On the way to the first park I stopped at the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site (Yes, I finally found one and stopped!) They too are on the El Camino Real de los Tejas along with the first park of the day. The Caddoans are also the originators of the name of the state. They greeted the Spanish missionaries with the a word that sounded like “tayshas” which means friends or allies. The missionaries named the area after this word, which became the Spanish word Tejas which is now the great state of Texas. And this was just the first stop of the day!
Mission Tejas – After that lead up to the park it better be pretty impressive right. Well it is pretty impressive for a small historical park. Lots of construction going on in a visitor center and new trails being developed. I even got to take a few steps along the El Camino Real. Note that the current building is not the original mission which was burned the last time the Spanish left. This park was also a CCC project and their rock baths are still in the park. I did not take that hike. I (on the advice of the park ranger in the office) took the Karl Lovett trail. This hike is another one where I should have read a bit more, even though I am not sure that it would have helped. Since the El Camino Real was kind of a bust and the ranger recommended this one (even after I said I was rockin’ a stroller) I went for it. If I notice anything Fire Tower related in the future, I will be reminded that fire towers are most likely located on top of steep hills for a reason. Needless to say the trail up to this fire tower was a washed out, tree rooted up mess. Lot’s of complaining as I went straight up the hill. Note that I took the paved park road back to the car. I certainly wasn’t going back down the way I just went up. There is also a historical log cabin of the Rice logging family that was a layover stop on the San Antonio road.
Fairfield Lake – I might have broken a rule or two at this stop. To clarify, I broke my own self appointed rules. I ended up just driving around the park, no hiking, minimal pics. I had planned on picnicking here, but the dogs weren’t allowed in the picnic area. A lot of trails were closed too, so my motivation left. I did finally find an interesting trail but I was too far gone to take the time to get the girls and me out of the car.
Fort Parker – Now here was a hike. There was a floaty bridge, a cemetery, a moss-covered lake off the main lake and a dam. There was also a little aluminum foot bridge that HolaChica wasn’t interested in crossing and thought she could walk on moss instead. That didn’t last too long. Her white feet were green for about a mile.
This was the first month that I had the pleasure of dealing with the triple digit heat index. Just think the next few months will be even worse! It was already so much fun on this trip…