Sunday in the City

Luke spent his six weeks of summer in Anza. While he was gone, Elizabeth and I checked out a miniature railroad in Forth Worth that offers rides along the Trinity River from Forest Park to Trinity Park and back. The trains weren’t running the day we went, so we walked the track on foot. I included a few pics from that walk in my last post.

Luke’s return flight was delayed two hours by Texas thunderstorms. Elizabeth and I passed part of the time by walking to the top of the airport terminal parking garage, where I climbed a wall and got a nice shot of several layers of airport roadways/tramways/parking.

Luke returned on a Saturday night, and by remarkable good luck I had Sunday and Monday off. For Sunday we planned an excursion to Fort Worth. Our first stop was the miniature railroad.

The views are nice along the route and there was a cool breeze blowing off the Trinity.

We had planned to have lunch at Carshon’s Deli (best pastrami on rye in the Metroplex, hands down), but it turns out that they’re closed on Sundays. (!) Our next stop took us back past the Botanic Gardens, so we decided to have lunch at The Gardens. That’s the actual name of a little restaurant there that has its own little kitchen garden out back and specializes in fresh ingredients. Apparently it also has an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet on Sundays, so that was a pleasant surprise.

After we ate, I saw this majestic little fellow harvesting acorns in a low branch just above my head.

We hadn’t been to any of the art museums in Fort Worth yet, so we decided that Sunday was the day for the Kimball, which I enjoyed…

and the Modern, which mostly made me feel like I don’t understand modern art.

It’s good to have Luke home. Real talk though, I was amazed at how much less we spent on food while he was away. That boy can eat.

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Animals, Artwork, environment, Family, food, kids, Life, Wildlife | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Summer Snapshots

Categories: Animals, environment, Family, Horses, kids, Life, trees | Leave a comment

Parr Park Sprayground and Kimzey Park

Spring is creeping back into the Metroplex. This is a beautiful place three seasons of the year, but holy crap is it bleak in winter. I’m always so glad to see that first translucent shimmer of green in the treetops.

I had never seen Bob Jones Park in any season but winter, but on my last ride there I finally saw the first hints of green.

Mahogany is never calmer than when we are cruising through those woodsy trails. I think she and I are forest-loving kindred spirits. She is even becoming a pro at water crossings and lakes.

** ** ** ** **

The kids and I celebrated the return of spring by combining our first real hike of the year with the addition of two new parks to our collection: Parr Park Sprayground in Grapevine and Kimzey Park in Colleyville.

The parks ended up on my radar thanks to a metal pedestrian ramp that runs for no apparent reason up out of the Big Bear creekbed to the bridge where Pool Rd crosses the creek. There is no place to park nearby to take a closer look at it, and Google Maps was no help. This was a mystery that required solving!

Then Google added that trail system to its maps, and the mystery was solved: the ramp connects to a bike trail along Big Bear Creek. The trail was immediately added to my to-do list for when the weather warmed up. Our first attempt was rained out, but for our second try we got lovely 70º weather.

Parr Park Sprayground is a great water-spray park for small children, a sports park for older kids and a connection point for a much larger trail system for the rest of us.

The water features are not in operation this early in the year, but there is a great playground for younger kids (and for those of us who never outgrew our affinity for climbing stuff).

There are a few different trail options here. We chose the one that would take us to the ramp at Pool Rd.

Part of the path was labeled “Bluebonnet Trail,” but we saw a grand total of three bluebonnets. Here they are in all their Texan glory:

We reached the metal ramp more quickly than we had expected. When you cross Pool Rd, you also cross from Grapevine…

…into Colleyville.

Being the contentious rebels that we are, we opted to cross under the bridge rather than utilizing the ramp.

Once across Pool Rd, Google instructed us to turn left and take a public road to Kimzey Park, but I opted to turn right and stay on the bike trail because I thought I was better at reading maps than Google.

Yeah…the bike trail eventually dead-ended. So we ended up taking the long way around via Colleyville Blvd and LongWood Dr.

We got there eventually.

We found a tree that was wearing birds instead of leaves.

