A boy and his dog, exploring the Grasslands

By Jimmy Alford | Published Wednesday, February 20, 2013

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Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time out in the LBJ National Grasslands north of Decatur.

I’ve explored most of the gravel roads and have ventured into wilderness by foot. The scenic beauty is astounding and fills me with great pride that I’m able to enjoy such a bounty.

At the same time, it makes me miss my childhood home.

Jimmy Alford

Jimmy Alford

One of my favorite things was wandering with my dog through the thick, dark northeast Texas woods on my family’s property – walking the creek beds and discovering the world, one step at a time.

I was never alone, as I always had a companion – my dog. I’ve had several over the years and each would go exploring with me, happily leading the way or following closely behind. It was like that again as I started trekking across the grasslands.

Chloe was excited and enthralled by the open air after a long car ride from my home in Haltom City. She leapt from my tiny car and immediately put her nose to the ground, like a good beagle should.

I’m not sure, but I can only guess that Chloe has never seen a cow before. She had no idea what to make of the hulking behemoth lumbering nearby. Worried and fearful, she chose flight over fight and stuck close to me. I was glad, as I had no wish to tangle with a giant mound of hamburger on hooves.

Overall, she was happy, and I was happy. I took photos while she kept exploring, then I would catch up and take more photos. To this point, she can be bothersome – chasing away birds and the like. But I have patience, and I’d rather have her with me than a bunch of birds anyhow.

I’m writing a series of stories about this wonderful place. Each story is slated to be published in the All Around Wise section, starting today. By the end of my journeys throughout the LBJ, I’ll have covered wildlife, camping, hunting and even scientific research.

I’m excited, and the USDA Forest Service has been a great help. I hope others can get involved in telling the story of such a rare resource. If you go out there, you might see me wandering around with a camera and my photo assistant Chloe.

Postscript: It just dawned on me that I have unintentionally slighted Chloe, the photo assistant dog. She is helping me out so much I should probably think about giving her a byline credit.

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