I suspect I visited the Acton Nature Center when it wasn’t at its best. The weather was that special hot that it gets in Texas in the summer and many of the plants were suffering from a long dry spell. But it was still great! The Acton Nature Center is located at 6900 Smoky Hill Ct., Granbury, TX 76049 and has been around for more than a decade. Because of the heat, I didn’t explore the entire center, but I did venture to the butterfly gardens which was lovely. There were a couple of butterflies and a huge lizard, as well as an air conditioned structure used to view birds (that day it was cardinals and hummingbirds).
The volunteer was very welcoming and informative and suggested walking the loop down near the pond, which was wooded and a tad cooler. Sadly the pond wasn’t there! I’m sure it will be back after some rain.
I’d love to go visit in the Spring when the wildflowers are blooming and it is cooler. The volunteers that have created this center should be very proud of their efforts.
Powellwoods Gardens is a wonderful garden that you have to know about to find. The three acre park is located at 430 South Dash Point Road, Federal Way, WA. My first reaction was that the air felt oxygen rich and it was so green, gardens surrounded by tall pines. There are seven separate gardens and a lovely little pond. There is a private house and an open to the public garden room with chairs to rest, a bathroom and a table with a honor pay box ($5 per those over 12).
The variety of flowers so late in the season was a nice surprise and the little rabbit made me smile. Monte Powell purchase the site which is 40 acres altogether in 1993 and after much work the gardens were first opened to the public in 1999. I plan to go visit again at other times of the year to see what additional treasure I can find. More information can be found here.
I finally made it up to Mt. Rainier to see this year’s wildflowers. Normally they are just starting to be in full bloom. The National Park Service’s website says “Mount Rainer’s renowned wildflowers bloom for a limited amount of time every year. The “peak” bloom for wildflowers is heavily dependent on weather and precipitation patterns, so accurate predictions are difficult. In most years, many flowers will be blooming by mid-July, and by the first of August the meadows should be very impressive.” This year because of our ongoing heatwave the wildflowers came into bloom six to eight weeks early, so I was catching the last of them. But still they were lovely and it was great to hike around and see the new to me visitor’s center. Driving up and down the mountain and even hiking around was like being in a cloud. When I crossed the bridge over the Nisqually River, I couldn’t even see much of the bridge and nothing to either side. It was a real leap of faith to keep going!
This sign was displayed at the trail head and it made me wonder what the snowfall was for the year that just passed. 2014-2015 was a new record of low snowfall with only 266 inches. That is not a good thing impacting the glaciers, lake levels, skiing, fish migration and the water that will be available to Washington residents this year.
A while back while we were having that string of lovely weekends, dear husband and I were exploring and came upon the Des Moines Marina and Creek. It is a lovely area with a marine (you might have guessed), a large parking lot, some public art (including a way cool mural) and to the north end trails and beach. The Fish/man in the mural is also a statue elsewhere in Des Moines.
The Tacoma Nature Center at 1919 South Tyler was a hopping place this lovely summer day. There was a guy taking photos, a jogger, a couple taking a stroll, an entire group at summer camp and me. The weather was perfect as I walked the mile loop around the 17 mile Snake Lake and its associated wetland. It’s been a while since my last visit and I noticed some updates to the 71 acre nature preserve. The bridges looked better then I remembered and there is now a Discovery Pond play area for the kids (oh, and there were some moms with kids there, almost forgot them!)
On our way home from Long Beach, we visited the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge at 3888 State Route 101, Ilwaco, WA 98624. It was really a treat! There is a small display room in the ranger’s work area and of course a delightful ranger. There is a short, level boardwalk area with plenty of interesting art. The boardwalk goes next to a pond, which was full of newts! For the more ambitious walkers, there is a trail that is relatively steep and has nature facts along the way. It is a lovely and challenging walk and at the end is a meditative labyrinth.
I was driving around with my dear husband looking around for a new place when we happened upon Stewart Heights Park. Well, I hadn’t realized that this was the park that he like to take our daughter to when she was young. So it brought back memories for him. It has changed a fair amount since our daughter’s playground days. The playground equipment has moved and there are more trails. I didn’t get a good photo of the pool or the skate park or Lisa’s Garden, so I’ll do those spots some other day.
As we dip into the second half of August, I find myself trying to squeeze in as much summer as possible before the rain and cool weather returns. Today dear daughter and I took the loop trail around the Chambers Bay Golf Course. The loop consists of two trails, the 1.25 mile Grandview Trail and the 2 mile Soundview Trail. The Grandview Trail is pretty much flat and looks out over over the Chambers Bay Golf Course and Bay. We were pretty happy to see a quick little Garter snake slipping through the grass on the upper level! The Soundview Trail is pretty level along the railroad tracks and water, but rather steep going up and down! Going counter clockwise, facing the bay, the Soundview Trail starts in a lovely forested area and then goes along the railroad track. Further on there are the remains of the industrial use of the property and then there is the open and extra steep hill going back up. Where the trails meet there is the clubhouse restaurant, where we had a lovely lunch before heading back to the car.