Tuesday, May 31, 2022

HOT Humid Lucy Park Hiking With No Snakes

 It was back to Lucy Park I ventured on this last day of the 2022 version of May. In the photo documentation we are on the Circle Trail, looking north.

As you can see, there is some cloud action in the sky. That slight cloud action somewhat mitigated the extreme HEAT by blocking some sun rays. That and a strong wind make the HOT humid hiking somewhat tolerable.

Of late, talking to people back in my old home zone of the Pacific Northwest, there is a lot of whining about it being cold. Cold there, this time of year, means temperatures in the 40s and 50s. 

Cold here, at my current location, this time of year, means temperatures in the 70s and 80s. We are currently scheduled to have a cold front arrive in a day or two, dropping temperatures into that chilly 70 and 80s zone.

I have yet to see a snake slithering this year. Did that sub zero deep freeze of two Februarys ago wipe out the local snake population? How does being in a deep freeze work for cold blooded critters, I find myself wondering?

I am hoping this day after day after day of strong winds begins to abate, so that I can have myself a mighty fine time riding my bike. I do not like bike riding whilst dealing with 45 mph wind gusts...

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Windy Sunday Visit To Lake Wichita Beach

On this final Sunday of the 2022 version of May, with the outer world temperature in the 90s, and with the wind blowing gusts slightly slower than 50 mph, it seemed like a walk in shade-free Lake Wichita Park might be pleasant, with that natural cooling from the wind making up for the lack of shade found easily at Lucy Park.

I had barely parked and exited my vehicle when a strong gust sent my visor cap sailing. A couple hundred feet later I caught up with the visor cap.

As you can see via the photo documentation, the Lake Wichita tide was out, with a large expanse of beautiful beach exposed. The photo documentation does not do justice to the whitecaps the wind was whipping up on the lake.

I saw multiple groups making their way up and down Mount Wichita. The wind is stronger the higher one goes. I saw several people have to crouch down to keep from being blown over when a strong gust gusted on them.

I no longer hike to the summit of Mount Wichita.

Looking at the photo of the trail to the summit, it looks short, and not too steep, and thus easy. Looks are deceiving. After a couple incidents of stumbling and tripping I decided it was not worth the sprained ankle risk to make that trek to the Mount Wichita summit.

I have hot dogs ready to grill for tomorrow's Memorial Day picnic. I have yet to find hot dog buns...

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Shady Saturday Walking With Linda Lou In Lucy Park

With the outer world back being HOT, and windy, and humid, it was back to shady Lucy Park I went on this final Saturday of the 2022 version of May.

Mount Vernon's Linda Lou went walking with me today.

At one point I was so engrossed in the talking and walking that I did not realize it was me being yelled at to get out of the way of a disc golf goal net. That was a little embarrassing. I am just not used to being referred to as "sir". So, when I heard yelling saying "Sir, would you please move away from the goal," I did not realize I was the "sir".

You would not know it via my shady photo documentation, but Lucy Park was busy today. The Lucy Park swimming pool is now open, which accounted for some of the vehicles. And a lot of disc golfers were disc golfing. And a lot of picnickers were picnicking.

There is still a "TRAIL CLOSED" sign, but the bridge across the Circle Trail chasm has been added, awaiting side rails. The reddish orange you see near the center of the photo is the Wichita River. Still running slightly high from the deluge earlier in the week.

It was nice having a couple day break from needing air conditioning. We are back being warmed to slightly under 100...

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Back To Lucy Park With The Wichita River Running Red

It was back to Lucy Park my motorized motion device took me today. The first time at Lucy Park since Tuesday's day long deluge. 

As you can see via the view of the Lucy Park suspension bridge, the Wichita River is running high, but not in flood mode. But freshly painted that Utah Redrock color I find aesthetically pleasing.

I don't know the reason why, other than the return to blue sky and a pleasant temperature, but Lucy Park had a lot of visitors today. Twice I was asked how to find the falls. There are multiple signs pointing the way to the falls. And maps.

I don't know why it is confusing.

Other than the fact that I asked for directions to the falls on my first visit to Lucy Park. But back then the signage that exists now had not yet been installed. And I made my inquiry at a Texas Information Center booth, where I also got several maps, brochures, sunblock chapstick and the directions to the falls.

It was at that information booth, where the where are the falls question was asked, that I was told to be sure to take the trail to the top of the falls to see the surprising source of the falls.

The remodeled Lucy Park suspension bridge is way wilder to walk across than the previous version. It seems to have way more up and down motion, along with swaying back and forth motion. And that happens just walking slowly across, not trying to get the bridge swaying. The walking difficultly amps up with multiple people crossing. It is sort of entertaining to watch.

