It takes practice and it takes patience, but flexibility is one key to a less stressful life.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit yet another Texas state park (actually 4 state parks in 2 days, but that’s another post). This is not about the park we tried to visit, but rather a plan that went sad.

Yes, I said sad.

We drove almost 2 hours to the Stephen F. Austin State Park only to be informed upon check in that we could only walk about 1.5 miles (round trip in 3 different sections amounting to no more than .8 miles each) worth of the trails. While this is not traumatic on the surface, it did throw a wrench into our plans for the day.

I was prepped for a 6 mile hike: water, lunch, snacks, more water, and the ever important New Hiking Shoes. I was ready to visit nature, watch pileated woodpeckers, cache, and picnic in the cool spring wind.

What I found instead, was fodder for 2 posts. This one and another one regarding the state parks we would visit that day. Because my friend and I are pretty laid back, we will admit openly we were frustrated and disappointed in our plans going awry, but we did make the most of a sad situation.

I call it sad because time and again in Austin State Park we saw signs that the trail was closed. We nicknamed the sign, Sad Sign:

Sad Sign

Sad Sign courtesy of Regina Herry

Along the way, bombarded by gnats and flying insects who had absolutely no respect for the OFF bath I took, we stopped to watch the little ants that could moving leaves 4 times bigger than them, a baby turtle who was trying to cross the trail, and only 1 (yes 1) pileated Woodpecker. I would include a picture, but alas, we could not get him on camera. So here’s Yertle Jr. the Turtle:

Yertle Jr photo by Regina Herry

Yertle Jr photo by Regina Herry

After the extremely short visit to Austin State Park, we headed back towards Austin and stopped at Buescher State Park, followed by Bastrop State park. There’s a road between the two connecting them. Rumor has it I may actually be biking that winding roller coaster of a road in a couple weeks.

Buescher only had 1 trail opened due to the fires last year. It was hard to see all the burned trees, but as we traveled from one burned park to another, there was new growth coming in. Mother Earth is doing her darndest to fix herself. It was sad, but beautiful to see.

Bastrop had all trails opened with a warning to watch out for fallen trees. Unfortunately, time was not on our side and we only got to walk about a mile in this park (just long enough for me to find the cache I needed) before we had to head back to Austin.

We could have given up after park one, heck, we could have thrown in the towel when she highlighted what little we could hike, but we didn’t. Because of our flexibility we can brag about visiting 3 state parks in one day, the fact that somehow between the 3 parks we managed to walk 5.5 miles, we saw the most awesome animals, the death and rebirth of parks after floods and fires, and best yet…we laughed and had a great time.

Spending time outdoors with friends is the best thing on the planet.

For me, I got to go hiking with another group of friends the next day (hence, 4 state parks in 2 days) in Pedernales Falls (which I wrote about previously). It was a longer hike than anticipated, 8 miles total, but having fun, and spotting some rare things in the park, and visiting springs made for a very enjoyable weekend. I love the falls and the rain a few days before made this a spectacular spot. The rushing clear water was soothing and the sun made me feel better on all levels.

When all else fails, go with the flow and enjoy the moment.


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