A few more pictures of Brazos Bend State Park

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.

The first order of business was to find a lake. Elm Lake is the biggest lake so that’s where I started:
Elm Lake

Elm Lake
There wasn’t a whole lot of action going on Elm Lake mostly because the trail was packed with kids walking and screaming so most of the birds and alligators were in the middle of it.
Brazos Bend State Park

The colors on and around the lake were absolutely beautiful however so most of my pictures of the lake were of the actual lake rather than the wild life.
Elm Lake

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.

On the way to 40 Acre Lake, I met this handsome fellow. In the right light it looks like a docile dog wanting to be pet.
Gator

Then there was this hoss of Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Finally there was the observation tower which is a little bit on the shaky side when people are walking on it.
Brazos Bend State Park

This was actually the last picture of the lake I took, but I’ll post it now so you can get an idea of how magnificent this lake is.
40 Acre Lake (thanks Andy for telling me the lake name!)

The sunset was pretty and if you look closely you can see another alligator just floating and waiting for something to eat (I guess, I didn’t converse with it).
40 Acre Lake in Brazos Bend State Park

40 Acre Lake in Brazos Bend State Park

This is probably my favorite picture of the day. The water looks like glass, there is inverted landscape in the water, there is an alligator, there are birds in the sky. Perfect.
40 Acre Lake in Brazos Bend State Park

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.

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