Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Goose Island State Park

We left Galveston and traveled down the coast to Goose Island State Park which is above Corpus Cristi, TX, on the Gulf Coast.  More sun and time to kick back and enjoy the water and the ocean.

Driving along the Texas coast enjoying the sunny view.

We had to drive a few miles inland and saw so much industry, especially large plants.  Some of them stretched out a mile long as we drove on the interstate.  We think this one was a Dow Chemical plant.

Gee, this town name sounds familiar.  It is also the home of  'Bite Yo Mama Barbecue'.  What more could one ask for.

Heading into Goose Island State Park, the two miles into the park were filled with hundreds and hundreds of live oak trees and some sections were challenging to a big rig.

Our spot right on the bay.  Doesn't get much better than this.

Sunrise at the park.

The pelicans are already thinking about breakfast.

This is called the 'Big Tree' and is a coastal Live Oak that is one of the largest of its kind.  It was named the Texas State Champion Live Oak in 1966.  The tree is 11 feet across the trunk, 35 feet around, and 44 feet tall.  The crown of the tree measures 89 feet across the top and the tree is 1,000 years old.  Yes, that is correct, 1,000 years old.

Around the perimeter of the Big Tree are its 'babies' which have been standing for a few years themselves. 

The place where we stayed along the Gulf is called the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and is home to many varieties of birds, animals, and Goose Island State Park.  It is a big fishing and hunting area along with camping and hiking.  The area is very beautiful and relaxing except for one thing, many of the fishermen and hunters use airboats to reach their desired spots and they start at 5:00 AM.  If you have ever had the pleasure of hearing an airboat you will know that it is extremely loud.  The Goose Island boat ramp, and several others in the bay, are active in the early morning hours and since it is a bay the boaters must travel specified lanes out to the safer open waters.  This can easily take 5 minutes per boat, if not longer. The noise can be a bit much.  Some of the people at the RV park complain about the noise but since the Smith's are usually up at 5:00 AM anyway it didn't bother us much.  (Well, actually the Captain is up at five, I hunker down until the noise passes and get a few extra zzzz's). 

We were surprised to see a fancy, gated community being built right alongside Goose Island where the new homeowners will also be hearing the same noise.  Maybe they also own airboats......

These pelicans weren't stupid, they did their vigil near the fish cleaning station at the boat ramp.

A heron hiding in the reeds along the bay.

Not sure what type of bird this was.

Lucy chasing them on the water.  The water was so shallow you could wade out a good 200 feet.

You could tell the birds were really distressed......

but the pups sure loved it.

In winter this area of Texas is the home to the endangered whooping crane.  It is only one of two crane species found in North America and was almost extinct in the 1940's.  With only 21 known wild whooping cranes left, conservation efforts were started and lead to a limited recovery.  As of 2011, there are an estimated 437 birds now in the wild.  According to the park rangers, there are 24 cranes that winter over in this area.  They are very elusive so spotting them is considered a long shot. While taking the pups for a walk one day we spotted several in a farm field intermingled with cattle.

The Whooping Crane can stand five feet tall with a wingspan of 7.5 feet and weigh 14-16 pounds.  We were only able to see them from a distance but we did get this shot.

The rest of our trip here we just enjoyed the weather and the birds and the beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  It is a lovely park (even with the air boats).

Another bird enjoying the water and fish.

More clusters of live oak trees. 

Another day in paradise.

Onward we move to Mission, TX, and a five day stay at the Retama Village at Bentsen Palm.  We are staying as guests of the establishment to check out all the amenities they offer .  Can't wait.  Peace!



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