I really need to find a new hobby...

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Chilly Windy Sikes Lake Walk With Water Spilling

It was to Sikes Lake I drove this Ides of March Wednesday, to have my regularly scheduled nature walk. A strong wind was blowing, with the temperature in the 50s. Sweat pants kept me from getting too chilly.

Yesterday's day long rainstorm dropped a lot of water. Shortly before the sun went down for the night the power went out. That was a bit unsettling, triggering post traumatic stress with the lost power reminder of the power outage of February 2021, at a sub-zero temperature.

But the power came back on after being absent for only a few minutes, instead of a few days.

As you can see, via the above photo documentation, it is still looking a bit menacing, sky-wise. That cloudy view is looking north at the west end of the Sikes Lake trail. The gray building is a Hilton hotel.

Now we are at the southeast end of Sikes Lake, looking at water spilling over the dam. I don't recollect previously seeing this volume of water spilling at this location.

We are scheduled to return to blue sky and warmer air tomorrow, an end to the current natural air conditioning....

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Rainy Day Tuesday With Leaking Walmart

The predicted rain rained as predicted, this morning of the next to last Tuesday of the 2022 version of May.

The rain rained down in copious amounts. By the time I left my abode, around noon, my regular route to my motorized motion device was blocked by a small lake.

The wet view through the windshield was how it looked in the Walmart parking lot, after I parked, after getting gas.

As you can see, gas is still under 4 bucks a gallon at my location. I do not recollect ever previously it costing almost a hundred bucks to fill the tank.

I remember filling the tank of my 65 Mustang for less than five bucks, a long long long time ago.

What is wrong with Walmart roofs that causes leaks anytime it rains hard? I have never seen so many leak catching buckets catching leaks as what I saw in Walmart today.

Do the Washington Walmart roofs leak when it rains? Walmart had only recently arrived when I moved to Texas from Washington. 

I doubt today's deluge will put an end to the current drought.

I am enjoying hearing the pitter patter and occasional thunder claps.

And it has been nice being back in long pants and flannel long sleeved shirts, again, with what will likely be a short lived return to winter...

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Sunday Making Chilly Music In Lucy Park

It was back to Lucy Park for a Sunday stroll through the woods I ventured on this chilly next to last Sunday of the 2022 version of May.

The outer world was chilled to 61 degrees when I began my stroll through the Lucy Park backwoods. I saw a few other backwoods strollers. Usually I stroll alone through this area.

When it is HOT, and the Lucy Park jungle foliage is fully sprouted, I tend to avoid this area due to fear of snakes in the grass. But, snakes do not slither when the temperature is almost 40 degrees below 100.

A few days ago I noticed a Lucy Park addition which puzzled me. I thought it must have had to do with the multiple busloads of school children which had been swarming this area of late.

Today, after leaving the Lucy Park backwoods, I strolled over for a closer look at this new addition.

Several musical instruments have been secured to cement. So, this must be a permanent installation, with weather-proof instruments.

I did not attempt to make music.

Upon driving by, whilst leaving the park, I saw what looked to be a dad with his kids, each making music. I did not stop to listen...

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Cold Front Chilly Walk Around Sikes Lake

The cold front arrived, as predicted, last night. lowering the outer world temperature almost 40 degrees.


Strong gusts of wind came along with the cold. So, no bike ride.

Instead I drove the short distance to Sikes Lake to join the throngs enjoying the return of winter.

No flocks of geese or ducks were floating in the lake today. The flocks of geese and ducks were huddled on shore, trying to stay out of the wind.

My phone said it was 66 degrees when I was walking around Sikes Lake. The temperature taker in my vehicle said it was 61. I think my vehicle's temperature taker was closer to the reality than my phone was.

The 15 day forecast is for continued cool, Only getting back into the 90s a few days before the end of the 15 day forecast.

This bodes ill for summer.

Methinks it's gonna be a hot one, or in the famous words of Adam Levine and Maroon 5, "This Summer's Gonna Hurt Like A Motherflubber"...

Friday, May 20, 2022

Playing With Busloads Of Kids At Lucy Park

It was back to Lucy Park I drove today, again, to have some shady walking time under big green trees.

Along with multiple busloads of school children.

I couldn't figure out what that group of kids, you see in the photo, were doing. It appeared to involve being in a circle holding onto a large round multi-colored fabric, and then waving the large round multi-colored fabric, up and down.

I was not able to photo document the large round multi-colored fabric when it was in up mode.

The temperature was in the low 90s whilst I was doing my walking. I thought I had been told it would be cooler today. Maybe that happens tomorrow.

