Shrimp Boats in Port at Palacios
We only had a few days to spend at Goose Island, so the first day we ended up going into Rockport. Goose Island is just in Rockport. Now, Rockport is a pretty little coastal town. If you need to shop,you will find all your grocery stores and Wal-Mart and service stations...pretty much anything you might need for your camping experience. It also has a number of souvenir shops (my downfall). I love to shop for souvenirs. I'm especially crazy about buying coffee cups from all the places that we go. I just like it. I have a thing about cups. However, I can never buy the first cup that I see. I have to look at all the cups in all the souvenir shops and decide which one I like best. Then I have to remember where I saw the one that I like best. That takes a little while and can fill up a good portion of a day. So, that is how we spent a goodly portion of our first day away from Goose Island. Rockport does have a lovely park right on the Gulf of Mexico where you can relax and watch all of the beautiful birds. They also have several nice restaurants if you're tired of eating hot dogs. We chose to have dinner at a nice restaurant called, "Latitude". The food was good-not spectacular, but very good as well as pricey. It was a nice place. Glad we went there. After dinner we headed back out to Goose Island and enjoyed the quiet, the sounds of the Gulf Coast, and the campfire. What more can you ask? That's the best part about camping.
Sandhill Cranes just outside of Palacios
Double-crested cormorant perched on shrimp boat
My mind has deserted me. I will finish this tomorrow. See you later.
My mind has been summoned. It is rebelling, but I do believe that it is retrieveable!
The day after our Rockport sojourn, we decided to head the other direction toward the little community of Palacios (pronounced Pa-lay-shus). That's Texan for the Spanish pronounciation of Pa-la-ci-os. It was not a bad drive. You have to understand that driving along coastal backroads in Texas does not open up vistas of great beauty. You get your reward when you get to your destination and the vast Gulf Of Mexico opens up before your eyes. There you have the sight, the sounds,the smells and the feel of beauty that can never be equaled in the interior. I love the water.
Just before we entered the town of Palacios, we were treated to a wonderful sight (remember I have now become a bird lover!) But, whether or not you have a heightened interest in birds or not, you would have welcomed this sight. There was a massive flock of Sand Cranes in a field to our right. We stopped and just looked for ten or fifteen minutes. I don't know, maybe longer. Anyway, they were mezmerizing....great number of them! I'm not good with numbers, but there had be be at least 1,000 of them...well, maybe 75-100. It looked like a 1,000! And when they all took off at the same time, that was truly an incredible sight.
After leaving the Sand Cranes behind we drove on around and into Palacios and there we were greeted by shrimp boats. They were coming, and going,and docked...there were a bunch of them,maybe a 1,000..well, maybe 75-100. Anyway, there were a bunch of them, and in their own way they were also a beautiful sight with their colors and names and sounds and smells. Palacios is called the "Shrimp Capital", and it's port is home to one of the largest shrimping fleets on the entire Gulf Coast. You can only imagine the number of birds that follow those boats! It's a beautiful scene.
Palacious is a clean, pretty little coastal town, and probably the best part of the entire place is a quaint little restaurant called "The Outrigger". They serve some GOOD food. And guess what, they get their shrimp straight from the boats who are in dock just a stone's throw away. I'm trying to say that their shrimp is FRESH. Not only that, but they know how to fix that shrimp in a number of different ways. That's not all they serve, but who cares? If you happen into Palacious you definitely need to eat here. Besides, you might meet some interesting characters. The Outrigger is where all the locals hang out.
After meandering in and out along the Gulf Coast of Texas between Palacious and Rockport, we finally ended back at Goose Island State Park. What a lovely place to collapse. We leashed the dog and walked along the water and out onto the pier and just throughly enjoyed the fact that we were alive. Then, back to the trusty little camper where we relaxed with a great cup of coffee (what's better around an outside fire than a good ol' cup of coffee?) After counting a few stars and listening to someone gently playing the guitar at a camp site not far from us, it was time to fall asleep and think about heading home tomorrow. Camping is a delightful way to spend your senior years.
***An Imortant Note About This Area:
Adjacent to the Goose Island State Park you will find the magnificent Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Here you will find any number of wild birds at different times of the year as well as javalina, deer, bobcats, alligators, all sorts of wild and wonderful things. But, MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, you will find the nearly extinct Whooping Crane. This is one of only two places in the entire WORLD where these birds are found in the wild. The flock nests in Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada. There, in the spring and summer, they build their nests and mate (for life). They then migrate to their wintering grounds in Aransas Pass. That's a 2500 mile trip! They fly during the day and make regular stops along the way. By December all, or nearly all have reached the marshes of Aransas Pass. Whooping Cranes are the rarest birds in North America. They are also the largest, usually about five feet tall with wing spans of seven feet. As spring arrives they begin their flight back to Canada. They usually migrate in pairs or family groups, sometimes in small flocks.
Is that not an interesting tidbit? We have the rarest bird in North America right here on our Texas Gulf Coast! That's definitely something worth making a trip to see. We didn't get to see them on our trip, but you can bet we will be traveling that way again soon. We will time our trip with their migration patterns.
You might want to make a trip to see them yourself.