A State Park in December

December is a good month to travel around Texas, because it’s not blazingly hot and there are fewer bugs and things that sting. For our fun outing on our anniversary weekend, Lee and I went to Mother Neff State Park, which has the honor of being the first park in the state park system. It’s located near McGregor, Texas, which is also (in)famous these days for being the home of a SpaceX facility. From the Hermits’ Rest, we can feel when they test rockets. From our vacation rental, it feels like a volcano is erupting or something. All the things in the tiny house rattled and moved around. I’m glad I don’t live here.

There, read all about it.

As for the park, it was very pleasant, and we enjoyed this year’s uncharacteristically bright autumn colors as we did a walk through a prairie and visited a cave and some other trails near a creek. Sadly, much of the park is closed to the public due to bad flooding for the past 15 years. All the historic buildings and the original park headquarters can’t be used anymore. The good news is that there are really great brand-new RV camping facilities now and a gorgeous park headquarters, where they were having Christmas activities for kids and a Santa. They were also having a geocaching demonstration. Good job, park volunteers!

I’m glad I felt well enough to walk around and enjoy the sights and (a bit of) the woodsy smells in this pretty area. The flame sumac was particularly lovely, and there were also oaks and other colorful trees.

I didn’t see any fascinating birds, just the usual vultures, cardinals, and wrens (heard mostly). I did enjoy a harvester ant nest, which always makes me happy to see (that means the fire ants haven’t killed everything else off), and I found a nice big beetle.

Mostly, it was just good to get outdoors and enjoy a part of Texas I hadn’t spent much time in. The sounds of Fort Hood and SpaceX reminded me that I wasn’t far from manmade weirdness, but that’s all right.

I’m sure we’ll be back here again. The place we stayed was so quiet. There were just a couple of dogs and a donkey (which I enjoyed, of course) and no loud trucks or people. I got good ideas for the Red House, too.

But it’s time to go home and get ready for visitors at the ranch and see my horses and dogs. I hope you had a reasonable weekend. I only have a lingering runny nose to remind me of the endless viral nonsense I’ve been dealing with, so I can now look forward to fun and learning once again1

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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