Archive for the 'Hiking' Category

Matt Morris Will Not be Tamed

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Matt Morris will not be tamed. Image:

This is Passport to Texas

Matt Morris grew up in the Chihuahuan Desert, exploring the Franklin Mountains.

I’ve been exploring the mountains since I was a child. It was just always a very calming experience for me.

Matt is standing up for the wild places of Texas; sharing his story through Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’s We Will Not Be Tamed Campaign. He says he found healing in nature.

At 25 years old, I was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease; I wasn’t able to keep any food in my system. Medication wasn’t really helping out. And around that time that I was diagnosed, the surgeons were recommending that I remove those infected portions of my intestines. And I refused to get the surgery. A friend of mine got me into the mountains, and we started doing some running. All of a sudden I started noticing the more I pushed myself, the next few days I was feeling a little bit better. And so I started putting two and two together, and just started really pushing my body. The more I was pushing my body, the better I was feeling. Because it’s an autoimmune disease I felt like maybe I’m at this point where I’m suppressing the immune system to a point where my body’s saying, like, okay, we’re actually getting some time to calm down a little bit and to heal. And then I jumped into yoga. And the yoga was what really catapulted me to almost feeling 100%. Today I am off all my medications; I recently had a colonoscopy and there was no sign of the disease. So, it’s a possibility to heal yourself taking a natural approach to life.

Find more stories of outdoorsmen and women standing up for Texas wild places at

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti

Laughter Lifted Spirits on a Mountain

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018
Image by Tyler Priest

Image by Tyler Priest

This is Passport to Texas

Tom Harvey had a personal reason for backpacking the rugged Rancherias Loop at Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Well, frankly, I turned 60, and I wanted to do some adventures before I got too old.

Tall, lean and fit, Harvey is deputy communications director at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Joining him on the hike were 10 former state park youth ambassadors, all more than half his age.

It’s really, really beautiful to meet these young people that are just drawn to nature and wilderness. A lot of them are newbies to this—but they’re drawn to it.

Tom shares his experience in the current issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

We settled on this because it seemed like something that was a big adventure, but doable. And the trail had been blazed. There was a clear route. And it was a classic that hadn’t been written about much in the magazine—so I thought: why not? You know, we’ll write about the Rancherias Loop.

No stranger to wilderness backpacking, Tom says the first night they scrambled to set up camp ahead of a storm.

Well, it was scary when it was happening. We barely got those tents up when the rain hit. And it was blowing a gale. It was very tense.

Find out what happened to the backpackers in the January/February of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine; on newsstands now.

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

TPW Magazine: Hiking the Rancherias Loop

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Photo: Emily Lozano

This is Passport to Texas

Tom Harvey, deputy communications director at Texas Parks and Wildlife, planned several wilderness adventures to celebrate turning 60 last year.

Well, I did one. So at least I got something.

That one: backpacking the Rancherias Loop in Far West Texas with alumni from the state park youth ambassador program. He wrote about it for the current issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. Near the end of the first day, Tom said an approaching storm forced the group to stop, set up camp and take cover.

We barely got those tents up when the rain hit. And it was blowin’ a gale. It was very tense; because the wind was so powerful, it would blow the tent entirely flat, like a giant hand was mashing it down. So, I’d be lying there on my back in my sleeping bag and the tent would come flapping down right onto my face. It was scary. I was really concerned that the wind was so strong that it was just going to peel those tents right off the mountain. And so here I was in my tent—not a happy camper—and what do I hear, but laughter. In the next tent over, there are these three young ladies, and I can hear them giggling. When the big wind would come and blow the tent flat, they would howl with laughter. And it shook me out of my black worry. And I thought to myself, they’re choosing to laugh in the face of this storm. It just lifted my spirits.

Read about the entire three day, two night backpacking adventure in the current issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

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

Take a Hike with a Furry Friend

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018
Park ranger with shelter dog on David Mountains hike.

Park ranger with shelter dog on David Mountains hike.


This is Passport to Texas

Thursday mornings, visitors to Davis Mountains State Park in west Texas meet for guided hikes—with homeless dogs.

We usually have more people than dogs. We usually give one dog to a family and then a third of the way through the walk we’ll stop and then we’ll switch the dogs to different people so everybody has a chance.

Ranger, Tara Poloskey, says participants hike with shelter dogs from the Grand Companions Humane Society in Fort Davis.

The visitors need dogs to walk when they leave their dogs at home and they’re missing their dogs. And, also, the dogs at the shelter don’t get a lot of socialization and maybe they’ve had some pretty hard histories. They need to get out and get socialized and learn how to walk on leashes to make them more adoptable.

The program is popular with park visitors.

Everyone is happy to see the dogs; visitors know they’re helping the dogs. And, I do talk some about the park while we’re walking, so it’s a good mix of interpretation and dog walks. And, for the dogs, it’s a wonderful way for them to socialize and get used to different people.

Hikers sometimes even adopt the dogs.

In fact, today we had two. A total of five, actually, over the course of a year, but today we had two.

Find details about hikes with homeless dogs in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

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

2018 First Day Hikes in State Parks

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017
Hiking Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.

Hiking Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.

This is Passport to Texas

When it comes to making New Year resolutions, success comes when you walk your talk. For the past few years, that’s meant busting a move on state park trails during First Day Hike events.

First Day Hikes is a nationwide initiative that Texas State Parks has been participating in for the last several years.

Thomas Wilhelm, with state parks, says most sites throughout Texas will host First Day Hikes.

Essentially, it’s the concept of getting outside on January first, and doing something to kick the year off right. So, almost all of our parks have some sort of first day hike. A few of our parks take it a unique way. For example, Balmorhea state park—the swimming pool in West Texas—they have a first day dive. So, everybody jumps into Balmorhea, which is a polar dive sort of thing, but that’s a unique experience. But many of our parks do have those first day hikes. And they’re, of course, guided hikes with a park ranger. And it’s just a way to start the year off right on the good foot. Literally.

Find all First Day Hike events at

That’s our show for today… We record our series at the Block House in Austin, Texas…Joel Block engineers our program.

Funding for Passport to Texas provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

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