It’s July, but thanks to a week of thunderstorms the temperature is low enough to tempt us outside for some very early exercise. Herman Brown Park is the perfect venue when you want to get away from it all but you don’t want to drive too far. Located just northeast of the I-10 and I-610 interchange the park is easily accessed from the I-90 at the Mercury Drive slip road.
We parked on the west side in the ample parking lot on Oates Road and started out round the Ball Park and track, enjoying the open grassland and the pockets of native plantings. We were conscious of traffic noise from the I-90 but as the road was not really busy it did not particularly disturb us. In fact, we felt instantly relaxed in these rural surroundings. Here we were, just a 20 minute drive from downtown, looking over a fence at a mare and her young foal and enjoying the fresh morning country air.
We followed the path under the I-90 into the much larger and quieter wooded section of the park. A network of paved paths lead round the park amenities: tennis courts, children’s play areas, restrooms and many small clearings with picnic tables. Although it gives the appearance of being isolated, the park is surrounded by residential areas so feels quite safe. Already a few people are out walking their dogs and the woods are alive with birdsong.
Trails and bike paths lead invitingly into the rest of the forest but today, most of these paths are under water due to the recent rains. Further reading has revealed that this forest provides valuable refuge for many migrating birds so it will be worth returning in the spring with binoculars and cameras.
Extreme heat and humidity make it difficult for wildflowers to flourish in this region in the summer so we were surprised to find a field of beautiful yellow star grass. More color was provided by the orange trumpet vine climbing high into the trees and the purple of the beauty berry bush.
We enjoyed the quirky wavy lines of a bridge in the woods and on our return under the road bridge noticed how the concrete pillars had been formed to resemble tree trunks. Good art is not constrained to the city!
On our next visit we will bring a picnic and take time to explore further. But for now the temperature is rising fast and we hurry home for cold showers and the refuge of our air conditioning.
View Larger Map