To say we had perfect weather this past weekend is an understatement. It was the perfect light for photography, perfect temperature for walking, and the perfect time of the year to see the seasons change in Texas. Oddly enough, there was not much going on in the way of urban festivals (They like to save them for when it’s 104 degrees for some reason) so I thought I’d venture out to Brazos Bend State Park on my own for the first time. I had been there a couple of times before but they were part of photo walks.
I’m not sure how long of a walk it is to go around the lake (it’s on the map I’m sure) but at about halfway through, I kept hearing about a momma gator and her little gators down the other path. While walking there, I also heard tales of a crane choking on a giant catfish.
I actually thought I was 3/4 of the way so I was on the wrong path and if this was an uncontrolled type of situation in the. Amazon, with my lack of direction, I would have been anaconda droppings. I never found the momma gator or the choking crane, but as luck would have it, I was going towards the observation tower and the beautiful 40 Acre Lake.
By now it was getting dark and as previously mentioned, I was a lot further away from the parking area as I had first anticipated so I made my way back until it was pitch black. I was a little uneasy because all around me I could hear splashing of water, but I remembered the wise words of the officer who told me that this time of the year, the alligators don’t like to get out of the water at night.
It was comforting advice except that he was wrong! Right when I reached the point between Elm Lake and New Horseshoe lake, in the darkness I saw a gator in the middle of the path about 20 feet away from me and I did the only thing I could do- hold on to my Bogen Manfrotto carbon fibor tripod in front of me in case things got serious and yell to the gator to go away. To my surprise, the beast heard my voice and wobbled into the water and made a big splash.
Now if I were an alligator trying to eat a night blind photographer, I’d probably pretend to jump in the water too so he would let his guards down and try to cross the path and then WHAAAM! OM NOM NOM! so I had to turn on my cell phone flash light and scan the area before I could walk. It all worked out and I made it out alive. This should be a cautionary tale however that if you are around the lake at night, have a flashlight or something because the last thing you want to do is sneak up on one of these beasts or worse, they sneak up on you.
This really is a great park however. On my way back, the observatory had a huge event where people were there watching asteroids and there is always something going on.