Friday, December 19, 2014

Sandy Creek COE and return to Rayburn

Waiting for dentist appointments gives us an opportunity to explore some of our favorite COE parks around Livingston, Texas.

Sandy Creek is one that we discovered last year. Then we were lucky to get a cancellation site on Thanksgiving weekend.

This year it's after Thanksgiving and before Christmas.  We are one of very, very few in the park.  Beautiful sites on B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir. The following links are some interesting items, the first is a Youtube video of a gator hunt in 2012 benefiting Wounded Warriors. The second is some information for kayakers about opportunities around Steinhagen.  We know a number of readers are kayakers as well as fishing enthusiasts. Steinhagen Wounded Warrior Gator Hunt and Canoe and Kayaking near Steinhagen. On the Southwest Paddler  page, be sure to click on the Photo Gallery on the left. Then go to very bottom of the page to load in some nice pictures of paddling adventures all across the Southwest.

Note: the above picture was taken from inside Lady Blue..

Jan is very happy on site #21.

Sites are quite level, long. and well separated.  This site is 50 amp as well as 30 amp.  That cost us $1 extra per night, but we liked this site. That extra $1 meant that we were paying $9 per night with the Senior Pass.

The office has a small garden.  This time of year there are few living plants, but some are still producing flowers.

This is a very small variety of cotton.

And, yes, there is still a small cotton boll on the plant

A rose???

No, it is a blossom on the cotton plant.

There are two areas in the campground. This abandoned house is on the road over to the second area.  it is fenced in and the grounds are well maintained.  Not so, the house itself.

I know------some of you were thinking this was our new home.

Steinhagen is a very shallow lake.  The Bald Cypress are quite at home here, giving it a southern swampy feel.

Not so great on the bass fishing, but evidently there is good fishing for the three varieties of catfish.

It takes a good walk to get over to the other campsites, but then---

Lady Blue looks so comfortable over there!

The winter look of the Bald Cypress.

We see this white heron all around the shore of Steinhagen.

Sometimes, the pictures around a quiet lake make you want to read one of those scary murder mysteries.

Maybe Not
On to Rayburn Park COE for a return visit.  Time to get out the Christmas decorations.  The plus of our smaller home is that we get to really appreciate the needlepoint work of Vivian Pope( Jan's Mom).  She was a crochet and knitting person.  This was new for her way back when.

Little momentos, but---     A Christmas tree from Alison, a lighthouse form Scott, and a " God Bless our Home" from United Parish remind us of past Christmases.  Fond memories of school concerts, school and Chorale dinner  concerts at Independence Harbor, and some wonderful holiday services with lots of Christmas music and a wonderful Brass Choir---right Sarah?
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Martin Dies State Park

Jan and I found it a little difficult to leave Rayburn COE.  But, we had business to attend to in Livingston, our home base.

As full timers, we use Escapee mail in Livingston.  We can stay for a night or two at our Escapee Rainbow's End campground.  There is a good laundry right there and we can just walk up to the mail room window and pick up our mail.  We have always been impressed by the workers in the mail room. They will answer any questions and our mail is always packaged neatly and mailed to our current location----often a "general delivery" at a local post office.

The other business is a visit to the dentist for Jan and myself.  We try to schedule our checkups right after Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately, we both always seem to need extra work, so we will stay in the area for a few weeks.
We enjoy a number of parks in the Livingston area. Among them are Lake Livingston State Park about 15 minutes from town, and Martin Dies Jr. State Park on B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir.  Since we will be staying at a few other Texas state parks on our way west, we pick up a yearly pass for $70.  That gives us free park admission to any park for a full calendar year and half off the second night of any stay for four times. The state
 park admissions vary. Livingston is $5 each person for every day.  Martine Dies is $3 per person per day.

Lady Blue is happy in our large site on a small cove.

We are surprised that there are so few people in the park.  But it is after Thanksgiving and a very wet few days.

Steinhagen is a fairly shallow lake and the birds love it.

Not just egrets and herons, but ,many smaller birds like Pileated Woodpeckers, Bluebirds, Warblers, Kestrels among others.

Always fun to see the Bald Cypress trees growing in the water.

There are a number of trails in the park. this one is the Slough Trail, about 2 plus miles. That is pronounced "slew".  Yes, we had to ask.

The trail has 16 bridges through swamp and harder grounds.  The cypress love the swamp.

Sticking up out of the ground near the cypress are these growths they call "knees".  Some rangers indicate that they are assumed to be for better balance in the soggy water.

The bridges are well made.

Later Fall and the leaves are pretty well down from the deciduous trees.  But the live oak and pines are still offering a lot of green.

Still a lot of color from some sweet gum tree leaves and others.

Quite a lot of rain for the past week or so.  The mushrooms are quite happy.

We are enjoying these parks, because we know it will take about 2 days travel west to be in the beginning of much drier, desert surroundings. But that seems to be a few weeks away .

There are Shelf mushrooms and Shelf mushrooms.

This one seems to be big enough to invite extra company in those holes in the bark.

We didn't think too much of this picture when I took it, but once I put it on the computer, it was-----Whoa!!!
Do you see a long green body?  Do you see the front leg in the foreground?  How about the huge wide open mouth?  Eyes?  And are those antlers or a kind of prehistoric monster dinosaur crown?

Yes, the Christmas decorations are up.  Must have the Kissing Bears!
Lady Blue is happy!   So are we!