This 4th of July weekend we explored another local park - Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve. Oak Point is an 800 acre open prairie which has plenty of wildflowers, bushes and vegetation, and miles of paved bike trails and many more miles of natural trails in the woods within the park limit and beyond.
Last Sunday was a typical Texas summer day - cloudless sky, bright sunshine and hot. When we arrived at the park via its main entrance around 8:45am, there were only a handful of cars parked in the huge parking lot. Dismounting 4 bikes from the bike rake, inflating bike tires, applying sunsceens, and then checking park trail map one more time,in 10 minutes, we were on our way into the park - Justin leading the way.
About a quarter mile into the ride, we reached the oak point lake. The rest of the family sped away as soon as they saw me catching up, I stayed at the lake spill way a bit longer to look around. The lake elongates from west to east, and quite narrow in south-north direction. Besides the man-made concrete trail around the lake, the trees, vegetation and blooming bushes all look quite natural in there habitat. A couple of people were fishing on a pier at northwest corner of the lake, another two were jogging or running around the lake, a family of four were sitting by the spill way, preparing to hike into the woods. The lake rippled under a northern breeze.
Continuing from the spill way, the trail branches - one branch curved back to hug the lake, the other branches away. I followed the run away branch which is on the west perimeter of a large open prairie bordered by trees, blooming plants and the Rowllete creek. Yellow Sunflowers, purple "sensitive briars", white "pink evening primrose", red-yellow "blanketflowers" were blooming among the spread of out-of-season whithered plants. There was no shade to this stretch of the bike trail - just as I was thinking that it would be a grueling bike ride, I noticed additional branches of the trail to the creek direction - it would be nice to bike there. My family was waiting for me at the second break-away bridge over the creek, while looking around, drinking water.
The trail extends south into a small forest - with well spaced large trees with umbrella like canopy. It is definitely well shaded all day long, and it is paved and level. We rode through the underpass at spring creek road, the trail becomes more like tree formed tunnel. In the background shrill sound of Cicada, we heard bird calling now and then. The temperature on the trail was actually at a very pleasant level despite the hot day; the ride was very comfortable. There were few hikers or bikers on the trail or in the park. It felt like we had this hidden biking paradise all to ourselves!
(to be continued)
note: the flora identification in the prairie was per the guide from the park website