day hike with lil harry

A small front blew through today. A stiff wind out of the south and cooler temperature was all we needed to put down the garden tools and drive to Stephen F Austin State Park for a short walk. You know you’re nuts when you drive 48 miles to walk five. But it’s what we did.

I love this little park because it is usually deserted during the week. No campers in the tent area and only four trailers plus the park host in the RV section. We didn’t meet another human on the trails. How good is that?

The trail is nice and shady, but it also blocks out much of the wind – so I was sweating within minutes and Lil Harry’s tongue was hanging to his knees. That’s not such a long hang since he’s so little, but you get the picture. It was warm in the woods.

The shot at the right is on the Cottonwood trail, which is the most developed trail in the park. It has a few benches scattered about courtesy of a local Eagle Scout. For most of its length it is pretty well handicapped accessible. I’ve seen wheelchairs on this path in the past.

Since we came to walk trails instead of roadways, we took the first branch at the Copperhead section and wandered through the mix of hardwoods. It was easy walking with only a few hills. Lil Harry was content to stay on my heels until we hit a downhill stretch. Then he wanted to run down the hill and wait for me at the bottom.

The area was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Ike. You can still see evidence everywhere you look. The staff did a good job of clearing the trails and campsites, but you’re surrounded by the remains of some sizable downed trees. They’ll be a long time turning to compost for the forest floor.


When we reached the end of the Copperhead trail, we followed the Riverbend section. I scampered down the bluff to get some pictures of the Brazos River. When Lil Harry peeked over the edge and saw the water I knew I’d made a mistake. He charged down the side and did a belly flop into the water. When he figured out it was only a few inches deep at that point, he just plopped down on his belly and gave me that big, goofy puppy smile. It was too late to do anything about it, so I just let him play for a bit.

That was the least of my poor judgement. As I was going back up the bluff, he charged past me heading for the trail. As soon as he got to the top he started rolling in the red dust. He went from black to red before I could even fuss at him.








On the way back out, Lil Harry bagged his first deer. Since there were both standing absolutely still, neither knew what to make of the other. If Lil Harry looked one way, the doe did the same. That went on for a full five minutes before the wind shifted and she caught our scent. After that, she was gone like a shot. All told, it was a great trip for both of us.









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