This year, I made a second trip to Brazos Bend State Park. I was there to find alligators as my last trip was unsuccessful. I arrived at the park early, and I headed out to the trails near the lake. I took an early detour along another trail surrounded by tall oaks. I love the oaks in this park. They are tall, old, and draped with Spanish moss.
Afterward, I hit the trail looping around 40 Acre and Elm Lakes. I assumed that the alligators would be hard to spot in their natural habitat. I regretted not bringing my binoculars along to catch sight of the beasts. Turns out the binoculars were not needed. I rounded the bend out of the moss-covered oaks and saw this beast just feet from the trail, sunning itself.
It was such a surprise that I froze in place. After the shock had passed, I gave it a wide berth and continued on. Warily keeping an eye out for alligators anywhere in the vicinity, especially on the sides of the trails, I saw them everywhere, near the trail, in the water, and resting on distant islands.
The last photo in this collection is my favorite. The branches appear to be a small shrub as if the alligator attempted to disguise itself.
I snapped several pictures of water fowl species on the edges of the trail too.
On the trail, I noticed striking dark brown bisecting the trees near the trail. It was another water line. I went to Brazos Bend two years ago after flooding rains had soaked Houston, and I saw an ankle-high water line where the Brazos River overflowed its banks, flooding the park around it. This nascent water line was nearly eye level with me. This is evidence of the flooding that occurred after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, moved north, and nearly stalled over Houston. It was incredible how high the water may have been. I wonder how fast it flowed. It was humbling. I wondered how many adult alligators got displaced due to the hurricane.
The picnic areas where the trail begins, and where my day ended, were filled with more large oaks. So, I will end this post where it started, in the shadow of these looming giants.
© 2018 C.J. Staryk. All Rights Reserved.
Join the Echoes on Facebook.