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Photos shot for the July issue





this summer, Visit places you've never seen, or REvisit your favorite getaways

Imagine a carful of college students, windows rolled down, belting out a summer hit at the top of their lungs, heading off for adventure. Maybe instead it's a family gathered around a campfire roasting marshmallows, sharing a rare moment of quiet togetherness in their hectic lives.

Whether it's nail-biting adventure,visiting one of our best less-famous Texas beaches or just swaying in your hammock learning the name of that moth you see fluttering around your porch light, we hope we inspire you to find your summer fun.

Beat the Heat

Last July, the iconic Cavender's Boot City sign in Austin caught fire on a 109-degree day. When I saw the news photos of flames engulfing the familiar big boot, I found it to be the perfect representation of the state of Texas weather at that searing moment—boots on fire.

No matter how many summers you've survived Texas, the unrelenting furnace fan can still catch you by surprise. Triple-digit days are hardly relieved by brief nightly dips into the upper 70s. Realistically, you can't hide on the couch until October, so how can you beat the summer doldrums and satisfy your urge for outdoor adventure?

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Big Thicket by Boat

Martin Dies Jr. State Park offers swamp, river and lake paddling trails.

As we paddle downt he Angelina River, I keep my eyes peeled for the entrance to the secret swampy world. The previous day, local paddler and naturalist Geral Langham had shown me on the map where to look, and sure enough, a small break reveals itself in the dense tangle of trees and vines, inviting us into a wild and untamed place where alligators and orchids coexist and legends live on.

This is Forks of the River country, the maze of densely vegetated backwaters just above where the Angelina and Neches rivers meet, at the edfe of the biologically diverse Big Thicket.

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Like a Moth to a Flame

Caterpillars can be pesky, but their transformations into moths are worth the trouble.

Outfitted in black wetsuits, the two scientists — working beneath bald cypresses draped with Spanish moss — lift rocks from the creek's bottom and eyeball each one's underside with magnifiers. On the rocky bank, landowner Delmar Cain stands ready with a plastic bag of assorted specimen containers. His cue to open one comes when Jason Hall, cupping a wet rock in one hand, wades over to his wife, Alma Solis.

"I've definitely found a live one this time," Hall announces, using needle-nose tweezers to fold back a slimy sheet of algae on the rock. Under the silken blanket nestles a worm-like animal, light olive in color and no longer than a pencil eraser. Gently, he prods the body. "See the brown head?"

(read more)


KTW 2011 coverKTW 2011 cover

Keep Texas Wild

It's not just for kids. If you like nature-related topics in an easy-to-read format, you can find three years of our popular Keep Texas Wild issues and the teacher resources to go along with them.

    Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine