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Bastrop and Buescher state parks permit only non-motorized boats in their lakes (both parks offer canoe rentals; Buescher also rents kayaks). (Photo by Randall Maxwell)

Somewhere on the first mile of our hike through Bastrop State Park, I quit gawking at the canopy of foliage above and realized our trail had transformed into a fine, beach-like sand. I stopped and scooped up a handful, recalling the park guidebook in my pocket discussing this sandy earth; how it retains moisture from the clay-based soils below; how it’s the reason a dense pine forest is able to grow in the heart of Central Texas. As we lingered among these towering trees, I told my girlfriend, Duvall, that the setting reminded me of the Deep South—perhaps southern Alabama or Georgia, or my home state of Mississippi, for that matter.

Published in TRAVEL

Blessed day, as it is, the Easter memory that I always enjoy recalling involves a special Easter egg hunt at Bastrop State Park. Mom asked if we wanted to go on an Easter egg hunt. What kid says no" to that? Even though we fully expected that a hunt would be in our plans that Sunday, we were jumping for joy, as if it were a surprise. I was already imagining (and salivating over) the kind of treats we'd find hidden inside the eggs. Mom is very creative! As we rode along, empty baskets guarded carefully on our laps, time passed and eventually we started chiming in with "Are we there yet?" We were still clinging to our excitement of the hunt, but a little put out that we still hadn't reached our destination.

It turns out Mom thought it'd be nice to do the Easter egg hunt at Bastrop State Park. Did I mention we were living in Houston?

What a blast we had, though, and what a great idea Mom had! After nabbing the hidden eggs, we just enjoyed the park, and the picnic mom had prepared for us. I absorbed, as much as I could, this rare sight of fresh air and greenery in such a vast amount of space. This atmosphere was as much a treat to me as the one time I had seen snow (at the time). I remember how beautiful this was to me and the sound of pine needles crunching underfoot. I remember the CCC cabin, too.

Ever the rockhound, I found a rock that I thought was utterly fabulous and brought it home. I have it still. It's special because it reminds me of that perfect day. Anytime I visit or drive past Bastrop State Park, that memory resurfaces.

As an adult, I still appreciate Bastrop State Park and its beautiful trails. I also now better appreciate that my widowed mom made time, though I can't imagine how she found it (or the energy), to do this for us four kids. The deep-seeded pleasure and the lasting fond memory of this road trip is true testament that one can never forget the value of a simple road trip and quality family time.

Published in Blog
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