Rose-Dango Walk

Sweetieheart and I experienced our most fragrant walk ever in May at McKinney’s Rose-Dango Blooms Celebration.

We passed through several rose gardens and around several ponds. We walked through Texas prairies and woodlands. Flowers were blooming, birds called their mates, butterflies breezed by, insects and frogs buzzed and thrummed, and the breezes stirred the tall grasses.

Even if there’s no walk, Sweetieheart and I will go to next year’s Rose-Dango.

Geocaching Event: SWAG Retreat from the Heat

I’m hosting a geocaching social event!

SWAG (South West Arlington Geocachers) is headed by my friend Donna, TexasDiva, who I first met in college. It’s strange where life takes us. I only knew Donna by sight because we lived in the same dorm for a year, then she graduated and I spend the next three years working on graduating.

Many years later (okay, decades later!), I discovered geocaching and I learned about geocaching social events. I dragged my husband to our first event in Arlington. On the other side of the room, I saw someone who looked very, very vaguely familiar. I asked a neighbor who she was and I was told that she was TexasDiva. No one could remember her real name.

She stood up to introduce herself and the rest of the SWAGgers. I recognized the name…. but from where? After the event, I made my way to her and asked her where I knew her from. She confirmed that we’d gone to the same college. Later we realized we’d lived in the same dorm.

Since then, SWAG has really grown. I don’t often make it over to their events because I work in Carrollton and they meet on Wednesdays in Arlington, a geographically difficult trip to make in a timely and safe manner. I try to make at least one event each summer with another event some time of the year.

This year I’ll be hosting an event.

Where? The No Frills Grill in Arlington, TX

When? June 29th from 5:30-8PM

What can I expect? To meet a lot of friendly geocachers

Event Information: SWAG Retreat from the Heat

The Brave Little Cacher

2016 marks the 2nd annual North Texas Teen Book Festival. Over 8000 teens attended and I volunteered.

My volunteer badge

LaGeek volunteers!

After the festivities, not wanting to face the long lines of traffic, I went geocaching. Sure enough, there were two caches in the general area within walking distance. One, however, warned of construction issues which could prevent locating the cache. The other was 1/4 of a mile away but on the other side of a creek.

I ended up walking in some mud. I deserved it. I took a “short cut” which probably added on an extra quarter-mile. On the other side of the bridge across the creek was a hotel. Next to the hotel ran the creek and a walking trail which was clearly under construction. Bulldozers and piles of mud are big clues.

The cache was obviously located on the other side of the hotel, next to the trail. A nice big oak seemed to mark the location. A convenient set of steps marked a dry way to get to the walking trail from the hotel. At the top of the steps, though, was an obstacle: a headless snake, long enough to stretch across the top step.

I am scared of snakes. I am paranoid of snakes. I know they want to attack me. My biggest fear is that what happened o a friend of mine will happen to me: she had a rattler drop out of a pecan tree and onto her while she was visiting her mother in Weatherford, TX. That’s right. In Texas, snakes fall from the sky!

My first thought was to abandon the cache entirely. My second, and braver, thought was to find a different way down to the trail and up to the tree. So I did.

My shoes were already muddy so it didn’t really matter that I left the paved trail. Then I approached the tree and realized that maybe snakes travel in pairs. Or maybe it was a Mama Snake and her babies were hanging around the roots of a certain oak tree I was heading towards.

The closer I got to the tree, the more paranoid I got. I checked the trail for more snake signs/bodies. I checked the tree for possible snakes up in the branches. I circled the tree carefully, making as much noise as possible. I even turned up my music on my phone to extra loud to make sure any snake in the area knew I was around so it should go away.

I spotted the cache in a knot in the tree. Under normal circumstances, I’d have sent Sweetieheart to go pick up the cache while I stayed safely away from any snakes. Sweetieheart, though, was at home doing homework. It was all up to me.

I thought about giving up the cache. After all, I didn’t need to find it right now. I could bring Sweetieheart by later and he could get the cache while I kept a watch out for any snakes. No, that was not the solution.

So I talked to myself. Over and over again, I repeated “I think I can. I think I can,” while scanning the ground, tree roots, and area for slithering critters.

Make no mistake. I was not whispering these words. I was almost talking out loud because noise scares away snakes. (If you know any differently, DO NOT LET ME KNOW. It works for me!)

I made the grab, signed the log, and replaced the cache.

That’s right. I’m the little cacher who could.

I manned a line for Ruta Sepetys, a popular teen author.

LaGeek and her Authors

 

 

Dallas White Rock Lake Trail

2016 has been a rough year on Sweetie and me. The weather has been perfect for growing allergies leading us both to some bad bouts with sinusitis. Most of our walking has been indoors at Grapevine Mills Mall. One fine weekend, though, we risked headaches, sneezing, and wheezing to walk along White Rock Lake.

Bikers, joggers, and strollers all share the trail around White Rock Lake.

It was a beautiful day, drawing out the bikers, strollers, skaters, runners, dog walker, and joggers. The ducks were active on the lake with a nice breeze coming up from the south.

Duck on the lake.

Spring had begun blooming.

Someone planted this flower!

Most people paid attention to the signs. (I always read the signs, even if I don’t always follow them.)

Follow the rules of the trail!

In the 20+ years I have lived in Dallas, this was the first time I’d ever been to this end of White Rock Lake. Sweetie and I spent some time admiring the rush of water from the recent spring rains.

