There was a time when the barbed wire hung here enclosed the finest Swiss milking cows in all of Texas. The native wild rye grasses produced perennial champions of best tasting milk contests twenty years in a row at the State Fair. The Bois d'Arc fenceposts are the only addition to the Great Trinity Forest that old dairy left behind. Standing as silent sentinels for over a century they have weathered every storm and flood Dallas as a city has seen. In the dust bin of history these needle in a haystack old fence lines on White Rock Creek serve as testament to a time when this wild land was briefly tamed for a different use. Given half a decade the river took it back.
For The Price Of One Hundred Million Dollars
In late 2012, talk has been of taming the bottoms here once again for new uses. Promised world class facilities sure to rival that anywhere else in the known universe.
Many millions of dollars were spent to remove the old world class facilities from our memory. In an age old folkloric motif modelled on the story of Shechem, past mistakes were seceded back to the river never to be used again. An effort that Roman general Scipio Aemilianus Africanus who is heralded as salting Carthage would be proud of. So complete in dismantlement than only random fossilized golf balls remain.
The social and economic headwinds blow strong through this part of Dallas. The payoff of big ticket revitalization projects in the last ten years have yet to trickle down to the most important beneficiaries. The residents. I hear their frustration. Some of it is heartbreaking.
The promise of a brighter future is all one can hope for in a place many have written off as hopeless. The razing of Turner Courts and the new replacement taking the same footprint are met with guarded caution. We'll see.
|New Turner Courts Projects as viewed from the Buckeye Trailhead December 2012|
For The Price Of A Roll Of Flagging Tape
|Reflagging the Bois d'Arc Trail|
The river not only reclaimed that 36 hole golf course near Joppa but also the trail on the opposing side of the river. Erased. The Bois d'Arc Trail through Rochester Park(newly named William Blair Park) roughly follows the path of these old fenceposts down the west bank of White Rock Creek. The roughly mile and a half long trail eventually terminates at the confluence of White Rock Creek and the Trinity River on a knife edge briar patched peninsula.
|Eastern Wahoo Euonymus atropurpureus|
|Bois d'Arc Trail(click to enlarge)|
The river reclaimed this trail in 2012. A series of large flooding events in the early part of the year coupled with little human use vanished the trail. A previous visit nearly a year ago is chronicled in a previous post here: William Blair Park The Perimeter Trail The GPS data for that hike is still relevant and can be found on the Garmin website Perimeter Trail and Miller's Ferry. Coordinates 32.734445, -96.739459 Google Map for Trailhead
|Complete trail map of known trails in Rochester Park/William Blair Park|
|Trailhead as it looked in August 2010|
|The fiberglass arrow post|
The banks are very steep here and finding a crossing point has proven difficult. I'm sure there is a good ford crossing along the creek in this stretch but I have not pursued the goal of finding one.
|Fresh beaver felled sapling on the high bank above White Rock Creek|
|The peninsula at the mouth of White Rock Creek|
Reaching the trail junction of the Bois d'Arc Trail and the Buckeye River Trail the less trodden path takes one out on a peninsula formed by the mouth of White Rock Creek joining the river. The greenbriar vines are quite thick here and sure footed steps are required to insure safety from the steep drop offs on either side. This was also trimmed back on the recent trip there and should now be more manageable.
|Mouth of White Rock Creek looking downstream|
The trail from the mouth of White Rock Creek towards the Buckeye Grove does not meander far from the Trinity River. Passing some of the larger Bur Oaks, Pecans and Cedar Elms that were once used as shade trees by the milking cows of Metzger's Dairy.
|Standing in the Buckeye Grove, Great Trinity Forest|
This time of year, around Christmas, the Eastern Wahoo Tree makes it's own color on the river. Known as "The Burning Bush" the brilliantly colored leaves and seed pods offer some color in what is an otherwise muted winter setting. The tree of note is just north of the Buckeye Grove and can be easily seen from some distance through the woods.
The unpaved Buckeye Trail eventually links up in this area with a concrete trail built several years ago to accommodate those visitors needing ADA access. How someone with a wheelchair or hoverround rascal scooter can negotiate the climb over the levee to access the concrete trail beyond remains a mystery to me.
|Buckeye Trail from 2003|
|Buckeye Trail as it looked ten years ago|
|The paved Buckeye Trail|
The once open and canopied view of the old Buckeye Trail is now somewhat blocked by Giant Ragweed that grew up on their side of the trail after bulldozers cleared a large swath of forest for a 6 foot wide path. The latest plans from the city envision a similar trail, called the AT&T Trail near a future planned golf course bearing a similar name. That trail if built using the same construction standards as the Buckeye, would remove over half a million square feet of virgin hardwoods. Unlike the former grazing areas reclaimed by the river, the AT&T Trail would run through an area never logged or farmed. Something to think about.
|View from the end of the concrete trail at one of two Buckeye Trail overlooks.|
For The Price Of A Cup Of Tea
Under a grove of pecans and walnut trees that have fed man and beast alike for centuries Billy Ray Pemberton sits with his bible, guitar and mug; strumming songs of yore and songs he wrote himself. Subjects range from the land, his friends and thoughts on the world that surrounds him. Soft spoken in conversation, his true storytelling is done through his guitar. The richest man in town.
|Freedman's Town of Joppa -- The contrasting Christmas lights of a home on Fellows with the muted colors of the Great Trinity Forest beyond|