another day or you want to see what more the lake has to offer you can spend the night in the campground located around the lake."
What We Saw
"A lovely trip to the San Jacinto River and Lake Conroe. We put in at Sam Houston National Forest just beyond the Lake Stubblefield campground.
I was a little confused - I came thinking I was at Lake Stubblefield to paddle but then the put-in was in the San Jacinto River and we were planning to paddle down to the 1375 bridge over Lake Conroe. But I found out that after Lake Conroe got built, Lake Stubblefield became a part of Lake Conroe.
Today it exists as a little side lake off the main trail but is apparently open so one can paddle from the San Jacinto river into the north end of the lake and then take a path through the heavy vegetation - lots of hydrilla - back to the river and on into Lake Conroe from the south end. And the lake is just pond sized.
After we came out of the narrow river channel, the lake was very wide with Forester terns fishing ahead of us a few ring billed gulls flying about, and lots of cormorants sitting in trees drying their wings or swimming and diving.
Several great egrets were fishing in the hydrilla along the edge of the lake. We also had a small flock of 4 white pelicans and 1 cormorant flying over us. I think the cormorants - these are the double crested variety - have learned to stay close to the white pelicans to make getting a meal easier. When I came over the bridge on 1375, there were about 30 pelicans with at least as many cormorants swimming among them. White pelicans typically fish by getting in a circle and herding fish towards the middle and catching them as they try to swim back out. I expect the cormorants dive into the center of all this for fish of their own."
More about Stubblefield Lake.
"Explore Stubblefield Lake, Sam Houston National Forest, Texas. Sit back, listen to the birds, watch the scenery, and view the wildlife. NO, the alligators did not bite the boat! Nature sounds were recorded from the boat."
On This Day: Nov 29, 1947:
U.N. votes for partition of Palestine
"Despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations votes for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.
The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to the 1910s, when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled territory. The Jews were Zionists, recent emigrants from Europe and Russia who came to the ancient homeland of the Jews to establish a Jewish national state. The native Palestinian Arabs sought to stem Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state.
Beginning in 1929, Arabs and Jews openly fought in Palestine, and Britain attempted to limit Jewish immigration as a means of appeasing the Arabs. As a result of the Holocaust in Europe, many Jews illegally entered Palestine during World War II. Radical Jewish groups employed terrorism against British forces in Palestine, which they thought had betrayed the Zionist cause. At the end of World War II, in 1945, the United States took up the Zionist cause. Britain, unable to find a practical solution, referred the problem to the United Nations, which on November 29, 1947, voted to partition Palestine.
The Jews were to possess more than half of Palestine, though they made up less than half of Palestine's population. The Palestinian Arabs, aided by volunteers from other countries, fought the Zionist forces, but the Jews secured full control of their U.N.-allocated share of Palestine and also some Arab territory. On May 14, 1948, Britain withdrew with the expiration of its mandate, and the State of Israel was proclaimed by Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion. The next day, forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded.
The Israelis, though less well equipped, managed to fight off the Arabs and then seize key territories, such as Galilee, the Palestinian coast, and a strip of territory connecting the coastal region to the western section of Jerusalem. In 1949, U.N.-brokered cease-fires left the State of Israel in permanent control of those conquered areas. The departure of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs from Israel during the war left the country with a substantial Jewish majority."
Nov 29, 1991:
Dust storm causes massive pileup in California
"A massive car and truck collision in Coalinga, California, kills 17 people on this day in 1991. More than 100 vehicles were involved in the accident on Interstate 5, which was caused by a dust storm.
Interstate 5 runs north and south between Southern California and Northern California. On Saturday, November 29, there was considerable traffic on the highway as people were returning home after Thanksgiving. The area of the highway near Coalinga in the San Joaquin Valley is usually prime farmland. However, in 1991 many farmers had decided not to plant their fields because of severe drought conditions, leaving long stretches of dusty soil near the highway.
As the winds strengthened to nearly 40 miles per hour on November 29, dust swept over the highway, severely hampering visibility. Suddenly, a chain reaction of collisions developed over a mile-long stretch of the highway. One hundred and four vehicles, including 11 large trucks, were involved in the massive collision. It took hours for the rescuers to find all the victims in the continuing dust storm. Seventeen people lost their lives and 150 more suffered serious injuries. Meanwhile, thousands of people were trapped in their cars for the nearly an entire day until the highway could be cleared enough for traffic to pass.
The same stretch of highway was the scene of a similar, but smaller, incident in December 1978 when seven people died and 47 were injured in a large chain collision. Another storm in December 1977 caused residents to develop a flu-like respiratory infection, known as Valley Fever, from breathing in large quantities of dust."
(Shows that you have to be extra vigilant when driving at all times.)
As neither Jay nor Ray would be here, I thought I had better stick to our usual work schedule of 9 to noon doing something more constructive than surfing the net. Put me in front of a computer and I will research information for hours. Some of it winds up on this journal.
As the low was 29 deg, it was still chilly when Misty and I went down to Jay's as I had to take something there. Misty and Maddie wanted to stay in their house while we had coffee on their porch. When we came home, I got cracking on various jobs around the house. I have been looking for my late dog's little coats as I know they will fit Misty. I remembered that one of them needed a couple of stitches, so I looked through the mending bin. One thing lead to another, and I mended quite a few things, so then they had to be washed and put away.
Levi's little doggie coats still haven't been found. During the years of fostering dogs, and never finding a dog that could hold a candle to my little Levi, I may have got rid of them. I never dreamed that dear old Misty would become mine five years after losing Levi. I had groomed her for years before her "Dad" died. Misty and Levi were good friends.
Surprisingly, I wasn't sore from being on my feet most of the day at the flea market, but when we go shopping I get a lot of steps in anyway. I made sure I was wearing comfy shoes with arch supports. Lugging boxes around is not new to me, so my old bod is used to it. Even being out in the cold wind doesn't seem to have affected me either, but I had dressed for it, even wearing a head scarf and long johns!
We left unloading the van for a more temperate day.