Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Exploring New Trails

Yesterday, after our usual romp at Mackenzie Park, I decided to take a drive out to the Dunbar Historical Lake Park. That area was suggested by a young man at Mackenzie Park. He said that there were all sorts of trails behind the lake.

Since Kane and I had already spent about 30 - 45 minutes at Mackenzie Park, our trip to the canyon lake at Dunbar Historical Lake was to be just a very brief reconnaissance mission.

And after determining that the trails at Dunbar Lake were indeed worth exploring, Kane and I came back the following day for some more thorough exploration.

There are several trails - mainly for motor bikes and mountain bikes - crisscrossing through the back of of the park. There was no way that we could cover the entire terrain in 2 hours.

One the side of one trail was some farm land. I couldn't tell what the crop was. I was too far away to determine that.

All through the park there were various flowers. I had no idea what these were, but they did look pretty.

Some small yellow flowers like the kind I would see back east.

Leguminous pods from the mesquite tree. Back east mesquite wood would be sold for barbecue flavoring. Here mesquite grows all over the place. It's sort of considered to be a nuisance tree.

This flower looks almost like the purple asters that grow in Massachusetts in late September. If it's the same type of flower, it's not surprising that it's blooming now. The weather here is warmer. I even saw Rose of Sharon in bloom last week. In Massachusetts it doesn't bloom until the end of July or beginning of August.

A view from one side of the trail.

And a view from the other side of the trail. It's amazing that this kind of wilderness is found right in the city!

Another mesquite with pods.

And just a little down the path is a mesquite that is still in bloom.

Close-up of a thistle blossom.

A thistle plant. Hey! At least I recognized that plant.

A plant with tiny purple blossom that look as though they could be in the nightshade family.

More mesquite. It's everywhere.

So are vines like this. They were everywhere.

And they cover a lot of ground.

A dead tree always adds a picturesque element.

Rather sculptural, isn't it?

I discovered this cactus in fruit. It looks like someone took a barrel cactus and buried it in the ground up to its top.

Yellow flowers.

Tiny white flowers.

More thistles.

Tiny white daisy-like flowers. I saw these in Massachusetts, too, but I don't remember what they are.

One of the many yuccas. They have already finished blooming and now have large seed pods where the flowers used to be.

Here's a close-up of the yucca seed pods. This stalk was so weighed down by the heavy seed pods that it bent sideways.

Prickly pear cacti among the high plains scrub.

When I first saw this the day before, I was rather put off by the blatant human intrusion on this beautiful wilderness. But I suppose that any abandoned building structure is fair game for graffiti artists.

Graffiti detail.

More graffiti detail.

And still more some detail.

Kane is probably pretending that he tagged that wall. LOL

A view of the opposite tagged wall.

Graffiti on the outside wall.

Here's the front of the structure.

Some yellow flowers near the graffiti structure.

Close-up of a delicate purple fringy flower.

Here's the same flower from a side view.

One of the trails that Kane and I explored.

As usual, Kane found a muddy patch and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Mysterious white flower buds that have yet to open. I wonder what the flowers will look like.

Another mess of mesquite.

Some of the beautiful wilderness I encountered on our hike.

This trail almost looks like a path leading to an ocean beach in Massachusetts. But we're quite a way from any ocean in the high plains of west Texas.

What sort of critter made these tracks?

It looks like it could be the fore foot track of a raccoon. I heard that the raccoons at Dunbar Lake get very large - almost as big as dogs.

Some unusual whip-like greenery growing by the side of the trail.

Kane is hoping to find some bunnies to chase.

The birds in the trees and brush took flight when Kane approached.

I couldn't believe how blazing white this trail was. Maybe some day we'll see where this white trail leads.

Even though we may feel as though we're in the wilderness, there are signs of civilization nearby. (Can you see the wind turbines in the back?)

Some ground cover with teeny tiny white flowers.

I'm not sure what this is. Maybe a water processing plant, perhaps?

More purple thistles.

A lone tiny yellow flower.

I don't know what this plant was either. Perhaps something in the nightshade family?

A tall sunflower.

A sunflower close-up.

Sunflowers were growing everywhere, which was nice, because sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers. It's hard not to feel cheerful when you look at the bright sunny face of a sunflower.

Here's more of those mysterious vines that I saw growing everywhere.

And look what I found growing at the end of one of those vine! Is it a melon or a squash? I will have to return to find out.

Guess I was right about being close to a water processing plant.

Sunflowers even invaded the water company property. I took this pic through a gate in a tall chain link fence.

More sunflowers in front of the mysterious white conduits.

And just what in the hell are these conduits for? For processed water?

This was the only area - by the water company property - I found these orange flowers.

These flowers had gone by, but I liked the look of the seed balls. They reminded me of planetary spheres.

More sunflowers.

And more mesquite.

I told you they were everywhere.

By now, Kane and I finished our trail exploration and were heading back to the car.

But before going into the car, I wanted to go across the road to check the lake.

Look at the cattails here! That's not something you would expect in a semi-arid area like Lubbock.

And would you expect this lake in Lubbock, too? This is certain not playa lake. Dunbar Lake is part of the canyon lake system that runs through Lubbock. (See the clouds reflected in the lake?)

There's good fishing at this lake. In fact, it is a very popular fishing area here in Lubbock. People catch perch, catfish, carp, and bass.

Walking along the top of the lake dam. (I think it's a dam.)

The top of the damn slopes down to the road level. Ducks enjoy swimming here. These ducks were starting to climb up the slope of the dam. But when they saw Kane, back into the water they went. They didn't know that he just wanted to say "Hi."

Here's a waterfall that flows from the top of the dam.

Here's a side view of the waterfall looking from the road.

And here's the waterfall head on.

The water then flows under the road and comes out on the other side of the road like this.

I heard that this water then flows out through the wooded area, goes under the railroad tracks, and collects in a catch basin where the carp like to hang out.

Hmmm. Sounds like another fun place to explore the next time we visit.