Archive for the 'Hiking' Category

2016 Halloween Hijinks in State Parks

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016
State Parks Halloween

Scary fun is in store during the Halloween season in Texas State Parks

This is Passport to Texas

Make plans to visit state parks this month for a wide range of Halloween activities for the whole family.

On Friday, October 21, Galveston Island SP hosts a Zombie Apocalypse Hike. Rangers weave in scary fun with real life survival skills during an hour-long hike.

On Saturday, October 22, South Llano River SP in the Hill Country, where owls, bats, snakes and spiders take center stage for two-hours of show and tell with these kinda creepy, but very beneficial, critters.

Also on Saturday, October 22, Estero Llano Grande SP in the Rio Grande Valley celebrates its 10th Annual Spooky Science Fest. This year’s theme is Jurassic Estero; complete with a dinosaur program for the kids, as well as hayrides, costume contests, food vendors, and more.

And on Thursday, October 27th, it’s Halloween at the Hatchery at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. Local businesses and organizations will hand out candy, and the center will be decorated throughout with a Halloween theme.

Find details for these and other events in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV – Yoga Hike

Friday, August 19th, 2016
Yoga Hike

Yoga Hike, Image via YogaHike.Net Photographer Olympia Sobande

This is Passport to Texas

Tai Chi enthusiasts aren’t the only ones who exercise in the outdoors. Christopher Howell leads yoga hikes at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin.

What yoga hike is, is just like it sounds. I mean, we hike and we do a little yoga. The trails are so nice. We do the 2.8 mile Onion Creek Trail. I love how the trails are carved out. They’re easy to follow. Any age level can hike.

Join Howell’s Yoga Hike during a segment on the TPW TV Show on PBS the week of August 21.

So, we do a little warm up to get started. I have people get fully present. Focus on why they’re here. What they want to do while they’re here. Get ‘em ready to do a hike.

Both the hike and the yoga are gentle. And Howell says, both allow participants to connect with the natural world.

I want people to feel more connected to nature. Not to feel as though they’re something separate from nature. They are nature. They’re an animal. And so, doing a hike, and doing a little bit of yoga, seems to narrow that gap. And as we become more aware of that, we treat each other better. We treat nature better.

Find out how Christopher Howell’s yoga students end their hike, when you watch the TPW TV show on PBS the week of August 21. You’ll want to join them.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Saving an Injured Hiker at Caprock Canyons

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Helicopters are necessary in search and rescue missions in the canyons.

This is Passport to Texas

Long, hot hours passed July Fourth Weekend at Caprock Canyons State Park before rescue workers located an injured woman hiker in a remote area of the park. Their UTVs [Utility Task Vehicle or Utility Terrain Vehicle] could take them only so far over the rugged terrain.

Once we could no longer drive, then it was another hour and a half hike to get tot heir location.

Park Superintendent, Donald Beard, says the woman and a male companion had strayed from designated trails. She fell during their hike and broke her leg. Luckily a cell signal was available, and the man called for help.

We had the DPS Troopers. They launched a helicopter from Lubbock, and were able to set down on top of the canyon, above her location.

As night fell, they needed accurate coordination to get her to a hospital for medical care.

Once we did locate her, it was an exercise of high angle rescue, where we had to have a crew that repelled down to her location, strap her into a basket, and then the rest of the crew were able to lift her up to a location. Then they could carry her by foot to where the helicopter was.

When I spoke to Donald Beard, it was only two days after the rescue at Caprock Canyons State Park.

When she left here, even though she had been exposed to high temperatures, and had a broken bone without medical attention for eight to ten hours, she was still alert, and she was coherent and doing well. So, I’m assuming that she’s going to be okay.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Calling Critters at Night

Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Tree limbs.

You never know what you might see in the treetops at night.

This is Passport to Texas

Wildlife viewing at night presents a challenge. Yet, some species become more vocal when the sun sets, and will “talk to you” and even come into view if you know how to speak their language. State park interpreter, Kelly Lauderdale, has a few tips for enticing wildlife to come out of the shadows.

There are apps you can download for free or for minimal cost – like Audubon Reptiles. I use it for my night hikes to play those calls and to identify those different calls. Visitors can easily use those themselves. And this is what I do on my hike: I play the call, and do it for a little while and see if anything answers. If using a recorded call – and animals might call back – but does that ever draw the animals to you? And if it does, what should you do? I have had success with calling in an eastern screech owl. So, I play the call, it answers back, and it comes in. If you’re lucky you may be able to see the full owl sitting up in the tree talking to you. In that case – enjoy it! Don’t shine your flashlight up and blind him or her. Just sit and listen and enjoy and then go on.

State parks frequently offer guided night hikes. Find one near you on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hikes After Dark

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016
Night Hike

Night Hike

This is Passport to Texas

Don’t let the dark keep you indoors. With a flashlight, a friend, and a little daring, a night hike in a state park can be exhilarating.

One thing that’s really kind of fun, too, is to not use your flashlight.

When we spoke, Kelley Lauderdale was an interpretive specialist at Ray Roberts Lake State Park north of Denton.

If you let your eyes adjust to the dark and the moonlight, you’d be surprised at how well you can actually see. And sometimes when you do it that way, it really reveals a whole new wilderness. You see a lot more than when you get this tunnel vision with the flashlight and only see what’s illuminated.

Kelly recommended hiking with others on familiar trails, and to be prepared to experience wildlife by ear.

There are lots of amphibians that are active at night. And that’s one of the really fun things to listen for, because they’re pretty easy to hear. And oftentimes, once you learn to identify the sound of an amphibian, you’ll say: “Hey! That’s what I’ve been hearing all this time? I know that!”

Frogs and toads aren’t the only animals active at night.

There are owls that are active. Eastern screech owls are very nocturnal. Another bird that a lot of people hear at night is the Chuck Wills Widow; and they’ll sing and call all night long. Sometimes campers get a little bit tired of it if it’s really close to their campsite.

So step outside when the sun sets and get an earful of wildlife.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.