April and it
feels already like summer! That is what I thought waiting in the parking lot for folks to
arrive for the Sierra Club Forest Walk to Little Creek in Sam Houston National Forest.
Donna, David, Robert, and Michael all soon made their appearances and we were ready to
push-off from Starbucks in Meyerland!
Off we went and before long our two car caravan arrived at Big Creek Scenic Area and
parked near a gated Forest Service road. As soon as we got out and readied our packs we
started hiking down to Little Creek. The breeze was welcome as were the partly cloudy blue
We identified a number of East Texas trees along the road and Michael began his
remarkable identification of birds, usually by song. He provided us with a lengthy list
including Red-eyed Vireo, White-eyed Vireo, Downy Woodpecker, American Crow, Red-tailed
Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Plieated Woodpecker, Pine Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Tufted
Titmouse, Summer Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Carolina Chickadee, Carolina Wren,
Orchard Oriole, and unidentified thrushes. Truly a cornucopia of migrant and local birds!
What wonderful ear candy!!!
We weaved in and out along Little Creek, its floodplain, slopes, and overlooks. These
mini-vistas brought out the beauty of this tea-colored, clear, and cool stream, often
lined with ferns and brought relief to these weary eyes. I was particularly impressed
about the number of large American Beech trees that we saw along with other canopy
occupiers like Southern Magnolia, Sweetgum, Water Oak, Laurel Oak, White Oak, Swamp
Chestnut Oak, and Loblolly Pine. The damselflies were out in full force, hovering,
darting, and flying over the clear waters of Little Creek. There were many seepage areas
with tiny flowing, on the surface and under the surface, streams with Cinnamon, Royal,
Netted Chain, and Lady Ferns. Christmas and Bracken Ferns also were present scattered
across the hilly and swalely landscape of the floodplain.
Finally, there were shrubs, the medicinal Witch Hazel, huckleberry, American
Beautyberry, and Sebastian Bush peaking out where giant trees had crashed to the forest
floor, seeking the diffuse sunlight now made bright by the hole in the canopy. And all
this when John Muirs birthday and Earth Day had just past us by! I think John and
Gaylord Nelson would understand why we were celebrating in the woods instead of the city.
Hats off to you Mother.