Day #11 – A beautiful day at Anahuac Wildlife Refuge

LOCATION:  Anahuac, Texas – SE of Houston
CAMPGROUND:  Another Harvest Host winery – Frascone Winery.  Super friendly owners.  Neighbor greeted us and helped us get parked. He is a good ole’ boy, missing most of his front teeth.  😦 
  Full hook-ups available for $15, but we dry-camped.  The parking area overlooks Trinity Bay that leads to the Gulf of Mexico.  5 stars out of 5
WEATHER:  Cloudy.  Cool.  High 70
DISTANCE DRIVEN:  1.5 hours

Check-out time at Bay Palms was an early 10:00, so we got a good start on the day.  We drove along the Gulf eastward, then north.  Galveston Bay and the Inland Waterway surround us.

On our way to Anahuac, we stopped at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.  When we arrived, we were the only ones there.  It is very well-done – very much worth the stop.

We parked at a visitors center (closed due to Covid) and did one of the hikes – through a butterfly garden and then a boardwalk over the marsh.  

We kept seeing these little formations and wondered what they are.  Later we asked a ranger who told us they are built by crawfish!

We asked the ranger which roads in the refuge would accomodate Joy.  Two we could do; one was dirt without any turn-arounds.  First we took a one-way, VERY narrow road around some wetlands. 

We saw a few alligators…. (yes, there is one in the photo)

We met a lady who visits the refuge daily, monitoring the alligators.  She counted 71 in a pod before the freeze a few weeks ago.  She reported that they seemed to have survived the cold, as there are still 71 there (in a spot we couldn’t get to). 

They were doing a controlled burn not far from us…

We saw a big flock of flamingos and many other birds.  It was very interesting.

Then, another drive (gravel road that was a bit scary) to a boat ramp, figuring we could turn around there.  It was a nice spot.  A family there were catching crabs…

We  had a nice picnic right next to the water.

Then on to the winery.  It is in sort of a run-down town with houses along the waterfront.  Most look like fishermen’s.  After getting set up, we walked around the town, and stopped at this locals’ bar,  Channel 17, for a beer.

Back at the winery, we joined the Glanvilles at the winery’s tasting room. 

The owner is second generation Italian and learned wine-making from his grandfather in Italy.  The wine was surprisingly good. The owner’s wife is Vietnamese.  Her specialty is gator spring rolls.  Of course, we had to give them a try!

We bought some bottles of wine and mead, as we always do, to support the Harvest Host owners.

DINNER:  My turn.  I had some leftover lamb stew that I thawed and bulked it up with cannellini beans and canned tomatoes.  It was quite good.  We started with a very tasty salad, one of Jacques Pepin’s recipes, and a good way to use that BIG bag of walnuts that George bought:

WALNUT MUSHROOM SOUR CREAM DRESSING

4 cup sliced white button mushrooms
1/2 cup walnuts
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup minced scallions
2 T lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
8-12 Boston lettuce leaves

Mix all.  To serve, spoon  into lettuce nests. 

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