Just like on the news, the falls are wonderful to watch

I hadn’t even realized that there were more than one set of falls! Nor had I known that there had been a fish hatchery in this area.

The second set of waterfalls.

I really like this bike fix-it station.

The bike fix-it station was totally cool, especially with the tools and air pumps!

This is the quiet side of the falls.

Bird calls abound.

I ended up learning quite a bit on this 10k walk.

My 2016 resolution: walk all around White Rock Lake!

 

180 Years of Texas Independence

2016 marks 180 years of Texas Independence which was celebrated at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park. Sweetieheart and I made the three-hour drive with a brief stop at the CzechStop to pick up some kolaches.

It was a glorious day: temps in the 70s, light breeze, sunny sky with puffy clouds. Reenactors wandered freely. Reenactments. Music. Food. Everything I could ask for on the first day of Spring Break.

Sweetieheart meets one of the composers of Texas Independence.

Sweetieheart meets a Kodak moment

We found our first geocache accidentally. It was a Kodak moment and we took advantage of it.

We also found our second geocache accidentally. We were visiting the reenactors’ village when I decided to turn on the geocaching app to find the location of the nearest geocache. It was 140 feet away!

We found our third geocache on purpose. We were circling the zone and I’d already spotted the cache when this couple strode boldly right up to our tree! I cried out, “Hey! No fair! We spotted it first!”

The response? “Oh, are you cachers? We’re new. What are we supposed to do?”

They were absolutely new to the game. They had downloaded the introduction to geocaching app and decided to come to the park to try it out. They had no idea that the park was celebrating Texas Independence. They had no idea of what to do with a cache once it was found.

They were from Katy, TX

Sweetieheart showed them how to fill out the log. Then he showed them what was in the cache. Then we showed them how to log a find on the app.

They'd spotted the cache but didn't recognize it as a cache.

We saw them later circling another cache and we caught up with them at a third cache. The intro app limits the number of caches they can find. I hope they enjoyed the game.

We, on the other hand, felt the day was perfect, from beginning to end. Happy trails!

Third Time’s the Charm

Believe it or not, it took me three times to find this darned cache!

My excuses:

  • I’m short and it’s tall.
  • It was dark the first time I tried.
  • Danged nano!
  • Too many darned muggles!
Hint: Grapevine Mills Mall

Hidden deep in the (rain) forest is a geocache!

Walking a Trail

In January I visited Austin for a teaching conference. I arrived with laryngitis and it only got worse. You see, Austin is Allergy Central of Texas so I moved from allergen-filled North Texas to the even more allergen-filled state capitol.

I knew I wouldn’t be in any shape to explore Austin, especially since the conference began so early in the morning and ended so late in the afternoon. Few volksmarches are available at night.

I had also heard a rumor that there was a walking trail somewhere near my hotel. I don’t know that I found the official trail, but I did find a paved and well-cared-for trail that led around a small, duck-filled artificial lake.

 

Fort Richardson Walk

Sweetieheart has been busy this year. It’s his junior year of college. There have been times when my husband accompanied me in his place.

The Fort Richardson Walk, sponsored by the Tarrant County Walkers, was one of those walks. The day dawned misty and slightly threatening of rain.

It was a misty, gray day.

The plaque at Fort Richardson

This was good. My husband is a vampire. Bright sun scares him and he overheats easily.

Neither of us had ever been to Fort Richardson before. We both like history although he likes martial history more than I. We were both intrigued by the possibilities of the walk.

To tell you the truth, this walk was satisfied us. We were able to explore the old fort ruins. Character actors were there to explain life in the Old Fort.

IMG_2797

Ed explores the Munitions Building.

I’d like to bring Sweetieheart along some time. He also enjoys military history…. and walking.

Crystal Canyon

A few weeks ago, I was working on my usual Halloween reading: ghost stories of Texas. I love ghost stories and I know many of the local ones. However, in Paranormal Texas, I found a tale I hadn’t heard of before and it was located just a few miles from my home!

Sweetieheart looks over the sign at the entry.

Crystal Canyon is being preserved as a natural area for its geology in the hills of Arlington. It’s a half-mile walk around on a nice trail lined with benches and informative signs. It’s also one of the newest parks in Arlington, having opened in 2012.

As a preserved natural area, there are no geocaches permitted within the park. However, there are a couple just outside the park.

The walk is appropriate for children, strollers, and pets (pick up after your pet!), as well as joggers and walkers. Water is located at the entry/exit to the park. The trail loops around a wooded area with plenty of shade which means it could be walked throughout the year with extra caution during the hottest parts of the year.. Warning signs include snakes (Duh! It’s the Metroplex!) and poison ivy (Gotta love Texas!) and scorpions (Closed-toe shoes recommended).

There were signs of fireworks and people who left the trail, but overall, the park was clean with little trash.

Carvings in Sandstone

I’d like to figure out a earthcache for the park because it deserves to be visited more often. It’s a lovely gem.

Walking across Texas

I’m so proud of my gals! As a team of eight, we walked across Texas (830 miles) in only six weeks!  Snce we still have two weeks left in the program, I’ve told my team that we’re now stuck at the Louisiana border and need to walk back to the Metroplex, three hundred miles away. Having seen what they’re capable of, I think we’re going to make it.

To form your own team, go to Walk across Texas, a free program offered by TAMU, Texas A&M University as a way to make Texans healthier.

Our Goal: 830 miles in two months  (east to west Texas)