What? A tornado warning? Gee, thank you Weather Channel for not giving me an alert.
I suppose I should go to the shelter. It doesn’t look horrible outside… oh, I guess it is dark to the north.
Wait a sec, where is the closest shelter? It’s certainly not the shower house/laundry area, that’s sheet metal it’d come apart in two seconds flat…
The tornado touched down a good 30 miles north and was short lived, doing damage to one building and some cars parked in front of it. Decatur, the town just north of Boyd got golfball sized hail. We got a pretty light and cloud show followed by a downpour with a little bit of small hail.
As I later discovered, there is not a single official tornado shelter in the whole town of Boyd, one needs to drive up to the Love’s travel center near the highway. Guess I better hope traffic is light if I ever need to use it. The rest of the evening is spent at a neighbor’s RV watching American Sniper, by the time it ends the rain is past and I can get back to Cas without getting drenched.
Friday, November 6
Finally, a day out! Bertha surfs the rolling hills west of Boyd to the town of Jacksboro, TX. At the south end of town lies Fort Richardson State Park, a quaint little place with a small campground. I meet up with a coworker and fellow Boyd RV resident who spent the night there, missing the tornado warning fun as a result and even getting to enjoy a campfire – I was a bit jealous.
I didn’t look over the campground loops closely but I did snag these two pictures. The sites look comparable to other Texas park system campgrounds, paved pads of varying level-ness. 30 amp with water costs $20 a night and 50 amp costs $22, the full-hookup sites are $25. The entrance/day use fee is $3.
The biggest attraction is the fort. Established in 1867 after the civil war, expeditions from Fort Richardson arrested Indians responsible for the Warren Wagon Train Massacre in 1871 and fought Comanches in Palo Duro Canyon. We happened to arrive just when a park employee was walking the grounds and he gave us a bit of an impromptu tour. This fellow (didn’t catch his name I’m afraid) clearly loves his job and I suspect he knows enough about the history of this area that he could fill hours with talks and discussions.
The largest building at the fort (pictured above) was the hospital, which had 24 sickbeds in two different wings (one for white soldiers, and one for colored soldiers). The ceilings are high because doctors of the time determined that a certain amount of airspace was needed for optimal patient health, and if the wings would have been build wider more beds would have been crammed in and defeated the purpose.
The netting was to ward against malaria, the fort was built along Lost Creek and during the wetter times of the year the mosquitoes are quite bad. The doctors didn’t have it all figured out though. Patients were washed one at a time in a communal tub without changing the water in between, and after everyone was clean(ish), the waste water was dumped on the vegetable garden out back. Eww.
After the tour, we combine Rumbling Spring Trail and Lost Creek Nature Trail for a mile-long meander along Lost Creek.
It’s clear that at least recently, the creek has been dry. Brush pokes up above the water even in the middle and bent over grass near the shore is evidence that the water has been even higher recently.
This part of Texas doesn’t get fall color the way more northern locations do, but the trees are making an attempt. Wispy clouds decorate the cornflower blue sky and the temperature warms to the upper 60’s, comfortable weather for a quick hike.
Quicker than expected. By 1:30 we’re seen pretty much all there is to see and still have half a day. Lake Mineral Wells State Park is less than 40 minutes from here and when I visited last month before Amazon started it was so hot that I didn’t have the ambition for hiking.
We take the Red Waterfront Trail, along the southern shore of the lake. Insects buzz in the still air as the clouds spread. Aside from two kayakers paddling on the far shore, the lake is still and peaceful.
This trail ends at Pennitentary Hollow, a prime rock climbing spot with steep, sheer walls that tower overhead. Mature oak and elm grow in the canyons, reaching for the sun above. Climbing is closed today due to the wet conditions and the weekend warriors who’ll be coming out after work and school have yet to arrive, we have the place to ourselves. Andrew stands patiently while I take roughly fifty photos. This one ends up being my favorite.
Remember the spillway that campers need to cross to get to the campground? It’s living up to its name today after all the rain. I get a little worried seeing the little cars and those pulling campers start to cross, but everyone makes it safely. There are gates to close it off if the water gets too deep and forceful, it makes me wonder what happens if campers get stranded in the park due to high water?
I drive across in Bertha because it looks like fun and take a video for posterity. I’m hoping to do some catching up on videos here in Texas, I didn’t have the bandwidth for it in Yellowstone. After that little adventure, it’s time to get back to the RV park and prepare for work tomorrow. I’m thankful I had the chance to get out today and remind myself why I’m putting in all of these hours.
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