If it is cooler tomorrow I won't be going to Lucy Park. I will instead be rolling my bike's wheels on the Circle Trail.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

104 Degree Shady Lucy Park Day

With the outer world being heated to over 100 again, today, it was back to the shade of Lucy Park I ventured to get me some salubrious endorphin inducing aerobic activity.

One more day of overheat is scheduled, and then a cold front blows in from the north, dropping the temperature some 30 degrees, give or take a degree or two.

Lucy Park is the only ultra-shady location I have hereabouts to go to when the sun gets into blistering mode. Lake Wichita Park, little shade. Wichita Bluff Nature Area, no shade. Sikes Lake, a little shade. 

I read this morning that the D/FW Metroplex is at a Red Level Ozone Alert, some of which is being caused by dust blowing in from Africa, Saharan Desert dust.

At my location, about 130 miles northwest of the outer edges of D/FW, there is not haze, no smog, just a clear blue sky.

Below we learn it is going to be a mighty fine upcoming weekend, with the outer world chilled cooler than I have my interior world's A/C set to...

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

42 Years Since Mount Saint Helens Blew Her Top

Saw that which you see here on Facebook, this morning, via Tacoma's Queen V.

Queen V commented "Amazing photo of a day I will certainly never forget."

The caption under the photo--- "Dramatic shot of Mount Saint Helens ash plume rising into the sky. About 540 million tons of ash came out over the hours of its eruption. Photographer unknown."

Hard to believe it was 42 years ago. The day seems so recent in my memory. The buildup to the eruption had gone on for weeks, maybe months. That part I don't remember so well. 

It was a Sunday morning, May 18, 1980. I was in a Mount Vernon bathtub, soaking my aching back, when I heard a loud concussive boom, followed by two more loud booms. It did not sound like thunder, it sounded like a bomb exploding.

I was out of the tub about 15 minutes when a neighbor waddled over to tell us to turn on our TV, that the mountain had blown.

A blurb I found via Googling to find out David Johnston's last words...

"Had David Johnston lived, he would be 55 years old now. But the young volcanologist perished along with 56 others when Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. His last words crackled excitedly over the radio to his fellow scientists as a cloud of hot steam and ash rushed toward him: "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!"

Only a little ash made its way as far north as the Skagit Valley, and Mount Vernon. We did get ash masks, just in case. 

Shortly before moving to Texas I drove the new Spirit Highway, to its end, at the location where David Johnston met his end. Where there is now a visitor's center with a view looking right into the crater. There are several interpretive visitor's center along the highway, leading to the final one. 

There is a move afoot to turn the Mount Saint Helens zone into a National Park. I've been to all the national parks of the western states. Mount Saint Helens is totally National Park worthy. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

HOT Walk In Lucy Park With Missing Bridge

It was back to Lucy Park I ventured, this morning, to commune with nature via doing some high speed walking.

The temperature is scheduled to get to 103 later today.

The air was chilled to the lower 90s whilst I was nature communing. But it felt way HOTTER. And humid. Blue sky is currently missing, replaced by a gray sky. Hence, I assume, the high humidity.

For a month, or two, the Circle Trail in Lucy Park has had a TRAIL CLOSED sign, which most people ignored, and walked around the sign, carefully crossing the sagging, failing bridge over a slight chasm.

Today when I got to the TRAIL CLOSED location I saw the sagging, failing bridge is no longer available for a careful crossing of the slight chasm.

I did not look over the abyss to see if the bridge had fallen to the bottom of the chasm. Either that happened, or it was removed.

Or maybe the hail storm a couple days ago knocked the bridge down.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sunday Walk In The Lucy Park Jungle

With the outer world chilled to the low 90s, on the way to today's predicted high of 104, it was back to the backwoods zone of Lucy Park I ventured on this third Sunday of the 2022 version of May.

The hail storm two night's ago wreaked havoc on the Lucy Park foliage, knocking a lot of leaves out of the trees. 

I have yet, this year, to see a snake slithering whilst I walk the jungle of the Lucy Park undeveloped zone.

I know there are snakes in the grass.

Last year I saw the biggest snake I've seen, in Texas, slithering near the location you see in the above photo. I am fairly certain it was not a boa constrictor. But, it looked that big.

Some possible thunderstorming is predicted for later today. I do not know if this will make it not possible to see tonight's lunar eclipse. 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Bike Ride To Hamilton Park Splash Pad With Cranky Sikes Lake Geese


Today has been the first day in a couple months which has not been extremely windy.

I do not like riding a bike when the wind gusts over 40 mph, which has been the case, of late.

