|Visit to Nature Center
Today I drove up to the Armand Bayou Nature Center for a little field trip. It’s not very far from Dickinson – about 15 miles north, 10 as the crow flies.
I got there about noon. I had picked up a Subway sandwich before leaving Dickinson, so I had lunch at a little pond observation platform before going in. My lunchsite was a learning platform for younger children, based on the placards.
This was a fee site, so I had to pay $3.00 to take a walk. The lady who helped me said I was the first one there today, and I only saw two other people on the trails the whole time I was there. Pretty much had the whole park to myself – other than a group of Asian folks who were in some sort of educational class in one of the buildings.
The Nature preserves primary focus is to preserve the grasslands, forest and marshes surrounding the Armand Bayou. The Center offers several preservation activities as well as numerous educational programs.
Before arriving at the trail heads, you had to walk across a raised boardwalk, over a very southerly looking pond – you know the kind: green, murky water, pond skum, moss hanging from the trees, turtles sunning themselves…. But no alligator!. Darn, I was hoping to see an alligator. Oh well.
The three primary trails all began at the same place, essentially. So, if you wanted to walk all three, you pretty much had to come back to the beginning each time. What I found interesting was that each trail said it featured a certain style of vegetation or ecosystem – but they all looked pretty much the same to me.
Each of the trails was about a mile and a third long, so all in all, I probably walked 5 miles today.
Today was my first experience with Armadillo's. While walking along, I was startled with some rustling in the brush. Of course, not knowing what type of critters were lurking out there, I took pause for a minute with heightened senses to see what was making the ruckus. Lo and behold, out comes this little armored critter with his nose stuck in the leaves, just "nosing" along. They could care less about me, and one of them even crossed the path in front of me less than 10 feet away. Since I wasn't sure how they would react, I kept my distance and my wits.
The only other critters I saw were a few white tail deer. Pretty uneventful in the critter category!
Another thing I noticed was that the entire area was really FLAT. Hardly any elevation changes, hills, rises, humps in the path, or anything. I don't think there was more than a 5 foot elevation change in the entire park. Makes you understand how areas like this can flood so easily.