Hiking the Kirby Trail

My husband and I took a walk on the Kirby Trail today. It isn’t too far from home and it isn’t too long, especially if you walk the inner loop (less than 2 miles). It was a little warm, but not too hot, and that is what I’ve been waiting for. Here’s a short report on what we saw.

Right off we noticed a lot of undergrowth has really thickened up. This trail has a variety of trees including pine, cypress, oak, water tupelo, magnolia, beech and many more. Hurricane Rita took out a lot of tall trees back in 2005, so the under-story plants are getting more light and growing quite well. I was happy to see many smaller trees that will one day be tall trees. Nice recovery.

It’s muscadine time! My grandpa used to make wine from those grapes. If I had my tomatoes canned (the ones waiting in the freezer) I might see if there are any muscadines at the farmer’s market next weekend. Jelly would be nice. Maybe I can get those tomatoes done this week…

Now for critters. We saw a Blue-tailed Skink. Well, that’s what we’ve always called them. They have stripes and a blue tail. I think they are really pretty. When I looked for a photo, I found this article, which is where I learned that when I see one with a blue tail, it’s a young ‘un. And technically they are called Five-lined Skink.

Also, saw a brown frog, or toad, that was about the color of the dirt. My husband wanted to know how on earth I could see him? He moved when he was in front of me, or I probably wouldn’t have. There were birds and evidence of squirrels (pine cone bits all over the place).  And armadillos have been tearing up the ground in search of groceries.

Because of the drought, the sloughs were dry. You can tell they have been dry for a while, too, because vegetation that wouldn’t normally be there is beginning to grow among the cypress knees. Village Creek is way down. If someone were to try to canoe  through the part of it we saw, they would have to carry the canoe quite a bit because of low water and logs.

Because of the scarcity of water there was a scarcity of mosquitoes. I only had one buzzing around me. It was probably the only mosquito in the whole Big Thicket. I say that because I’m mosquito bait. My husband said if there was one mosquito and me, I’d be found.

The pine beetles have been busy and there is a lot of damage from them. They cause the bark to separate from the tree then it falls off and the tree dies. Everything has to eat though. We’ve seen this before and it will be OK.

Overall, we really enjoyed our walk. There is just one thing that drops my jaw. I picked up two Marlboro cigarette butts on this beautiful trail. We passed by the burned out remains of a forest on our way to the Thicket, plus part of the Turkey Creek Trail, which connects to this one just opened back up two days ago. It had been closed because of fire damage this past spring. It’s not like forest fires, burn bans and drought haven’t been in the news lately around here. What knuckle-head – or two – would risk burning down the forest by smoking while walking in it?