So, on this second Saturday of the 2022 version of May, with the outer world almost in dead calm mode, I let my bike take me on a ride today.

We rolled north on the Circle Trail to Hamilton Park, where a couple kids were having fun getting wet in the splash pad, which is what you see in the photo documentation.

Tomorrow is predicted to hit a high of 102. I expect this will have a lot of kids getting wet in the Hamilton Park Splash Pad.

Last night around the time the sun was setting after doing its daily illumination duty, all hail broke loose. Frozen balls of water, golf ball size, rained down, making a lot of noise. The pummeling did not last too long. 

I do not think the Sikes Lake geese like getting pummeled by hail. They seemed cranky, yet subdued, when I rolled by them today. Most of the geese were under the shady cover of tree leaves. None were floating on the lake.

That we are hitting the 100 degree mark, well before the arrival of Summer, bodes ill for the next few months, keeping cool-wise. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Meditating Minutes On The Sikes Lake Bayou Bridge

No, that is not the Wichita River rolling through Lucy Park you see here. What you see here is the scenic bayou at the west end of Sikes Lake. We are standing midway across the bridge which crosses the bayou.

I stood at this location in meditative contemplating mode for a minute or two.

It was barely 90 degrees when I drove to Sikes Lake to do some semi-warm nature communing. Multiple others were also enjoying the pleasantly temperatured outer world.

One of the fellow nature communers was a skinny jogger, well, actually, a skinny runner. Running super fast whilst making it look effortless. I was jealous. Many decades ago I went through a jogging phase, but I have never been able to run fast for any length of time longer than a minute.

If only I could manage to lose about 50 pounds maybe I could manage to run fast. I suspect I would still be more of a plodder than a runner...

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Mini-Alligator But No Lucy Park Backwoods Snake Encounter

 It was back to Lucy Park I ventured this morning for my daily acquisition of endorphins via aerobic stimulation. 

I have avoided the Lucy Park backwoods zone of late due to recent rain making for mucky mud. That and it is in the backwoods one can find oneself having a snake encounter.

Today I figured if I stayed in the middle of the path through the woods that I would be able to see any snakes slithering out from their snakes in the grass location.

Well, I made the entire multi-mile distance without seeing anything slither. 

Other than a mini alligator, more commonly known as a lizard. Lizards do not alarm me in the way snakes do. I have had some large lizard encounters and have never felt in danger. 

I had had a reptile encounter of the turtle sort which felt dangerous. I was swimming in Lake Grapevine when suddenly a reptile head popped up in front of me. I instantly thought it to be a water moccasin, which caused me to swim to shore faster than I knew I was able to swim. From the safety of dry land I saw it was a turtle, not a snake, which was chasing me.

It is a slightly chilly day, today. Only 90 degrees, a few minutes before two in the afternoon...

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Oodles Of Shady Lucy Park Rugrats

Drove to Lucy Park this morning for a little nature communing before the outer world became uncomfortably HOT.

Upon arrival at the Lucy Park log cabin parking lot I saw that multiple buses had delivered oodles of little rugrats to the park. It appeared to be some sort of shady picnic. The loud squealing chatter indicated the oodles of little rugrats were having themselves a mighty fine time.

I just realized I had no clue as to why I think rugrats means little kids. So, I Googled "Rugrats" to learn there was, or is, an American TV series called "Rugrats" in which little kids are the Rugrats.

I have long been thinking that this coming Summer I would find myself up northwest, in Washington, where I would get to have fun playing with some relative rugrats. But, I really do not think that is going to happen. 

Or it may happen. I have been known to change my mind, at times...

Monday, May 9, 2022

Blue Lupines In Texas Hill Country

You who have never been to what is known as Texas Hill Country might think that above you are looking at a field of wildflowers, with most of the wildflowers you see above being known in Texas as the Bluebonnet. The State Wildflower of Texas.

That big snow covered mountain hovering over the field of wildflowers might be a clear clue, for some, that this is not a hill in the Texas Hill Country.

What that snow covered mountain actually is, is a volcano, one of five such erupters in the State of Washington. 

Which would make that mountain above, Mount Rainier, which is the scenic wonder for May on my wall calendar.

In Washington those blue wildflowers are not known as Bluebonnets. They are known as Lupines.

Only in Texas are Lupines called Bluebonnets.

We are in day two of a HEAT wave.

 Below is a screen shot from my phone showing yesterday's Mother's Day high of 102. 

Today is also predicted to hit 102.

Before it got too HOT today I went for a shady walk in Lucy Park. Strong gusts of wind help make the HEAT not feel so HOT.

