texas wild

Visitors from a Distant Sea Bring Tiny Treasures to Texas Beaches

June 13, 2019 | By E. Dan Klepper

Small quantities of a seaweed called sargassum wash ashore all year long. But every few years, beginning in April, the sargassum arrives en masse—a deluge of amber-colored stems, leaves, and tiny gas bladders that help the plants stay afloat (and pop when squeezed). This relatively unpredictable event seems to occur after huge blooms of sargassum in the Atlantic Ocean, some 2,000 or more miles away. While piles of sargassum might hinder swimming and sunbathing, they also provide opportunities for families and other beachcombers to find seahorses, strange shrimp, and other tiny creatures that hopped a ride to Texas.

Make a Date with Mother Nature on the Pecos River

June 26, 2018 | By Pam LeBlanc

For nearly a week, an unspooling ribbon of greenish-blue will carry you down frothy rapids, alongside towering escarpments, and into deep, fish-filled pools. You’ll tangle with tall reeds that line the banks, drag boats through a section of bony limestone channels called The Flutes, and camp on rocky riverbanks.

Explore South Padre Island with a Drive up State Park Road 100

May 23, 2018 | By W. F. Strong.

I get my first clear view of South Padre Island from the summit of the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway. At 85 feet above Laguna Madre, the bridge reveals the island stretching majestically on a north-south line, like a thin ribbon of sand floating in a cobalt sea.

A Canoe Exploration of Caddo Lake’s Creatures and History

March 16, 2018 | By

Two hours into my canoeing adventure on Caddo Lake, I saw an osprey swoop down into the water and emerge with a fish clutched in its beak. I was debating whether the raptor would stick around long enough for me to pull out my binoculars when an enterprising bald eagle suddenly appeared and struck the osprey in mid-air. The osprey tumbled but managed to keep the fish, and then flew higher. My group watched in wonder as the two magnificent birds circled one another over the lake’s cypress forest for several minutes.

A City Slicker Fulfills His Lifelong Dream of Riding a Horse

January 15, 2018 | By Gene Fowler

Maverick Horseback Riding in Lockhart offers a wide range of lessons and rides for all ages and levels of experience.

Bicycle the Texas Hill Country with Texas Bike Tours

December 13, 2017 | By Melissa Gaskill

The narrow Hill Country road drops toward a low bridge over a small creek. I coast on my bicycle, faster than I ever have before, scanning the pavement in front of me for potholes, tires humming, the wind blowing in my face.

Explore the Lone Star Hiking Trail in East Texas

September 18, 2017 | By Sara Ramey

The sun crested over the tops of the tall pines, taking the chill out of the winter air as my partner and I set out from our campsite at Double Lake Recreation Area in East Texas’ Sam Houston National Forest. Our goal was to explore an 8-mile segment of the Lone Star Hiking Trail. The needles of loblolly and shortleaf pine trees crunched softly beneath our feet, and we listened to woodpeckers tapping in the canopy above as we looped through the forest on a part of the trail known as the Magnolia section. Encountering some of the namesake magnolias, we stopped to marvel at the towering, untamed trees—so unlike their manicured city cousins that it took me a moment to recognize them.

Gearing up for Palestine’s El Camino 205 bicycle tour

August 8, 2017 | By Dan Oko

We rise before daybreak to a chorus of birdsong and pump up our tires. It’s the morning of my first gravel grinder, a gritty and popular organized bicycling event that mostly takes place on unpaved roads.

Dive into a Texas swimming hole

July 14, 2017 | By Julie Wernersbach

When photographer Carolyn Tracy and I sign on to curate a guide to 100 of the best places to swim in the state, we know we are taking on a mighty task.

Animal-lovers alert: Wild residents of Black Beauty Ranch

June 14, 2017 | By Donna Jackel

On the outskirts of Murchison in East Texas, a sprawling animal sanctuary has provided a home for rescued animals for nearly 40 years.

Biking with Birds

May 12, 2017 | By Daniel Blue Tyx

Not a half-hour into my daylong adventure, in the middle of a prairie of sea lavender and leatherleaf, I stopped my bike in wonder. A few dozen yards from the pavement, dozens of sandhill cranes comingled with a flock of ivory snow geese, completely ignoring my entrance into this unspoiled coastal scene.

Natural Galveston

April 17, 2017 | By Melissa Gaskill

Head east down Seawall Boulevard in Galveston, past the lights and activity of Historic Pleasure Pier, beyond the elegant Hotel Galvez and Stewart Beach Park’s broad expanse of sand dotted with blue umbrellas and beach toys, through tangles of grasses and mangroves on either side and, just past a tranquil lagoon before the pavement dead ends at water, turn right onto Boddeker Drive.

Walking to the Water

October 14, 2016 | By Sophia Sokolove

My friend Callie and I had been hearing about Gorman Falls—the 70-foot waterfall that’s the centerpiece of Colorado Bend State Park—for the past few years.

Nature by Day … or Night

September 16, 2016 | By Paul McDonnold

The sun is low and the gate guarded as we arrive at the south shore of Lewisville Lake, some 30 miles north of downtown Dallas.

