It was a beautifully brisk morning that was quite comfortable to me. The locals seemed to think that the frozen gates of hell were in sight. It really was not that bad. A nice relief from the past two warm days. Today happens to be the day of a big revelation for me.
Village Creek – This is a a quaint state park of which the town of Lumberton is quite proud to host. This park is on the edge or even considered a part of the Big Thicket which is an entirely new environment to me in Texas. I had been north of this area, but never really got to experience the piney woods that are truly the piney woods. It is beautiful. It is not the beach nor is it the swamp and lowlands that are more like Louisiana than Texas. But I will have to acknowledge at this point that any border between state is just like being in the other state. Or country, in the case of Mexico. I had this realization on the December 2016 trip to New Mexico. This is also the first park of the day that I wished for the foresight to pack the bug spray. A need that only got worse as the sun warmed up the water and the flies and mosquitoes awoke with a taste for blood. My blood. I also had the joy of carrying the stroller with Charity inside over stretches of muddy water trails. Seemed to be a better solution than trying to push her and it through the muck and the mud. The stroller is quite handy in packing all our crap around vs me packing it around on my back.
Martin Dies, Jr. – Another beautiful park and huge lake in the big thicket. I did end up taking a challenging trail, surprising. Especially after my lessened learned from the 1st Day Hike. I just kept saying that I would turn around if we came across an obstacle to large to tackle with a stroller. The only real challenge was the tree roots sticking out of the path and the hoard of mosquitoes that attack if you dare stop along the path. So 2 1/2 miles later we completed the whole loop. Still surprising. HolaChica got her steps in on this one. I did try to put her in the stroller once and she jumped out and hit her chin. I was not able to catch her like I did Charity a few days before. We also got to see a Swamp Rabbit. A pretty park only the South Unit was open, I did not explore the North Unit. Which has a bunch of trails too. Maybe another time? Like next year?
Lake Livingston – Now here is a beautiful blue lake. The Sea Rim was dirty brown ocean water, Village Creek was a black stagnant creek, and Martin Dies Jr. is a brown lake. So seeing a big gorgeous blue lake was impressive. Probably the prettiest lake to date. No, it is the prettiest lake to date. Lakes are looking up after this experience. It was the third park of the day and I had already cancelled the hotel reservation in town and planned on driving home. Hence I checked out the park store and water front and hiked along the boardwalk nature trail. It felt a lot longer than it was. At least the sun was heading down and the trees provided cooling shade for the jaunt around the duck pond. It is interesting to note that the area was effected by the last big hurricane in 2008. Which seemed odd to me because we were pretty far inland in my opinion. Even though the roads still had the hurricane exit route signs. Also this was on a sign that said where were all the trees. Note there were still trees, I can only assume that there used to be a significant amount more.
The revelation? I am not a beach girl. This should really not be a surprise, but a persona that I tried to make fit. This trip magnified where my peace lies. It is not on a windy, sandy, smelly beach. Note that April Road Trip 2 has two beach parks. One of which I had in my head that I was going to camp on the beach. Due to Charity’s injury, I did not feel that I could have that on top of my 20 years lack of camping experience. Interesting enough on a few eve’s before this trip, I feel that I could be up to camping. Which is primarily related how well Charity is able to walk on her own. Life is definitely easier now. Note that when she walked on the beach at Sea Rim, I would have been hard pressed to know that she was not able to walk very well. For the upcoming beaches I will be able to leave the stroller in the car.
Another thing that I have noted is that doing these posts are much easier than they have been in the past. The jury is still out if there have been improvement. Maybe just familiarity/ comfort with the process.