I fear this early arrival of triple digit temperatures bodes ill for the coming Summer...

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Happy Mother's Day At Lucy Park

With the Mother's Day temperature five degrees shy of being 100, it was to Lucy Park I drove to have myself a shady commune with nature.

There were few fellow Mother's Day celebrators celebrating Mother's Day at Lucy Park whilst I was there.

Plenty of shaded picnic tables available.

Later today the temperature is scheduled to hit 103. 

So far the air conditioner seems to be doing a good job at keeping my abode cool.

I did not walk the Lucy Park backwoods zone today.

The picture you see above is from the non-backwoods zone of Lucy Park. The undergrowth in the backwoods zone is now thick enough for snakes to slither unseen. And with the temperature being HOT the cold blooded reptiles get frisky.

I am not a fan of frisky snakes...

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Having A Heat Wave Hit 103

Over a month to go til the arrival of Summer.

If I remember correctly, and sometimes I do, we did not get heated to 100 in all of 2021. We did go below zero in February of that year. And now, in the year 2022, we are predicted to hit 103 tomorrow.

I am not in the mood to be that HOT.

But, on the plus side of the HEAT, my abode has a new heat pump cooling system which works quite well. Though it has not yet been tested to be cool in this much HEAT.

Yesterday I read that there is some concern the Texas grid won't be able to handle the stress of the entire state going into extreme air conditioning mode. 

If the grid goes down, like it did during that sub zero nightmare of last year, I don't think it will be quite as difficult to endure as it was to lose the ability to keep warm. And pipes won't freeze and burst upon thawing, which happened to many of my neighbors, greatly adding to the misery.

If the electric grid does meltdown, again, methinks I'll cross the border into Oklahoma and spend the day in one of the air-conditioned casinos. That is only about a 20 mile air conditioned drive north.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Back To Lucy Park Jungle Dodging Snakes With New Computer

It was back to Lucy Park I ventured today, after a couple days of windy drippiness. The Lucy Park backwoods zone has become a bit overgrown, thus making it easy for snakes to lie in wait. That and it is a bit muddy due to that recent drippage.

On Sunday we are predicted to go over the 100 degree mark, to 103. If I remember right we did not hit 100, ever, in 2021.

I am happy to be back at full computer strength. Using a Chromebook worked fine for some things, but not so fine for something like getting photos off a phone.

This new computer has 20 gigabytes of RAM. I did not know til getting this that laptops were available with that much random access memory. And it has a solid state harddrive, so no moving parts, nothing spinning, no fan.

And Windows 11 does not seem all that different from Windows 10.

Today is the first day in a long time that it is not windy. So, methinks I shall go on a bike ride this afternoon for the first time in a long time.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Not Getting Goosed By Sikes Lake Goslings And Ducklings


That is my vehicle's white hood you see in the foreground. In front of the white hood are three full-size geese, guarding a flock of goslings.

That field of gray you see in the background is Sikes Lake. Which would make it Sikes Lake where I had my daily constitutional on this first Monday of the 2022 version of May. A cloudy gray sky is above gray Sikes Lake.

Mother goose was not happy I parked so close to her babies. A hissing honking goose is quite intimidating.

Way back in the previous century, when I was a teenager, I got goosed in a raspberry field in my old hometown of Burlington, Washington. 

Getting goosed is painful, at a pain level where it leaves a memory. So, even though my getting goosed incident happened many decades ago, I retain a wary attitude when I am near an angry goose.

I saw a lot of goslings today. And about a dozen ducklings. The ducklings were extremely small. One group was floating on the lake whilst another group waddled nearby in the grass.

All the bird babies attract a lot of attention from those walking by. It's cute seeing a human baby get all excited at seeing a duck baby.

So, that's been my thrilling day today, awaiting the predicted afternoon thunderstorm...

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Computer Vexations With Return To Lucy Park


Yesterday the computer I use to do the blogging thing died an untimely death. Sudden, with little warning. I was able to bring it back to life a couple times, long enough to order a new computer, which arrives on Wednesday.

I used to enjoy getting a new computer, but after more than three decades of dealing with the vexing beasts, the novelty has worn off. Three computers ago I built one myself, from parts bought at Fry's Electronics, with Gar the Texan showing me how to put the components together. 

This morning I figured out how to do the blogging thing on my tablet, but then I remembered there was a Chromebook in my abode, and so that it was I am typing on right now. 

I took a break from my travails and returned to Lucy Park this morning, to walk the backwoods zone. Most of yesterday's extreme sport mud mess was cleaned up, but there was still some wet residue.

More wet residue is currently scheduled to fall from the sky later today and tomorrow.