For the return trip, we followed Google’s advice and took the road. It was indeed the shortest route. We crossed atop Pool Rd this time and took the metal ramp back down, and then backtracked the rest of the way to Parr Park.

Our next stop was Chan’s Mongolian Grill, which is basically an all-you-can-eat version of Genghis Grill. My fortune cookie told me that it’s time for another road trip.

As soon as Texas gets a bit greener, I think I might take my fortune cookie’s advice.

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, environment, Family, Horses, kids, Life, maps, trail rides, Travel, trees, Weather, Winter | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Crystal Canyon, and Back to Bob Jones

Our most recent park discovery is Crystal Canyon Natural Area in Arlington.

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-11-10-05-am

This is a smallish park with a single half-mile soft-surface trail loop.

dscf3257

It packs a lot of appeal into a tiny package, thanks to the woodsy setting and some interesting geographical features. The creek is fantastic, but you have to go off-trail to explore it.

dscf3243

dscf3246

dscf3255

The “canyon” part is what lured us to this park. We miss the mountains of California and were looking forward to a bit of climbing, so we were kind of disappointed by the overall flatness of the loop trail.

dscf3259

But near the end, a smaller “desire path” branches off from the main trail and heads straight up the canyon wall. It’s not exactly rock-climbing, or even particularly steep, but it’s a nice little workout and offers a rewarding view from the top.

dscf3263

In the end we gave Crystal Canyon three thumbs up, but mostly for the creek and the hill-climbing detour.

In other news, the Texas mud has finally killed my 19-year-old Ariat riding boots.

My new Ariats are waterproof. Let’s see if they’re a better match for the Texas climate.

dscf3276

The day after my new boots arrived, I got to try them out at Bob Jones Park, which was just as awesome the second time around.

dscf3286

dscf3318

This time I used my Professional’s Choice saddle pad, which puts a solid inch and a half of high-density foam between the treeless saddle (and my butt) and Mahogany’s spine and withers. It also has a cut-out over her withers, so there is no pressure on them.  It was very comfortable for both of us, but almost comically oversized for the saddle. Here is a picture of me taking a picture of sailboats on Grapevine Lake, in which you can see the pad and the saddle .

16473662_1210215759070184_7983197180350510419_n

dscf3329

On a related tangent, every time I see a photo of myself on a trail ride, I am jarred by how much my camera case disrupts the lines of my clothing. I’ve decided to buy a small tactical pack to hang on my saddle that will hold everything that I carry on rides: camera, phone, keys, etc. I much prefer having that stuff on me rather than my horse, because if we get separated only one of us knows how to use the phone. I think vanity is going to win this one, though. Also my keys jingle-jangle distractingly when I hang them from my belt loop, and my phone tends to work its way out of my pocket at the trot. So I guess the pack will solve three issues at once.

Anyway, beautiful park. I can’t wait to see it in the summertime.

dscf3348

I have a future post brewing about all of the benefits, problems and solutions involved in transitioning to a treeless saddle. Stay tuned!

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Animals, environment, Family, Friends, Horses, kids, Life, trail rides, treeless saddle, Winter | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Winter Woods

The stars and my schedule finally aligned enough to let me join a few other members of my riding club for a trail ride at Bob Jones Park in Southlake.

dscf3056

I have mentioned before how bleak and dreary the Metroplex looks in winter, but even in the off-season this is a beautiful park.

dscf3113

dscf3133

Mahogany and I are absolutely loving the treeless saddle. She’s like a different horse now, so relaxed and agreeable. It’s killing me to realize how much of our past trouble was caused by something as easy to fix as an ill-fitting saddle.

dscf3150

I will admit that about two hours into the ride, my butt was missing the nice comfy seat of my Circle Y saddle. But I think I can resolve that issue (and a couple of others) with the right saddle pad.

dscf3179

The equestrian trails at Bob Jones Park lie along the southwestern shore of Grapevine Lake.

dscf3189

dscf3193

Mahogany was a surprisingly good sport about venturing out into the lake, as long as her buddy Kokomo went too.

dscf3194

img955618

This is such a great place to ride! I can’t wait to go back.

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Animals, environment, Friends, Horses, Life, trail rides, trees, Weather, Winter | Tags: | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.