I don't know if you remember or not, but last week I mentioned that Joy and I finally thought to help ourselves to a map of the Mabry Carlton Preserve which is one of our favourite hiking spots. The above photo is part of that map. And while looking at the actual map instead of wandering around aimlessly (which seems to be our style) we learned a number of things we didn't know even though we've been hiking this preserve for quite some time now.
One of the most intriguing things that we discovered has to do with the bottom part of the map. I don't know if you can see it but along the very bottom of the map page are other preserves. What? We had no idea these places even existed! Naturally our first instinct was to go check them out! Of Course! New Places to Hike! WooHoo!
And then, almost immediately following that excitement, we discovered that the entrances to those preserves are off of a private, gated dirt road. Well Poop. We went from a high to a low in record time. Ratz. So we kind of struck those grand plans off of our list and instead got excited about heading out on some of the other trails within the boundaries of Mabry Carlton Preserve and that's what we set out to do on Thursday.
It was early in the morning of another gorgeous day when we hit the road.
Once we hit the trails, in our own inimitable fashion, we got turned around fairly quickly (even with the map....we are hopeless). We make emotional decisions I suppose. When the question is, "Should we A) stick to the known trail and go where we originally planned or should we B) take this intriguing new trail that we've never seen before, the answer is always B! Always!
After awhile we found an adorable little bridge that headed off trail. Naturally we crossed it. I think it's a rule. When you come to a cute little wooden bridge you absolutely positively have to take it. At the end of that bridge was an intriguing little gate. And as it turns out, that rule about going over cute little bridges has an addendum that requires us going through charming little wooden gates too. (if they are unlocked of course)
Beyond the little gate was a wide open dirt road and on the other side of the dirt road was another wooden gate, also unlocked. So yes, we went through. Of course we did. We had to! It's the law!
There were signs on both gates. Oh Me Oh My! We accidentally had stumbled onto the super secret entrance to one of those other preserves! Wow! (I just now noticed that the sign says, "Carlton Reserve not Preserve". I wonder who it is reserved for. Or does someone have reservations about Carlton. Hmmmmmm.
It was a preserve within a preserve. Kind of. And it was beautiful! Most of the trails were very wide and nicely maintained others were narrow and wild. But all of it was so green and lush and beautiful.
However we soon noticed something very odd. There were no birds. Not a single solitary bird. No bird sounds, no birds zooming overhead, what the heck? It just made no sense. And then we started seeing more and more of something that makes us uncomfortable. Signs of feral hogs. Wild piggies. Not nice creatures. Joy and I love wildlife, we respect it, and believe all of it to be beautiful. However, whenever possible we avoid the oinkers because they can be dangerous and unpredictable. The deeper we got into this preserve the more of it we saw and too much of it was not old pig signage but recent. We took our very first opportunity to hike right back out. Whew!
Safely back in Carlton Preserve we resumed our hiking, picture taking, wandering and occasionally we even pulled out the map to try to figure out where we were. It was a great dragonfly picture day so of course I have a few dragonfly photos to share with you:
And I have some other photos too. Of course I do! You knew you weren't going to get away that easily!
So that was pretty much it. The preserve within a preserve which was a wonderful surprise and some decent photos! Huzzah! Another Great Hike!
Not sure where we are heading next week, but you can absolutely positively count on the fact that I will be here to tell you about it afterwards.
Meanwhile, everyone please have a great weekend. By no you know my policy, "Have Fun, Be Safe.
Hugs all 'round
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.