Fort Parker State Park & Navasota River

--- October 27 - November 1, 2006

 

The park was named for Fort Parker, a nearby historic settlement established in 1833, and the site of the well-known Comanche Indian raid in May 1836, during which Cynthia Ann Parker was captured.  During captivity, Cynthia Ann became the mother of the last great Comanche chief, Quanah Parker.  The old fort was reconstructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps as a 1936 centennial project.

The parklands encompass the historic town of Springfield which was established in1838.  Springfield began to die in the early 1870's after the railroad bypassed the town.  Only the cemetery remains, the last resting place of many East Texas pioneers including an American Revolutionary War veteran and two veterans of the Battle of San Jacinto during the Texas Revolution.

 

I took a road trip to ride the Texas State Railroad before it shuts down at the end of the year.  I decided to camp at Ft Parker since it was a smaller park but also has a lake and the Navasota River feeding into it so I could kayak.  One thing I can say about the park is that I saw more wildlife there in three days than at any other Park I've been to.  I even saw a bobcat (but I couldn't get to the camera fast enough to take a picture).  The Park is located east of Waco on the edge of Pineywoods, it was full of  many types of trees. 

Two things were apparent were to me by the second night…… (1)  It had been too long since I had been in a forest and (2) it had been too long since I had seen the Milky Way.  It was also really nice to sit by a campfire again.  I had a great time here and will probably go back.

An unusual thing occurred on the last night.  I'm sitting by the campfire, enjoying the cool night, when all of a sudden there was something thrashing around in the treetops above me.  It happened again, it got a little scary, I thought the trees were going to fall down on me.   Then there was several of these thrashings.  The night sky was just clear enough that I could see several large birds flying over.  I spoke to the Park Ranger the next morning and he said it was likely to be ravens trying to find a roost for the night.

 

link to Floating photos

 

link to Flora & Fauna photos

 

link to Texas State Railroad photos

 

link to My Adventures web page