If you have no plans this weekend, let me suggest something we did last weekend. Because a few of us here at Unfair Park headed down to Cedar Hill State Park last Friday for a camp out near Joe Pool Reservoir, hoping to enjoy the final few days of fantastic weather before the sweltering summer descends. And for a state park less than a half hour away from the city, it’s a nice patch of nature: bucolic hills thick with cedar, oak and juniper that are home to myriad birds and other critters, interpretive trails and more than 350 campsites.
The chief birder in our group reported that in addition to a number of Ravens of Unusual Size (seriously -- they must be stuffing themselves with campers’ leftover hormone-packed weenies), he spotted a scissor-tailed flycatcher and some barn swallows. The results of our remaining nature walks (the mountain biking trails were closed due to recent rains) netted the following: one incredibly cute, grass munching rabbit; a flurry of bright orange-winged things half the group insisted were butterflies (they’re pretty, so, like, doesn’t that mean that’s what they are?) but the other half insisted were moths on account of their furry bodies; a camp site identified on the trail map as “primitive,” despite its proximity to the trail head, nicely cut grass and what is most certainly the world’s cleanest outhouse; and a duck pond surrounded by pretty foliage and shady trails but devoid of ducks.
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If you go, a couple of tips:
Don’t be fooled by the daytime sunshine. Cotton socks and a shitty sleeping bag will have you frozen stiff within hours, so go prepared.
If you want to be cool, bring Christmas lights. Yes, apparently if you don’t have multi-colored lights strung along your Cougar camper or amongst the trees by your tent, you’re nothing.
It’s pretty, but just remember, you’re still in Dallas County, so don’t expect too much. Being from the Rockies, I admit I had high hopes for the “scenic vista” indicated on the interpretive trail map. Let’s just say it wasn’t that high, or that scenic. But it’s still a nice break from the concrete jungle. --Megan Feldman