Saturday, June 18, 2016

Gold Dome & Historical Marker Lead Me To Wichita Bluff Nature Area

Ever since I have been in Wichita Falls my regular Saturday commune with nature location has been Lucy Park.

This latest Saturday became a Lucy Park exception.

Instead I took myself on a drive on streets I'd not been on yet. This took me by a Texas State Historical Marker oddly stuck in someone's yard. Of course I had to stop and see what was historical. More on that in a subsequent blogging, if I get around to it.

Soon after learning some local history a golden dome came into view. I stopped to take a picture. Maybe I will get around to showing you that in a subsequent blogging. Soon after taking the golden dome picture I drove by the domed building to see it was the Floral Heights United Methodist Church.

I drove past the church to soon learn I was driving in the Floral Heights neighborhood. This was to be the second instance of the day driving on a brick street. What is it with Texas towns and brick streets?

Eventually I came to a road with which I was familiar. Seymour. Seymour is the road which leads to Lucy Park. Had I taken a right turn I would  have been aimed at Lucy Park. Instead I took a left which soon had me driving by the Wichita Bluff Nature Area.

I saw several cars parked in the WBNA parking lot, causing me to think maybe the new park's construction was complete, so I entered the Natural Area.

Upon arrival I could see that a "KEEP OUT CONSTRUCTION AREA" fence was in the location I saw it on my first visit. But, the fence was knocked down and I saw a lady walking towards me in the distance. So I walked past the KEEP OUT sign laying on the ground.

When the lady got close enough we did the requisite howdy and then I asked if the park was open. She said she figured the KEEP OUT did not apply today because no construction work was going on.

I continued on. Soon I came to new paved trail, destined to become part of the Wichita Falls Circle Trail.

My picture taking skills are limited, so I was unable to capture what I actually saw in the above photo. The paved trail makes a curve. To the right of that curve is a steep drop off.  I am assuming some sort of protective guard rail type thing will need to be installed. But where? Like I said, it is a steep drop off right at the edge of the trail.

A short distance later the entire scope of what is being built at this location came into view.

In the above photo I am standing at the edge of the aforementioned steep drop off looking east across a deep ravine. At the other side of the ravine you can see a completed section of the Circle Trail, leading to the also aforementioned Lucy Park. I am guessing that is some sort of bridge footing, surrounded by water, at the bottom of the ravine.

Making a 180 degree turn from the steep drop I saw what you see below.

I am guessing this will be a picnic shelter. Wichita Falls' parks do a good job making sure there are plenty of covered picnic areas, unlike another Texas town I was appalled by for way too many reasons for way too long.

I'm thinking the Wichita Bluff Nature Area is going to be my favorite commune with nature go to place when it is completed. This park will give Wichita Falls a park with trails going up and down what passes for hills at this location on the planet. Well, I guess we call the hills here bluffs.

Rather scenic bluffs.

I was able to get a fairly good idea of how the trail is being laid out to traverse the ravine. I also saw trails, other than the Circle Trail, in the formative stage, such as what you can sort of see in the middle of the above picture, forms laid out on the ground.

I don't know if the Wichita Bluff Nature Area has the potential to be a Tandy Hills Natural Area type experience, with miles of trails meandering about. Even though the Wichita Bluff Nature Area is not yet open it is already more "developed" than the Tandy Hills Natural Area. And judging by what I saw today, already getting more visitors.

Wichita Fallers seem to me to be a much more active brand of Texan than the lethargic sorts which seemed to populate most of the Texas town I previously lived in.

I have yet to to climb Mount Wichita with myself being the sole climber. More often than not I never saw another human whilst hiking Fort Worth's Tandy Hills.

If something like the Tandy Hills existed in the Wichita Falls zone, judging by the activity level I have witnessed here, the hills would be filled with the sound of people enjoying themselves.

I suspect when it opens it is going to be quickly realized that the Wichita Bluff Nature Area parking lot is not big enough. There are maybe 30 parking stalls. Today when I was there 6 of those stalls were parked on. The Tandy Hills has no parking lot, because, well, there really is no need for such a thing.

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