It has been a while since my last post. A family cruise followed by a serious bout of influenza A put a delay on cohesive thought processes for a short bit.
Our last campground was located in League City, Texas, a suburb of Houston. It was a nice area with absolutely everything under the sun within a short driving distance. Since Mike was working during the weekdays and I was occupied by twiddling my thumbs, I decided to explore some of the local parks on my own. With a new-to-us camera in hand (thank you, Jim), my adventure of the day was to visit the Challenger Seven Memorial Park in hopes of learning something new and seeing an amazing memorial to the Challenger Seven crew.
The landscape in that area of Texas was pretty flat and brown from the winter. Driving into the park, it was easy to see for a good distance. I was expecting a visitor’s center with some background information, maybe some pictures of the crew or a museum of sorts. That wasn’t the case. Signage throughout the different areas of the park was not well marked. I drove to the end of the road where there was a large parking lot with a children’s playground and picnic pavilions. I spied a trailhead marking for the nature boardwalk, so I parked the car, grabbed the camera, tucked away my phone and keys and headed for the trail.
The walk leading to the boardwalk on Clear Creek was easy to traverse and there were beautiful oak trees and winter flowers along the path. The boardwalk was a meandering trail along the waterway. I encountered bird nests, the quiet rustlings of the breeze through tree branches, and some waterfowl. It was a pleasant and quiet walk, although somewhat eerie being the only human being on the path. My lazy bullmastiff should have come with me–she would have enjoyed the walk.
The waterway itself seemed still and lifeless. I was later informed that Clear Creek was a sad victim of a chemical dumping site (Brio Refining, Inc.), which rendered wildlife in and around the water poisonous and unusable. The EPA’s current report is here and an article from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is here.
What was missing from the Challenger Seven Memorial Park? The answer is absolutely any information on the Challenger Seven crew. When I returned to my car, I asked a passerby about the namesake of the park. “Oh,” she said, “There is a small memorial just inside the park. It’s in disrepair and I don’t think you can get close to it.” She gave me directions, and I drove the short distance to the unmarked memorial site.
The park, based on the name alone, was a disappointment for me personally. I vividly remembered the Challenger accident, and I had hoped for a fitting memorial. The nature aspect was beautiful and I enjoyed the peaceful walk, but the negative environmental changes by a chemical spill by Brio Refining, Inc., and the lack of honor to the Challenger Seven crew left me sad and confused. I hope the park will find future funds to reinvent itself to find its full potential.
Until the next adventure,