Many thanks to Teri (KO4WFP) for the following guest post:
Braving the Heat at Spring Creek Forest Preserve in Texas
by Teri (KO4WFP)
The last week of July, my family and I visited my husband’s sister and brother-in-law who live in the Dallas, Texas area. Of course, as soon as the decision was made to make the trip, I immediately checked to see if there were any POTA sites nearby. And wouldn’t you know, there is one roughly 12 miles away – Spring Creek Forest Preserve (K-4423). This would be my chance to activate my first Texas park.
Spring Creek Forest Preserve is a city-owned nature preserve in Garland, Texas. The forest contains old growth trees and several rare and unique plants. Seven miles (four dirt and three paved) of trails traverse the property. The park is named for the creek that runs through it. Today, the creek was deceptively quiet and the water level low. However, given the sculpted chalk cliffs that run above the creek and the flood stage signage, the waterway obviously has its wilder moments.
The morning of July 25th, I headed out early for the easy forty-minute drive from my in-laws to the preserve. The weather forecast predicted a high of 101 degrees, easy to imagine as by the time I arrived at the park, around 8 AM, the temperature was already 80 degrees.
I scoped out the parking lot. It was mostly empty on this day. Having no idea how busy the park might become, I looked for a place less likely for people to encounter my antenna. At first I chose a tree on the edge of the parking lot. However, there was nowhere to park my car close by and I wanted to sit inside the car during the activation.
In the middle of the circular parking lot was a tree surrounded by weedy growth. I figured no one would choose to wander through those weeds and thus my antenna would be safe and not need to be flagged.
I soon discovered why no one would want to wander through the weeds – they were full of little oval-shaped stickers! Thankfully they didn’t have long needle-like spikes on them and instead of being painful, were just annoying. They ended up all over my socks, shoelaces, and the hem of my shorts.
It took several tries to get my arbor line successfully in the tree as its branches were mostly aimed upward rather than outward. But on the third throw, I successfully snagged a branch of sufficient height for my EFRW antenna to slope toward my car. Just as it took several tries to snag the right branch, it took several adjustments to get the right amount of tension in the antenna. Rather than retie the arbor line every time I adjusted it, I just tied another slip knot and as such it ended up looking a mess. But I finally got the amount of tension and height I wanted. (By the way, the weeds made for a mess untangling my arbor line after the activation, too!) Continue reading KO4WFP: Braving the Heat at Spring Creek Forest Preserve in Texas