Still More Walking: White Rock Lake

Note: This post is a sequel to Update: Walking Wherever—Within Reason.

White Rock Lake, Dallas, TexasThe first hurdle in the way of my Friday walk was Dallas rush-hour traffic. Less than 24 hours into my trip, and I’d already lost track of what day it was, so I was surprised to find a few million other people on the road when I set out for White Rock Lake. The second impediment was having lost any understanding of Dallas freeways that I’d ever possessed, so I failed to find the spur that appeared to cut across from I-35E to northbound I-45 on the Google map. Then, although southbound I-45 was clearly marked, I drove for miles without finding any signs pointing toward the northbound direction. It’s been my experience that the northbound and southbound parts of an interstate highway usually connect somewhere. This is apparently not the case in downtown Dallas.

When I started sensing that I’d gone too far, I exited the freeway and drove in the general direction where I thought I might find the lake. But I wasn’t seeing any promising signs—“This way to White Rock Lake” would have been most welcome—so before long, I gave up and resorted to asking for directions. I called a friend back home, sent her to Google maps, told her where I was, and she steered me the rest of the way to the lake. Who needs a smart phone?

Once I’d reached the lake, it took no time at all to find a parking spot a dozen steps away from the paved trail. I had encountered some disagreement among the web sites I browsed, but the consensus on the circumference of White Rock Lake is about nine miles, which is too far for my feet to walk on pavement. So I decided to head in one direction for 50 minutes, then turn around and return to where I’d parked, which would give me a distance about equal to my usual 6½ miles.

The outing at White Rock Lake cleared away the cobwebs of the previous evening’s disappointing walk. The day was beautiful and warm, with a nice breeze and fluffy clouds occasionally blocking the sun. I passed lots of fisherfolk, ducks, and picnicking families, and I was passed by joggers and dozens of cyclists whizzing along the broad asphalt trail that winds all the way around the lake. When the 50 minutes was almost up, I decided to prolong the experience with some “communing with nature.” I chose an empty pier in the distance as my stopping point, and when I got there, I rested my feet and watched gulls fish. They’d hover a few feet above the water in the stiff breeze, scanning the waves, then plunge suddenly to the surface. Every once in a while, they’d use the wind to climb higher for a better view, then pick a new spot to fish. “They sow not, neither do they reap”—and it was wonderful to share their lake.

I hiked back to the car, a little sore from the extra distance, but contented and mildly sunburnt. Overnight a cold front blew in. Saturday morning was cold and rainy, and the evening brought a rare first-day-of-spring snow.

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