Sunday, January 15, 2012

An Easy Day in McKinney Roughs

Clark and I have a goal of one awesome adventure per month in 2012 and with that requirement we drove a few hours northwest of Houston to McKinney Roughs Nature Park. This park is part of the little-known, publicly-accessible wildernesses of the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Clark and I left Clark's house in Cypress, Texas at 7am and were signing the McKinny Roughs visitor's logbook a little before 10am. This park has 18 miles of beautiful hiking and multi-use (mainly horseback, no motorized vehicles) trails. Clark and I managed to cover 13 miles of these trails before leaving at 5pm. Here are some of the highlights:

Visitor's center, classrooms, and dorms.
VisitorsCenter

Inside the visitor's center were the usual displays of lizards, snakes, fish and bones.
exhibits1

fish

snake

A fake Native American lodge. It lacked the inner-sheath of a true lodge.
lodge

The trails ran down to the Colorado river and up to assorted bluff overlooking miles of farm and ranch land.

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Trail

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The Colorado river.
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Cook's Island.
CooksIsland

Clark on a bluff.
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Clark at the Colorado river.
Clark

Me on the Colorado.
Me

A cool tree.
Tree

McKinny Roughs is a beautiful place and relatively close to Houston. It wasn't touched by the wildfires which ravaged the nearby Bastrop State Park. Camping did not seem to be allowed in the park but I'm not totally sure on that. Hunting isn't allowed (and we saw some incredible buck deer) so it's a good place to go during hunting season if you are concerned about that sort of thing. The trails did have a lot of change in elevation, I think something like 500-600 feet from river's edge to the higher bluffs and it definitely had Houston flat-land hikers like Clark and I complaining a bit on the longer up-hill runs. We were there on January 2nd and didn't see too many other hikers other than a local hiking meet-up group and 3-4 families near the visitor's center. There were a fair number of ladies riding horseback, though. Hmmm, now that I think of it we didn't see any guys on horseback. Weird.

Anyway, Clark and I really liked it. If you are bored of the long, flat pine-tree trails around Houston this place is really worth the drive...assuming things don't go completely nutso over in the Middle East causing gas prices to leap up over $5 per gallon though that does seem more and more likely...

Adventure! Excitement! Women on horseback!!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Some call me "Blast".

Smallest New Year's Eve party in years.
fireworks

Yeah, I love the smell of gun powder. It's the smell of...well, gunpowder.

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groundbloom

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sparklers

Adventure! Excitement! Boom!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Five-Wheeling in Pundt Park

Pundt Park, along the east side of Spring, has been open for a while now but they just finished a multi-use trail along Spring creek that runs a little over 8 miles to Jesse H. Jones Park. This trail is paved with asphalt, making it a great bike path.

The trail starts off to the southeast of the main parking lot. Take the paved road loop until you get to the gravelly-asphalt path that branches off Deer Lake Trail (see map below).
PundtPark
The gravelly-asphalt stuff lasts about a mile then turns into a nice, paved surface.

The trail winds around, up, and down through the woods and past small lakes near the creek. Some of the hills might be a little steep for a small child on a single-speed bike but our multi-geared tandem bicycle and trailed-bike had us flying down the path on New Year's Day.

Mambo riding behind me.
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Misseswether and Mambowether cruising on their 2-wheeler.
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A small lake along the trail.
lake

It took us a little over an hour to go 4.5 miles then we stopped for a picnic. Several other really friendly bicyclists and horse-riders passed while we munched. The trail seems to be becoming popular quickly.

Lunch.
Picnic1

The trail has only been finished for a month and either side of it is still torn up from the heavy equipment. This construction turned up a lot of edible greenbriar tubers.
greenbriar

Once lunch was done we headed back to the main play area. The playground is covered with a sunshade as are several picnic areas on either side of the playground. This will help a lot in the heat of the summer.

Mambowether the Adventurer.
playground

There's a lot of people riding horses on this trail so you may have to dodge the occasion road apple. Also be aware that wild pigs are plentiful along the path, though they are rarely active during the day. The lakes are open for fishing though they are catch and release only. You can keep fish from Spring creek if you are hungry. Pundt Park is really a beautiful place to spend a day with the family, friends or even just to get away by yourself for a while.

Adventure! Excitement! Rubber on the road!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Scenes from a Christmas

santa

Christmas has passed and the New Year as started. I'm still trying to figure out where the year went but I suspect the girls hid it somewhere. They love doing things like that. That's okay, I certainly can't hold it against them, especially at Christmas. :-)

Mambowether helps decorate the tree...
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...while Miniwether played Christmas carols. Are we living the Norman Rockwell life or what?!
christmascarols

The tree is ready!
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Apparently Santa has an in with the local fire department so he can ride in style! I'm not sure why the girls' bowed to him.
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Christmas Eve day brought rain but once again turning lemons into sugar plums, we were finally able to have a fire in our firepit.

Yule twigs.
smores

Where there is fire there are s'mores which made Santa extra happy, especially since the girls had the fantastic idea of replacing one of the Graham crackers with a sugar cookie.
smore

For some reason Misseswether and I thought the Wethergirls were old enough to attend Midnight Mass at our church. They were excited at the prospect of staying up that late but by the time mass started they were...cranky.

The whining and weeping continued through the drive home and Mambowether even wanted to be carried into the house because she was too tired to walk. Of course, once she was in the house she RAN to the tree to see if maybe santa had come while we were at church.

Yep, he came and left presents!!

A snowglobe for Miniwether! I
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A cell phone* just like Miniwether's for Mambowether!
phone

Fuzzy warm pajamas for both of them!
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Turns out a concert by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra was on Public Television so we all snuggled together on the couch and watched it until 2:30am. By then the girls were happily ready to crawl into bed and sleep the peaceful sleep of the blessed.

*It turned out the cheapest way for Santa to bring Mambowether a digital camera was actually to get her a cell phone with a built-in camera. The phone isn't activated but it does have the ability to transfer her pictures to us via Bluetooth. She LOVES it.

Adventure! Excitement! The Savior is born!!