Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dinosaur Tracks

Our daughter Jeana(daystocome) and her family invited us to spend a couple of days with them during their vacation. She said the kids wanted to go to Glen Rose to see the dinosaur tracks.

We had never been there. Neither of us is fond of being hot, and we had visions of clambering around a bunch of rocks, probably on a small mountain, in the broiling sun of August in Texas. But we do love our grandbabies, and we love being with daughter and son-in-law, so we said, sure, of course, count us in.

What we didn't say to them, but did say to each other, was, "Well, we can't all go in one vehicle so we will take our car, and if it is just too unbearable hot, we'll be able to leave them there and go find some place air conditioned until they are done looking at dinosaur tracks."

Having paid the day use fee (very reasonably priced at $5 per adult, $3 for seniors), our first stop seemed to confirm my worst fears. We walked to a pile of rocks that gradually sloped down to a river bed, and a sign with a piece of pipe to look through pointed the way to the first set of tracks.

I slathered on my sunscreen, adjusted my sun visor, put on my sunglasses, and trecked over to the sign amid the rocks. I dutifully looked through the little piece of pipe to zero in on where the tracks were, exclaimed at how many and what varied sizes and types, and politely declined an invitation to get up close and personal by hiking down the rocks in the sun.

I sat on a big rock, chatted with other visitors to the spot, some of whom were from England and Australia, and waited for my darlings to return.

We visited another spot, almost interchangeable with the first, as far as I could tell. Again, I perched on a big rock, swigged water from my bottle, and visited with passing visitors until my family came back.

My dear son-in-law said he thought we should go back to the first place, set up our day camp, and go swimming.

Swimming? My ears perked up a bit, since cold water sounded like a great idea on that hot day.

We gathered up the ground blanket, coolers, food, chairs, and assorted paraphernalia for enjoying a day on the river, and hiked down the rocks. Scott found a level spot in the shade, and we unloaded our burdens.

When I saw where we had to hike down to get to the river, I almost backed out. Having suffered a concussion not so long ago, I was reluctant to take a chance on falling and banging my head again. But Wick and Scott went before and after me, guiding me to the easiest path, and steadying me on the steepest parts.

What awaited us was a sort of paradise. Plenty of shade, water shallow enough to wade in, dropping down to chest-deep at a rocky dam, with places to sit on the rocks, get into deeper water, or wade upstream to search for more dinosaur tracks.

Scott brought us watermelon, bottled water, and even our lunch sandwiches, so I wouldn't have to struggle back up the rocks. As the shade moved over the water, he brought down canvas chairs so we could sit in knee-deep water, in the shade of the overhanging trees, and watch the grandbabies swarming up and down the river, finding tracks, dragonflies, minnows, small perch that nibbled on bare toes, and a variety of flora and fauna.

Occasionally a cool burst of water flowed through the natural limestone dam, keeping us quite cool, despite the sun flashing on the slow-moving water.

Other groups came and went, lingering briefly, then moving on to other overlooks, constantly looking for bigger and better .... bigger and better what? I wondered as I lazily swirled the water with my feet, watching the little ones digging in the sand, or befriending other children who came to the river to dig in the sand and paddle in the water.

After all my apprehensions, it was one of the most perfect days of my life, surrounded by loved ones, enjoying the bounty of nature and the beauty of God's creation.