Since we'll be leaving here this coming Monday we decided to visit Lake Livingston State Park today. Texas parks require you pay a fee to use them, but for $70 (annual fee) you can buy a park pass that will allow you and your carload to enter any state park in Texas. They also offer a Texas Parklands Passport to senior citizens. It's similar to the Federal Golden Age card but unlike the free entry that card gives us to all federal parks, the TX state card charges us 1/2 price. So, instead of the $12 that we would have had to pay today, we paid $6.
You do have to be a resident of Texas to qualify for this card and if I remember correctly, it cost us each $5.00 for our cards but they never expire.
Anyway, off we went.... we'd been past the park a couple of times, even doing some birding a few years ago at the dam. I was told today that that is governed by a water management facility (like Corps of Engineers) and not part of the park.
This part of Texas has had a lot of rain lately and many of the trails had huge mud holes across the path.
Since some of the trails meander through wetlands, they have built a boardwalk that will elevate you above the water. Really nice as it not only keeps you out of the mud, it also defines very well exactly where the trail goes.
A couple areas even had decks with benches so you could sit and enjoy the nature around you.
The wildflowers are starting to bloom....
The top photo is a violet.... now that's a sure sign of spring!
Most of this wooded area had a tall canopy of loblolly pines. They may be one of the culprits that are dispensing all that yellow pollen now, but we're told the oaks are worse.
One of the reasons I wanted to visit the park is that there are over 20 geocaches hidden within its boundaries. Public use places like this are quite strict about if they allow caches to be hidden there and if so, have definite requirements about where they are hidden. It sure wouldn't do to have a herd of people wandering off the trails and destroying valuable habitat. But all the caches hidden here were with the permission of the park.
Here's Bill signing the log at one of the caches. The two photos on the right show a couple other caches that are hidden in various places. We ended up finding 11 of the caches and when we were ready to leave, I saw that my pedometer registered just over 5 miles. So not only do I have a lot of fun finding these little treasures, I get some exercise too.
This park abuts the lake on at least 2 sides. While I don't know how big the lake actually is, I know that they have several boat ramps and lots of fishing piers. There is an activity center that has a swimming pool, there are several miles of hiking trails, and we drove past stables where you could arrange to go on horseback trail rides. Of course there are several campgrounds, a camp store, a group pavilion and various other facilities.
One of our favorite places was the observation tower....
It's kind of like a fire tower... you climb up 4 sets of steps to get to the top. (and, yes, there was a cache hidden in a knothole up there).... The view of the lake is quite nice....
Today the lake was very placid... while the campgrounds had quite a few campers (spring break here) I bet in the summer months this place is a beehive of activity.
My favorite photo of the day...
This little girl... maybe 3 years old... was carrying her birding map. She spread it all out on the floor of the top deck of the observation tower. I asked her what she'd seen today. She told me that she'd seen the red cardinal and some woodpeckers. She even pointed to them on her map. I was impressed!
A fledgling birder, for sure!
We had taken our lunch and took a break from caching to eat. I think we spent about 4 hours in the park and it just started spitting rain as we were ready to leave. With all the standing water around here it sure doesn't seem the area needs any more rain at this time. But the temperature gets into the high 70's or even into the 80's so I'm not complaining.
That's All For Today!