|Piedmont Ridge Trail Overlook, view towards Oak Cliff Bank Tower on horizon|
|Bruton Bottoms in the Great Trinity Forest|
|JJ Beeman Trailhead sign|
JJ Beeman is an important figure in North Texas history. On President Sam Houston's visit to White Rock Spring in the summer of 1843 it was JJ Beeman who guided Sam Houston's Treaty Party from their overnight camp at Big Spring up White Rock Creek to John Neely Bryan's cabin in what is now Downtown Dallas.
|Sam Beeman, Mrs John Neely Bryan Sr, John N Bryan Jr|
He must have been a restless sort, holding the job titles now trademarked by every professional sports team in DFW. Texas Ranger, Dallas Cowboy, Maverick, Rough Rider. His constant travels across Texas and the West make him all but a minor blip in most Dallas histories but he deserves more credit for what he did here in Dallas.
|Pioneers of the Trinity|
|Thunderhead over Beeman Cemetery|
Many of those folks now rub shoulders at the Beeman Cemetery just like they did in that old photo. I would hazard a guess that two-thirds of those in the photo now lie in repose there. Sitting on a hill, a stones throw from the upper limits of White Rock Creek's floodplain the old cemetery was chosen as a garden spot of a cemetery by John Beeman in the 1840s.
Renda/Laceywood Trailhead(top yellow), Grover Keeton(middle) and Devon Anderson(bottom). The ideal parking location is inside the Grover Keeton golf course lot, west of the DART tracks. This allows for an out-and-back hike from the safest parking area.
The Lawnview DART route now requires a heavy bushwhack and not recommended at this time.
|Hutchins quadrangle annotated with Scyene, Laceywood and Piedmont Overlooks. Map credit Tim Dalbey|
|Click to enlarge map credit Tim Dalbey|
The marsh notations south of Bruton are "Bruton Bottoms". I would only attempt an excursion down there with a group, good GPS, a fresh roll of flagging tape and a good head on your shoulders.
The millennium old natural bison path and hard bottomed ford of White Rock Creek made this a preferred ox pulled wagon route into Dallas prior to the railroads. The long haul interstate truckers of their time.
In the last month, historian MC Toyer and archeologist Tim Dalbey have been out on a field trip or two in this area checking into a possible gravesite of outlaw Belle Starr's family and an old post Civil War era cabin in the Parkdale neighborhood(a few blocks from the overlook) that has a contemporary veneer on the exterior but logs/planks underneath. Owned by a well known local artist it might be one of the oldest structures in Dallas still on the original foundation. Or not.
|Scyene Overlook map. Credit Tim Dalbey|
The pounded down rocky rat holes left behind by years of off road vehicle use at Scyene Overlook have made deciphering the old ATV trails from new hiking trails quite difficult. Looking at the eroded gullies one can imagine these were used in hill climbing contests for motorized dirt bikes and off road vehicles at one time. Gazing the topographic map above with trail overlay one finds it difficult to make sense of what route to take. The Groundwork Dallas trail is unmarked, unblazed and ripe with deadfall making for a puzzle of a walk. Follow your own line here and you'll be fine.
Orchids- There are five species of Hexalectrus orchids that are found in Texas out of seven species worldwide. Out of these five, four occur in Dallas County. In the most recent orchid census, Scyene Overlook had the third highest number of orchids in the county, all were the H. spicata spicata species. The orchids here are quite rare and rely on a specialized relationship with soil fungus to acquire their carbon rather than sunlight. These species cannot grow under artificial conditions or be propagated by humans.
At one time, the city wanted to pave Scyene Overlook's trail and place an observation tower on top of it so that visitors could view Downtown from a distance. One of the rubs is that visitors cannot see Downtown from this vantage point. To do that one need only cross the Renda Meadow to Laceywood Overlook.
Laceywood Overlook- The overlooked overlook
|Tree covered Laceywood Bluff|
|Cottonwoods along unnamed brook through the Renda meadow|
|View of Downtown Dallas from Laceywood Bluff|
|Sumac on Laceywood Bluff|
The Piedmont Overlook sits east of Jim Miller and can be best accessed from Gateway Park on Jim Miller. Hop across Oak Creek and begin the climb from the south. The west facing slope resembles scree and far too loose to hike up. Kicking rocks loose in this area would end up on Jim Miller vehicle traffic below.
The elevation of this bluff is the same height as the Laceywood Bluff and therefore is blocked from a view of Downtown Dallas. No formal trail exists that I know of. This is an orphaned section of bluffs that extend along the east side of Jim Miller from Scyene to Bruton. The road cut for Jim Miller bisected the rock feature here and left the eastern sections cutoff from the rest. I have wandered around some south of Gateway Park on the east side of Jim Miller and have not found much of note.
Many of the larger trees along Oak Creek in a residential neighborhood that back up to Gateway Park pre-date pioneer settlement of Dallas County. A recent postmorteum was done on a felled oak tree in the 2200 block of Santa Cruz. The Post Oak was dated at 134 years old with a radius of 11.99 inches.
|Piedmont Ridge Overlook|
Climbing a short set of switchbacks puts one on a flat plateau of exposed remnant blackland prairie and lends itself to open sky views not afforded at other overlooks. Here you can usually see buzzards wheeling the sky, riding the warm thermals created by an ever present southerly breeze. The sweet smell of juniper on the hottest of days can transport one to the scrub of the Llano Estacado without ever leaving the city limits.
|Devon Anderson Park|
|The Half Mile Overlook|
The wooded trail opens up into an open wildflower meadow near the trailhead junction of the overlook trail and Comanche Storytelling Place trail. The Devon Anderson Meadow is set afire from time to time by what are probably neighborhood youth. It burned down at least twice in 2012 that I know of. The coming spring will tell the tale of what ancient fire DNA lives in the seeds in the ground here.
|Comanche Storytelling Place|