The accidental park visit

We had grand plans for the week of Spring Break for several day trips. Unfortunately the boys had a nasty lingering stomach virus most of the week and we barely left the house. On the one day they were feeling well we planned to visit Lake Pflugerville after seeing this post on the Free Fun in Austin blog.  http://www.freefuninaustin.com/2010/06/beach-at-lake-pflugerville.html

I’m not very familiar with the Pflugerville area and was using the map function on my iPhone for directions.  I try to avoid taking the toll roads whenever possible but I couldn’t figure out another way to get there with the directions I had. There was construction on the toll road and as a result the exit we should have taken to go to Lake Pflugerville was before you could see the exit sign.  Fail on the traffic planners part…We had to drive several more miles before we could get off the toll road (I45) to turn around.  When we exited we saw a sign that said county park to the right and we decide to go check that park out instead.

We ended up at Northeast Metro Park. http://www.austinparks.org/apfweb/park.php?&parkId=677 The park is primarily a sports complex with a large number of soccer fields and a couple of playgrounds near concession stand areas. Initially I thought the park was going to be a total bust but we noticed a sign marking a nature trail so we parked and investigated the trail.

The trail is a paved park trail with fitness stations along the way.  The trailhead splits in two directions and we took the path to the left thinking that it would be a large loop. However, it turned out to be an out and back trail with a loop at the other end.  We did not go back and take the path to the right.  The trail was close to a creek for part of the way and there were some picnic tables that were fairly near the creek bed.

The boys enjoyed trying out their skills at balance beam walking, pull ups, push ups, sit ups and log climbing and jumping.

I didn’t have my Garmin with me that day and the trail mileage wasn’t marked. I’m guessing that we walked about 2 miles total.  It was a nice uncrowded trail and we enjoyed our visit.

Facilities:

Restrooms – There was a large restroom facility at the parking lot for the trail next to a concession stand and soccer fields.  However, the restroom was locked in the middle of the afternoon during Spring Break week.  My assumption is that they only unlock the bathrooms when sporting events are occurring.  This was disappointing as I think restrooms next to trails should be open for the walkers/runners/bikers etc to be able to use them.

Water fountain – There was a water fountain next to the restrooms as well but it was not operational.  The entire park outing was a spur of the moment venture and we did not take any water or Gatorade with us like we normally would.

We had planned to stay at the park a bit longer for the boys to play on the playscape but after we discovered the locked bathroom and non-functional water fountain we decided to skip the playscape.

Advertisements

Happy 13th Birthday

Thirteen years ago today, I was given the first of the two greatest blessings in my life. I became the greatest of all things I could ever be…mom.  I am so proud of the young man he is becoming. A follower of Christ, kind, loving, considerate of others, chivalrous, respectful, confident, a skilled martial artist, a good student, intelligent, witty, a lover of books with a talent for writing, a big brother who is willing to carry his younger brother when he needs a hand. A young champion who will grow into a fine young man of God…

Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farm

We’ve had the Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farm in Austin (www.pioneerfarms.org) on our to visit list for several years.  Their calendar said that there would be reenactors recreating the Texas militia heading off to war.  We’re always up for a good reenactment so we decided to head out to the farm this weekend.

My oldest was fascinated by the blacksmithing demonstration.  There was another family there who appeared to be homeschoolers and they were asking the blacksmith lots of questions about the properties of various metals and the science behind blacksmithing.  The little one and I were a bit bored by the discussion and wandered off to look at other things.

1870s Texian Farm

The general store at the front of the farm and another building are replicas but the majority of the buildings of the farm are buildings from the 1800s that were either native to the site or were moved in from the Austin area.

I found the 1840s Tonkawa encampment the most interesting site at the farm.  Another family that was visiting and who had been to the farm previously told us that the site had actually been inhabited by Native Americans.  The site was surrounded by a number of large trees and backed up to the creek.

Other sites on the farm include a German immigrant homestead circa 1868 and a cotton plantation homestead circa 1887

The reenactors were a disappointment.  We were at the farm for 1 1/2 to 2 hours and all we witnessed were a few men marching around singing songs while doing rifle drills and a few women in hoop dresses watching them.

The farm offers a nice view of the kind of houses people lived in 1840s to 1890s Texas.  I would not recommend going during the summer. It was quite warm when we there.

*Snakes – we did not see any snakes.  However, the guided walking tour booklet warns you to beware the natural hazards of the Texas prairie – snakes, fire ants, bees, poison ivy, stinging nettles and thorns.  Also the man who took our admission money told us a story of an Australian visitor who was bitten by a rattlesnake near the barn.  We mostly stayed on the path and followed his advice to shuffle our feet and make noise.