Sunday, November 25, 2007

South Padre Island

What a gorgeous Thanksgiving Day! A storm from the Northeast blew in late Wednesday night. The boys were loving it and I was grateful to have a breath of New England. The Atlantic Ocean has an aged smell to it quite unlike the brininess of the Gulf Coast.

Hudsy, Murphy and I took a break from training this week to fill our gullets full, do a little cutting up and spend some time with the family. Thankfully, everyone made it down for the holiday. Also, if you haven't seen Hudson's first day on the beach I posted last year, it's too cute! Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Garner State Park

This weekend we're in the absolutely stunning Garner State Park which is in the Southwestern expanse of the Edwards Plateau, a range of limestone mesas known colloquially as Texas' Hill Country. The crystal blue waters of the Frio River cut its eastern front and are accented by the majestic Bald Cypress. Some of them are believed to be more than 700 years old like the one Murphy is rooting around in the photo nearby.

Aside from the splendor, it is densely populated with peaks some of which reach 2,000 feet, and that is the primary reason I chose Garner this weekend. The boys and I needed to do some elevation training and this is one of the most ideal locations in Texas. Crystal Cave was our first adventure and while it's only a mile roundtrip, the grade ranges from between 45 and 60 degrees and the narrow, rock ridden path added to the challenge.

Hudson was full throttle all the way and although Murphy had difficulty with footing from time to time, he was a true champion! That I kept reminding him his breed hails from the Pyrenees Mountain Range might have had something to do with it... heh!

Still, I was so proud of the ole boy for firing on all pistons but he was so spent when we returned to base camp, he conked out on his new collapsable water bowl. His big wedge shaped head plopped right down on it, nevermind that it was full of water. My sniggering must have stirred him because by the time I got the camera, he had moved. I couldn't stop laughing...

The temperature dropped to just above freezing as the first cold front moved in a day before our arrival. In our hasty departure I forgot to pack extra blankets and probably would've frozen my bollocks off if they weren't with me! They made perfect bunkmates. When I awoke Sunday morning, Murphy was spooning me on my left and Hudson sprawled out atop me to my right. Ah, what a glorious way to awaken!

In addition to training, we spent some time studying the indigenous ecosystem. For those of you who have never seen Little Blue Stem grass, it's really quite something. You can't really tell it from the photo but it is stalked like bamboo, bearded like wheat and it has a full palette of colors, too. Some of the other native flora at the park we learned about; Mexican Buckeye, Flaming Leaf Sumac, Escarpment Cherry Tree, Mountain Laurels, and the many, many species of oaks that are a staple of the Lonestar State's landscape. Not to mention the native fauna, too. Hudsy had his first encounter with an armadillo. Hehe... I'll save that story for another time. Quite a special place this is.... And, Hey, if you ever do come here, get to know Frank. He's one of the parks most endearing features.