As one who brings his lunch to work, I rarely get out of the office until quitting time. When the weather’s right, however, I can be found wandering away from work. I have made a few discoveries along the way.
Wandering last Thursday, I drove to the spot where Plano holds its annual Balloonfest. If nothing else, I wanted to see the area without all the crowds, food and drink vendors, and other accoutrement of a summertime festival. The signs told me it was Oak Point Park, which I recognized from earlier online research of potential local hiking destinations.
I worked my earbuds into my ears, pressed “play” for some Rilo Kiley on my music player, grabbed my camera gear, and hit the paved path toward the woods. Just a hundred feet short of a bridge crossing a wide creek, I spotted and veered onto a trail leading into the trees.
A few steps later I approached the edge of a high creek bank. Although October’s heavy rains were behind us, the creek rushed past, freshly fallen leaves spinning lazily on its translucent surface. On the opposite bank, a narrow strip of forest gave way to a sunlit meadow.
At each trail intersection stood a short, stocky post, its tip coming to a point similar to a whittled stick — brand new if appearances were to be believed. None bore any markings, so I’m curious to see what is done with them.
The next trail I chose led me back to a clearing, where an old tree with a forked trunk stood tall against the blue sky. Against an overcast or stormy sky it might have seemed foreboding, but I saw it as a welcome sign for me to headed back into the woods for a few more minutes of escape.
As one who grew up in the Ozark foothills and has lived near them or the Appalachians all his life, I always have equated outdoor activities with mountains. At 800 acres, Oak Point Park is only about 40 smaller than New York’s Central Park, and provides not only a great escape from the office’s confines, but a reminder that an enjoyable walk in the woods does not require hills. It definitely is a place I would like to take my family.