Yesterday I got up early to try to locate a good place to hike in east Texas. My friend Gene lives in Texarkana, three hours away, and we spoke of meeting someplace ninety miles from each of us on New Year's Day for a nice woodland hike. I enjoy bowl games and Rose Parades, but I think that exercise is more important to me now than another channel surfing opportunity.
I found that Lake Bob Sandlin, near Mount Pleasant, has a nice 4 mile heavily wooded trail. I know that area a bit, and it's really pretty. It's not far from Pittsburg, Texas, which has those scalding "hot links" that are a regional delicacy.
Because where I live, Allen, is in "prairie transition zone", one pretty much can go east from here and find woods, or west from here and find prairie. There are exceptions, of course, such as the "cross timbers" forest just northwest of here. But in general, you know that whichever direction you go, things change.
Gene suggests it may be too cold to hike on Thursday, so we're tabling the idea pending weather reportage. If we don't go hiking, I'll try to get up early Thursday anyway, and head to some outdoors activity. I keep thinking of going to the Asian markets in Richardson, getting some squid from the fish counter, and then heading up to Park Hill Prairie to hike and fish. I like the solitude there, the pleasant hiking, the good fishing, the herons, and the sight of the emu in the field with the baby goats at a nearby farm.
When we lived in Los Angeles, we'd go on New Year's Day with our friend Heidi to the Seal Beach Pier and go pier fishing. Seal Beach Pier is very picturesque, jutting well out into the bay. On a clear day, you can see Catalina, 26 miles away. Boats roll in and boats roll out there. We never caught many fish, but it was great for people-watching. Although we did it for just a couple of years or so, it always seemed like a grand holiday tradition to me.
I have this longing to go to Galveston, though I've not been since I was a child. Galveston is one of those old-fashioned resort towns, on an island just off the coast. It's got beaches and gardens and wild birds and picturesque homes and the ability to take a fishing party boat. But I want to be there because it just seems to me to old-fashioned fun.
The Arkansas equivalent of Galveston is Hot Springs, where they have hot springs (needless to say), performing animals at the IQ Zoo, an alligator farm, gorgeous Ouachita Mountains, hiking trails, and charming but not expensive older hotels. When I was a kid, we'd go stay at the Velda Rose, which always impressed me because it had a heated pool on the fourth floor. Now it's reopened--maybe we'll go back.
I am an endless array of great weekend plans that never happen. But I still plan to have a great New Year's Day.