A Place of Refuge

August 1, 2016 | By Dale Weisman

From a limestone precipice at the crest of the Rimrock Trail, I catch my breath and gaze across an unspoiled vestige of the Texas Hill Country.

By the Light of the Moon

July 18, 2016 | By Melissa Gaskill

Beneath fading early evening light, I slip across glassy water over the reflections of large cypress and pecan trees along the bank.

Ski Waco!

June 20, 2016 | By Sofia Sokolove

On the two-hour drive from Austin to the Barefoot Ski Ranch in Waco, I’ve been chattering away about my teenage summer-camp waterskiing skills.

Paddle Port O

May 11, 2016 | By Andrea Abel

I’m an occasional weekend paddler, launching a canoe or kayak about once a month with my trusty paddling partner and husband John.

Happy Trails

April 15, 2016 | By Paula Disbrowe

The scene is wistfully familiar. As I pull off US 83 and into the stables at Elm Creek Ranch near Concan, there are a dozen or so horses saddled and tethered to the open-air barn where round bales of hay are stacked to the ceiling.

Of Feathers and Hope

March 21, 2016 | By Gary Clark

“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers,” wrote 19th-Century American poet Emily Dickinson in the opening line of her poem of the same name.

Wild About Wild Basin

January 11, 2016 | By Steven Schwartzman

When some long-overdue rain last July relieved drought conditions in the Austin area, my thoughts turned to Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, a 227-acre expanse of woodlands west of downtown.

A Real Cowboy Experience

November 10, 2015 | By Clayton Maxwell

What I love most about this ranch,” says horseback guide Missy Cantrell as a wasp lands on the wide brim of her cowboy hat, “is the stewardship of the land.

Favoring the Fall

October 13, 2015 | By Melissa Gaskill

A little more than 25 miles from where my feet tramped, a line of cars waited to enter Lost Maples State Natural Area, whose namesake trees blazed with red, yellow, and orange glory. But I had Hill Country State Natural Area pretty much to myself, and while no maples grow here, this rugged retreat offers a respectable display of fall color.

Color in Motion

September 16, 2015 | By Cathryn Hoyt

I’ll confess. I’m addicted to butterflies.

Silver Wings

August 14, 2015 | By Gene Fowler

Sara Beesley, director of the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in San Antonio, thought she might have fallen prey to some strange trick when she first started working at the center two years ago and didn’t see any American white pelicans for a few weeks.

Unbridled Spirit

June 15, 2015 | By Lori Moffatt

My horse Annie, a 16-year-old chestnut mare with soulful eyes and long lashes, relaxes her ears and ambles calmly toward me in the round pen, then breaks out in a yawn so wide I think she might be laughing at me.

Rockin’ Reimers Ranch

March 17, 2015 | By Chet Garner

My fingers were cramping but my legs weren’t shaking … yet. I had a solid foothold but a somewhat questionable grip on a quarter-inch ledge of limestone about 25 feet above the ground.

Mission: Kayak

February 16, 2015 | By Melissa Gaskill

The river rounds a bend and six mossy-backed turtles sunning on a row of rocks drop into the water—plop, plop, plop, one after the other, as if in a water ballet.

Desert Twinkle

January 16, 2015 | By Melissa Gaskill

A wide asphalt airstrip stretches 5,500 feet into the desert landscape toward a row of hills in the distance.

Silo Diving

December 12, 2014 | By Chet Garner

I’ve always considered myself a pretty brave guy. I’ve gone hang gliding, swum with stingrays, and even eaten face-melting ghost chiles.

Running the Rock

November 15, 2014 | By Sofia Sokolove

We’ve been running for about 15 minutes—skipping over small boulders and sidestepping cacti that spike up from a trail winding the perimeter of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.

A Desert Diverse

October 13, 2014 | By Melissa Gaskill

Resting in the shade next to a pool of clear water, I could almost forget that miles and miles of West Texas desert surround me. But in fact I was in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert, one of the most biologically diverse arid regions in the world.

Alligator Alley

September 11, 2014 | By Helen Anders

Big Al looks as though he might be dozing at the edge of his murky pond.

A Day in the Roughs

August 17, 2014 | By Melissa Gaskill

The river rounded a bend and ahead of me, civilization dropped away. A heron soared overhead, Pterodactyl-like, and a few dragonflies hovered around the front of my boat.

To the Bat Cave!

August 1, 2014 | By Michael Marks

I’m thinking to myself, “That cave doesn’t look big enough for all those bats.”

Paddling and Painting

May 21, 2014 | By Melissa Gaskill

A pleasant breeze rocked my kayak and rustled pale green and brown marsh grasses around me.

Moonlight Zipline

March 23, 2014 | By Melissa Gaskill

From a sheltered platform more than 40 feet high, I step out into darkness, my heart beating a little faster than usual.

Seen and Heard

February 24, 2014 | By Laura Samueal Meyn

My kids and I are near the end of the 1½-mile Wood Duck Trail at the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney.

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