Cheap Thrills

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“That man is rich whose pleasures are the cheapest”

Henry David Thoreau wrote the above quote 158 years ago and it is as true today as it was then. And there is nothing cheaper than the wonders of nature that you can enjoy by biking through a park, hiking in a forest, or kayaking on a river. It doesn’t require a wilderness trek—Thoreau himself in his famous cabin on Walden Pond was only a couple of miles from Concord.

Nature is also one of our greatest pleasures—we enjoy hiking, biking, and kayaking but, at the end of the day, we want to have indoor plumbing, food in the refrigerator, and air conditioning or heating, as required. We love nature, but we also have bad backs and appreciate the benefits of a comfortable bed.

By the way, a corollary of Thoreau’s quote is “That man whose pleasures are the cheapest can retire the earliest”.

As we mentioned in last week’s blog, we started this week at Bastrop State Park that was almost totally destroyed by fire in 2011. This week we camped at Nails Creek State Park on Lake Somerville, a man-made reservoir east of Austin. Unfortunately, the reservoir was recently drained and the level was still very low—so much for waterfront camping. The good news was that there was almost nobody at the park during the week with only one or two other campers in the 126-campsite park each night. As a result, we had the park mostly to ourselves.

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We have been impressed with the wildflowers of Texas that are everywhere. It is difficult to capture their beauty in a photograph but we have included some that do a pretty good job.

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Patty hiking next to the fields of wildflowers

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Does it look like a pond in front of the trees? It is actually a field of Texas Bluebonnets.

Flower Collage 1

Texas wildflowers—part 1

Flower Collage 2

Texas wildflowers—part 2

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A few women bikers from Houston were kind enough to take our photo.

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A view from our campsite just before sunrise

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Early morning mist over the lake

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The boat ramp was closed due to low level but we kayakers could still launch our boats. Here Patty approaches a group of white pelicans.

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There were a lot of white pelicans, which are much prettier than the brown pelicans we typically see in Florida. We tried to avoid disturbing them.

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We did disturb a few pelicans.

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We also went on an 11-mile mountain bike ride, again surrounded by wildflowers.

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Patty takes a break from biking.

By the weekend, the city-dwellers had swarmed to the park and filled up the campgrounds so, like the early settlers of the West, it was time for us to move on.

[Editor’s note: We often include some simple collages in our blog like the flower collages above. To do this we use free software on, which we recommend.]


6 thoughts on “Cheap Thrills

  1. Simply gorgeous wildflowers. Glad you got those beautiful pictures. I will be going up 441 North of High Springs toward Lake City tomorrow. Hope all the wildflowers will be there to enjoy, like in the past. Have a great week!!

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