Fulshear Afternoon

bridgeWe went out west this afternoon.

It’s been a long time coming, this latest trip to Fulshear.  We hid some geocaches out there in 2012, and a few of them haven’t been found in a while.  One of the things on my list that I wanted to do when I recovered from my leg injury was this very trip: cache maintenance, exploration, and a little cache finding.

The kids didn’t want to leave the house but we didn’t care.  I did try to sweeten the trip with a stop at Essence House II for cookies and drinks before we started our journey in earnest, though.  Once they got outside, they had a good time.  The following are their portraits of outdoor play near the Brazos River bank:

AJ at Brazos Kaleb at BrazosThis area is one of TPWD’s canoe launch sites they built in late 2011.  I have yet to see the canoe launches they built out here show up on an actual paddling trail listing on the TPWD website, but this place does seem to be popular with people wanting to fish, play in the river, and shoot guns.  The boys almost always find 12 gauge shotgun shells down here when we go.

In the top picture, the fishermen on top of the bridge support had just walked up there – that was not possible last time we were down here.  The waters have receded a lot.  You can see the pile of branches on the supports showing the level the water had been at before.  We have been to this canoe launch quite a few times, although never to actually launch a canoe.  There are a lot of trails that go on past where we have our cache hidden.  Someday, we might hide more.  I let the boys explore a little within eyesight of me, but the inclines on the trails were too great for me to follow them right now, being just a week and a half post leg surgery.  I still have stitches in my leg and barely can handle any distance or terrain changes for the moment.

After this, we headed to the other canoe launch out here, about 3.4 miles away.  For people who don’t canoe, we sure seem to spend a lot of time at the launches. We were here to check on another cache, named for a Sasquatch story a cop told us out here.  It is also the site where a cross marker lay in remembrance of two people who were murdered near here and whose bodies were found in the river.

Today, there was another body out here, although we are fairly certain from the shape it was animal in origin, and not a human.  We noticed it when we parked, a brown roundish lump laying on the ground in between the parking spot and the cache site, not 20 feet from the cross.  We thought it was a dead deer, but when we got closer, we realized the brown color came from the blanket that was thrown over it.  There were maggots crawling on the blanket, and when my oldest son (foolishly) threw a small rock at the decomposing body, you could see the ripples underneath of what certainly was a huge colony of maggots kids on culvertmaking work of this carcass.  It started to smell and we were disgusted and walked away, none of us having the guts to lift the blanket and see what was underneath.  From the body shape, we suspect it was a large dog, or perhaps a pig or other small livestock. This picture of the kids sitting on the culvert just to the right of this disturbing find.

Ew.  After this, we were going to head for a small series of caches we have hidden on a country road about 6 miles east, but we decided to take a scenic backroad diversion to get there and then ran out of time.  Instead, we found a shady country road that might be ripe for a new cache series (although the nearby residents that we saw outside their homes were causing us to question this choice – it seemed like sort of a rough area – it had a “Deliverance” meets South Africa kind of feel to it, with unfriendly eyes and condemned shacks – which was a surprise because the road backed up to a very nice high end neighborhood).

So we drove back up to the main road (1093) and then entered the neighborhood of Fulbrook and found a couple of caches there.  Here is my log entry for one I particularly enjoyed:

Found it JustKeely found  Rocky Trail

I really enjoyed this cache, it was everything I like about caching. It was a short, scenic walk from parking, and we saw a blue heron and a great white egret in the pond. While signing the cache log, we saw some striking red, purple, and white flowers, as well as an interesting looking beetle. We saw a spider web with a small black spider with a white back on the walk back, and then we heard some bird just going at it, so we looked around to identify them. The smallest of our boys said it was probably a boy and girl boy talking to each other, and even though he got in trouble for talking so loudly and potentially scaring them off, he did appear to be right. Team Four Paw was also right when he speculated about it being woodpeckers. Two red bellied woodpeckers were getting into it, chasing each other around and tweeting. Well, on second thought, maybe it was two males and not a male and female – maybe they were fighting over territory or something. It was neat to see though. Thanks for the fun little outdoors experience for the day.

turks capThese are some of the flowers I saw.  Took me a while to identify these flowers because I am not that good at it, but I finally found it:  Turks cap, or Malvaviscus drummondii.  Here is another shot of them up against a tree.

tree flowersToo bad I didn’t get a picture of the woodpeckers.  I did get one of the beetle we saw, but it is not in focus.  The spider web would have been cool, but was too hard to try to capture with my cell phone camera.

I think the boys had fun, even though they were quite happy to be headed home after this.  I feel good about finally maintaining my caches, and about getting out of the house.  Hopefully, after I get my stitches out, my leg will actually heal up with no more problems and I can start hiking again.