Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lakeside Park in The Woodlands

Lakeside Park is a large village recreation area in Alden Bridge Village next to the Bear Branch Reservoir and Bear Branch Creek.

Behind the sign above is a commemorative marker where the 1000th mile of Woodlands pathways was laid.

This swimming pool is standard for The Woodlands and very modern. It was sure inviting on this hot Memorial Day weekend!

  Entrance to swimming area

There are two pairs of courts making a total of four courts. This village park has several "twin" amenities.

In the back of the park, there is a kayak and canoe launch for those interested in an outing on the reservoir. These two fishermen left the dock just as I positioned myself for taking some photographs of the reservoir.

A soccer field, baseball diamond, and  lacrosse field are available here.

Normal playground equipment for children

Wheels friendly area for skateboarding

Down this pathway are two identical twin pavilions, named "A" and "B". They can be reserved separately.

Unit "A" with four tables

There are several areas for picnics, some have twin tables and all have a grill. These are special in that they overlook the reservoir.

The kayak launch. There is often large amounts of vegetation on this reservoir, making it difficult to fish near the launch. If you plan to fish, you should be aware that the reservoir is not managed by the township, but by the state and therefore, you must have a fishing license. Perch, bass and crappie are regularly caught by fishermen in this body of water. The Texas Game and Fish Commission does enforce their laws here. They occasionally check for licenses and safety of boats, so if you plan to fish, bring your license!

Getting there:
GPS coords: 30.204512, -95.542807
Near Alden Bridge at Benton Woods Dr

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Social Life of our dogs - a Saturday at the Dog Park

In The Woodlands, Texas, we have some awesome dog parks. They are spread out over the community for easy access on a Saturday morning, or after one gets home from work. It was hot today and the animals really appreciated the dog pool. I did too actually. Splashing me felt refreshing.

Yes, the dog needs his exercise, but what the dog looks for and appreciates the most is the social aspect. That includes its human family as well as meeting other dogs.  It even includes meeting strange humans!

It is not unusual for there to be conflicts among individuals. Some are "puppy social", others are "alpha social". In this particular case, the white dog is an alpha female which just arrived at the park. She was accompanied by both human family caretakers. She had her toys and her caretakers were throwing her toys for her to chase and fetch.  She did not want to share. When she arrived at her caretakers to give them the toy, the brown dog tried to take it. The brown dog wanted to play with her. She responded with a growl and jumped on the brown dog, biting her in the leg. The brown dog yelped as the white dog continued to attack. There were tooth gashes on the leg and in the skin on the brown dog that I saw after the dogs were separated. It happened again with a second dog, two of three large brown dogs that a young lady had brought to the park. The young lady left with one dog slightly injured, another one possibly injured and the third unscathed. It was my opinion that he owner of the white dog should have put a leash on the white dog but never did. The owners tried instead to calm the dog and later released her to run free again, only to repeat the attack.  I have heard of similar situations from various other people over the past few months.

All remaining dogs had no problems whatsoever. Most of the animals I saw were very puppy-like. They wanted to romp and play with other dogs, and sometimes they wanted me to play with them.  I had two or more of them jump into my arms wanting my full attention, even though I had the camera and equipment on me.  That was OK. I am used to it, and I would not have belonged there if I was not willing to be their playful friend.

Many of the dogs simply loved this little swimming pool. Some would totally immerse their head and body under the water to cool off. This one kept his head out of it. The dogs would often bring their toy and place it where they could an eye on it.

Here I am about to be enthusiastically bathed and loved by a wet dog.

While the white and brown dogs remained together, there was an acrobatic attempt to catch a toy in mid-air. The white dog was a human-oriented dog, not really interested in the other dogs.

This dog was much prettier when she was dry. After getting soaked in the swimming pool, she was a bit more wiry looking.

Despite her behavior and the heat, this dog was a good subject to photograph. She chased her toys with lightening speed.

This smaller dog played in the small dog pen. There are two separate pens, one to protect the small breed dogs and puppies.

This Beagle was fairly docile. He played and socialized but not recklessly, like some of the others.

This is something us humans can't do, run at their speed and go nose to nose in a race.

To cool off in this scorching sun!

Then it is time to go home. Where's mama? Carry me back home!

Tamarac Dog Park

The Woodlands, Texas newest dog park is in one of its oldest - Tamarac, in Grogan's Mill. On my first visit in the mid-morning of a hot Saturday on Memorial weekend, I was surprised to find it totally empty. There were no dogs or people there. I discovered later that everyone was at Bear Branch Dog Park. This is a nice park and I would certainly come here if my dogs were larger.

It was a hot summer day and the tree shade offered a welcome reprieve from the sun.

This dog park is not easy to find. It is nestled in the forest  next to the wheels friendly area. From the parking lot, one must follow the sidewalk to the right in order to reach the dog park. It is a beautiful and roomy place with benches and water. Small and large dogs are not separated here.

There are poop bags and a garbage can where one disposes any and all litter.

The ground is covered with mulch to keep it from being muddy and makes a nice crunch under your feet. Dogs would not have as stable a footing as natural soil however. The pattern of shadows cast by the trees on the mulch makes for an interesting color feast for our eyes.
You might find your dog chasing a squirrel here. At this quiet time, there were several inside the dog park

The dog park entrance is protected as are other dog parks in The Woodlands by a double gate.

Tamarac Park is found off of Grogan's Mill Rd, on North Millbend.

Refer to the separate article on Tamarac Park.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tupelo Park in the Village of Creekside Park

Tupelo Park in the Village of Creekside Park of The Woodlands is open and available. One of the striking features of this park is the bathroom made of stone. This carries the feel of its big sister park's (Fleming Park) pavilion.
It's pavilion also has stone but only in the columns, since the style is completely open. As with other parks, the pavilion can be rented in advance by calling the parks department.

There is a great view of the fountain and cascade from Lake Paloma. There is actually a pond built on a second level tier above the lake. Water is pumped up into the pond from the lake and allowed to cascade back into the lake over this artificial waterfall below the bridge. One is looking at the pavilion to the left in this photo.

There are two locations for picnics, both nestled in the forest and both having clear views and within hearing of the water fountain in the pond. As with all parks of The Woodlands, the grill and tables are first come/first serve.

This is the view from inside the pavilion.

A nice amenity is this canoe/kayak launch below the pond on the lake. There are three tie-offs. One can paddle the entire lake from  a launch here.

Playground equipment includes a variety of slides, climbs and swings.

Lighted tennis courts are ready for action.

Getting there: from Gosling - west at main entrance, pass the circle keeping to the right, go past the YMCA on the right and take a left at Lake Paloma Dr. Cross the bridge and take a right. You are at the park. From Kuykendahl -  enter by turning on Creekside Forest Dr. Go east until reaching Lake Paloma Dr and turn right. Cross the bridge and the park is on your right.   Map

Tupelo Park Grand Opening coming to Village of Creekside Park

For some time now, one would notice a new large park being developed in the Village of Creekside Park in The Woodlands. On June 12th, there will be a grand opening ceremony at a time to be announced. This is a different park in that it is constructed on the lake as part of the vision for a long narrow park that cuts through the entire village.  Therefore it is stretched along the bank where one will pass through it when walking the thin stretch of green space through the village.  Put the 12th on your calendar if you want to experience the park on its grand opening day.