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Day 22, Camp 11 - Aransas National Wildlife Refuge / Austwell City Park, Austwell, TX

Posted 12-12-2009 at 01:28 PM by Phantom

2009/12/07 - (3 nights @ $12 per night)
Day 22, Camp 11
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Austwell City Park
Austwell, TX
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We drove down from Galveston Island, mostly in heavy rain... about 160 miles in 4 hours. Drove mostly along Hwy 35. Passed many heavily industrialized areas, Oil, Natural Gas, Chemicals. Also crossed the Brazos and Colorado Rivers... big, muddy, strong rivers. Arrived at the empty city park in the little town of Austwell around 2 pm. Nobody around, sign said $12 per night with 20 amp electric. The sites all had water and sewer also! Total of nine sites... We mailed some letters and got info from the post master/fire chief 'Gator'... who also owned the little RV park down the road. The 'guy in the yellow corner house' handles the campground fees... )... Went and knocked on his door... no-body home. Toured around the town, No gas, restaurant or services of any sort. We drove down into the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge for a quick reconnoiter. What a beautiful place! Seven very short hiking trails, 40' observation tower, 16 mile loop road. It was refreshing to finally see what the 'natural' landscape once looked like! A beautiful place. Made a plan to go back next day for a more thorough exploration. Later Mark & Sue arrived. Quite the contrast in our rigs... theirs is the biggest I've ever seen!
Next day was very wet and foggy... went to Seadrift instead, had lunch. Couldn't see the harbor for the fog. Lazy day.
Next day (Wed.) we did the refuge. Hiked every trail. Seven trails, all under 1.3 miles. 40' observation tower. Saw no Whooping Cranes! They were down to 15 birds in the 40's, the population is now about 200. Aransas has the largest wild migrating flock in the world. They fly to Wood Buffalo Provincial Park in the Northwest Territories, Canada, to breed in the summer. It was a wonderful treat to see how the land once looked.. after so many miles of development and industry. The coastal grasslands are beautiful. Wish we had been able to see more birds. The 'neotropical migrants' winter further south and, I believe, were already gone. Texas has 75% of all bird species in the country! We saw a few herons and egrets, gators, a coon, and our first Javelina (Collared Peccary!). [Looks like a pig but ain't]
We pulled out on Thrus. morning for Padre Island National Seashore.
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  1. Old Comment
    The Flintstones's Avatar
    Great pictures, we would recomend boondocking at surfside beach. Its wonderful, that is we we go and we camp for free and its beautiful.
    Posted 12-17-2009 at 09:37 PM by The Flintstones The Flintstones is offline

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