Hike!

I'm currently in the process, to my great relief, of working on final edits for Doors, book two in my Elspeth Romero series. In making the final tweaks to a final showdown in the book, I've had to review my notes from my brief foray into the Great Trinity Forest in Dallas, Texas. It's a preserve on the edge of the city, one the majority of Dallas natives have never even heard of it. Although it's become more of a topic in recent years due to development efforts, a quick Google will find you very little, unless you know exactly where to dig; the Wikipedia page is downright pathetic.

Honestly, it's such a strange, marvelous place that when I try to tell people about it, half of them think it's another bit of fiction. If it weren't for Ben Sandifer's documentation in his Trinity Trails blog, I'd probably agree, but thankfully I stumbled onto his website years ago and have been fascinated ever since. (Though he hasn't posted in a while. I may have to shoot him an inquiry.) 

So yes, there are alligators, herons, and roseate spoonbills in Dallas as well as deer, coyote, and feral hogs - and that's not even bringing into consideration the charming variety of invertebrates that keep it loudly busy. Marvelously, last I read, there's even one lone resident who has stuck it out in the preserve, a remnant of an attempt to civilize the forest and develop a town named Roosevelt Heights, which failed disastrously in the early seventies due to the inescapably flood-prone nature of the area.

I went on a brief hike on one of the forgotten (but well-made) trails about a year ago as research with my sister. While I didn't see much on the fringes as we were (we weren't going to wade hip-deep in alligator territory; we've got kids), I did manage to get closer than most people get. If anyone thinks of the GTF at all, chances are they think of the Audobon Center, but I'd visited once long ago found the experience lacking, hence my secondary adventure. (It's possible I'm being unfair in thinking of the center as uninspiring, as I haven't visited the Audobon since it opened in 2008; the website looks like they've expanded some.)

Even just looking over the photos it's easy to slip back in memory: the oppressive heat, the roaring cicadas, the distant squawks of birds, and the rushing water underneath it, close to the river as we were. It's a magical place, a real-life one. I highly recommend you visit - before the magic is gone. Romantic that I am, I can't help but view future plans for the area ("...future addition of equestrian facilities, and the addition of whitewater, nature trails and multipurpose trails to be used for recreation and transportation, boat launches, and trailhead improvements...") with great sadness.