My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Visit to Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area

Decades ago, when I lived in Shreveport, Louisiana, I played a lot in the forests of East Texas.  But after I moved to Houston, over twenty years ago, I somehow forgot how beautiful the East Texas forests were. Last weekend, Natalie and I visited our friend Mary Z, and enjoyed an outing to Ratcliff Lake. Natalie decided she wanted to paddle the forty-five acre lake, while I decided to hike around it. I had a little exercise and found lots of exciting plants. Mary was having leg trouble and elected to sit and enjoy the lake, the fishermen, hikers, and the birds.

Lake Ratcliff View
Two trees are blooming now, dogwoods and grancy graybeards, or fringe trees. The only time I saw grancy graybeards, we were flying down a highway so I didn't get a picture of any of them. But I enjoyed lots of dogwoods along my hike.

Dogwoods among the loblolly pines
Another of my favorite plants is red buckeye.  I saw a few young plants in bloom.

Red Buckeye
 Much of my walk was on a road.  But there was a short trail along one arm of the lake.

Walking bridge over a little creek
The next surprise was several patches of May apples. A few were in bloom but all had their shiny umbrellas's unfurled.

Blooming May apples

The prettiest arm of the lake

This area was hit by a tornado recently and currently is only open for day use. But it does give a little history of the timber industry in this area and great place in which to decompress.