Monday, August 11, 2008
Regardless of the seeming specificity of its name, the APCNWR is a vast sweep of land that has much more to offer than its namesake. In fact, due to the increasing scarcity of the critically endangered birds it shelters, it's unlikely that those who go there the majority of the year will ever see one of its famed inhabitants.
And that's ok. Because Attwater is impressive in its own right. Having just visited Anahuac NWR, (see previous posts) and getting a sense of its flat, moist fecundity, Attwater is an interesting transition. Located between Houston and Austin, it is in the higher reaches of the coastal prairie, a landscape removed from the coastal marshes. It is more reminiscint of the remnants of the prairies of the midwest, albeit on a smaller scale. It has vast sweeps of grasses, with small oases of trees sheltering hidden waterholes, and a hush that is nothing short of startling for an area not 7 miles removed from I-10. Like other NWRs it is far less acessible than a park, giving more of a sense of encountering wilderness than the impressive, but somewhat theme-park-esque "attractions" of some of the more popular National Parks.
I got there too late in the day to properly experience the whole place, but I took a few quick shots in the horribly uncooperative lighting to try to capture a piece of the place. Another down, several more Texas NWRs to go.
Open prairie with vintage fencing
Still flat, but starting to roll a little up into the Hill Country
Land, meet sky.
An Argiope (aurantia, I believe, and about palm-sized) greeted me at the info kiosk
I considered this somewhat of a bad omen, and couldn't help but play up the image with sepia tone and extra grain
last wildflowers of the season hidden in their own secret gardens among the sea of grasses
The prairie to me has always been nothing so much as a compromise between endless earth and endless sky.
Up next: either Aransas and Brazoria NWRs or a return to Big Thicket NPr and the national forests of se Texas.
Posted by Justin Bower at 11:01 AM