Espinosa, September 2014

Tuesday September 2, 2014

9:42 AM

McKinney Roughs Nature Park-LCRA

Cedar Creek, Texas


I went to McKinney Roughs Nature Park Tuesday morning after I dropped off my little brother at the Cedar Creek High School right across the park on highway 71. It was pretty hot outside that morning; 86 degrees fahrenheit. Humidity was 73%. The sunlight hit me very hard and I was already sweating as soon as I got off my truck. Maybe not the best time to be outside. As I begun my trail, I was fascinated by the huge amount of butterflies flying around. I tried to chase many and get close to them as possible in order to snap a picture. Then as I was walking a lizard walked right in front of me! It was yellow. I tried to put my phone on camera mode quick so I could get a picture of the lizard but it had already went to hide in the bush. I took a really long time walking in that trail taking pictures of all the plants around me. It smelled like fresh wood in that area. Even though the grass in most of the area looked dry and yellow. There was even a dead cactus in the middle of the trail. There were many prickly cactus pear there. Although, I don’t think I could eat the red fruits on it. Many grasshoppers were making noise around that area. Finally at meter 4, I reached a point where two ecosystems converge. I’m about to leave the Post Oak Savannah area which consisted of many cactus and oak trees. Now I will be dipping down into the Riparian Zone of the Colorado River. I remember walking down there and seeing animal poop. Perhaps it was a horse’s, since a lot of people do horseback riding in the trails. As I reach the bottom, I start seeing the cedar elm, sycamore, willow and ash line the riverbank. It looks like a jungle down there; so dark. The sunlight didn’t hit the trail right there; it was covered by the huge trees. The tree’s leaves were already falling in many different shades of orange and yellow; autumn was here. The riverbank was full of green algae. The water glittered beneath the faint sunlight beaming at the river. It was a very beautiful sight. The birds chirping made it extra beautiful. As I turned around to leave the area and go back up hill, I saw a red ring pop around a tree.



ring pop around tree

ring pop around tree




Friday September 19, 2014

4:17 PM

McKinney Roughs Nature Park-LCRA

Cedar Creek, Texas

I went to the park this time with a mostly dark cloudy sky and temperature of 84 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a 60% chance of rain later on so I took my umbrella.The air was humid; humidity was 79%.  The lady at the front desk of the park recommended me not to go run the trail since it was still wet from yesterday’s rain and it was highly likely to rain in a few minutes. I was willing to risk it though because I wanted to witness the rain at the park. I began the same trail (Riverside Trail), I went to on September 2. I noticed the soil was still hydrated and moist from the rain the day before. The land was so green. No longer was it yellow and dry like last time. It was clear that the plants had experienced a lot of growth after the week of rain Austin had experienced. As I walked through the moist trail, I could see fresh footprints from animals, meaning an animal had walked on the trail recently. I didn’t spend much time on the trail as I did last time. I ran the whole trail until I reached the bottom of the Riparian Zone, where the river was. The noise leading down towards the river was way too loud. It was as if a lot of animals were preparing to flee and were warning each other of the approximating rain! I quickly observed what changes had occurred since the last time I had been there. The river was more full than last time. I felt a sense of urgency to get out of there soon though.The loud grasshopper sounds were scaring me, to be honest. Especially when I heard a loud thunder as I was filming the scene. I almost dropped my phone ! Then before I could continue observing more of the area I hadn’t observed last time, it started raining. Small drops at first. I hurried to make my way back to the headquarters. It was definitely harder climbing back up the hill than down the hill. The rain kept falling harder. Luckily, I had my umbrella. However, that didn’t stop my feet from getting wet and muddy. The trail was already overflowing with water. I only thought that the worse that could possibly happen at that moment was to get my feet stuck in the mud. I observed the water was flowing down the trail towards the river. The whole experience was kind of scary because I had never been out in nature while it was raining hard. I made it out alive though and I realized nature has its cycles and it is beautiful even when it rains hard.

“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language” – Aldo Leopold , A Sand County Almanac


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