Editor's note: Dallas resident Stacy Breen is an intrepid explorer of local culture with an instinct for making nifty discoveries. During August, she's contributing a weekly column on her visits to North Texas parks.
This week, we were back on the southeast edge of Dallas, visiting Post Oak Preserve, a large park in Seagoville that's part of an official system set up by Dallas County.
Called the Open Spaces program, it encompasses 21 preserves, most of which are located on the outer edges of the county in suburbs like Rowlett, Mesquite, and Grapevine. They're deliberately all designed to resemble a national park rather than a neighborhood playground.
Post Oak opened in 1993 and has 334 acres with 2.75 miles of trails, making it one of the largest Dallas County preserves. It is also connected to the Dallas ISD Environmental Education Center, an academic facility across the street. Students go there to observe nature.
We got there about 11:30 am. The parking lot had about a dozen parking spaces, but nobody else was there.
When you get to the entrance, there are two ways you can walk, to the left or right. There's supposedly some rule in retail, that your subconscious always leads you to go right, so we went right. But it was kind of paved. The path to the left is the way you want to go.
It had a little more interest with variations in terrain, and it was shady. One of the park's best features was how shaded it was. We were there at the sunniest time of the day, and we were in shade probably 80 percent of the time.
There was also a giant 12-acre manmade lake, although it's nothing I would swim in. It was your typical murky lake. I'm from Michigan, we have clear water. There was a clearing on the shore that looked like people might hang out there and have bonfires. It had a fair amount of garbage.
I wore a jumpsuit, which in retrospect was not the wisest choice. It wasn't a fashionable jumpsuit, it was more athletic, but it was still a one-piece. Once we got there, of course I had to go to the bathroom, and they didn't have a rest room or porta potty. OK, we're going to have to pee in the woods.
I used to have an issue with peeing in the woods, but my sister taught me that I was thinking about it incorrectly. Instead of looking for something to lean against, you need to squat and hold on to something in front of you.
Then I realized, I'm wearing a jumpsuit and I'm gonna have to take this thing all the way down. It has cargo pockets, one holding my phone, and the fabric was loose and stretchy.
I found a tree that was sturdy, and put my one arm around the tree while the other arm was holding up my entire jumpsuit. It has elastic around the ankles, so I had to hike those up to my knees, then pull the top down, so that everything would be gathered between my knees and my thighs. All I was thinking was, "My sister would be so proud of me."
My boyfriend has gotten into this target practice thing, and at the shooting range, you can only buy so much ammunition. There's a shortage of bullets, because everybody's doing that now. So while we were out there, we shopped for ammunition.
The first ammo shop was in Seven Points. They had a 5-box limit; he got what he could. Then we went over the Cedar Creek Reservoir to Gun Barrel City to get more ammo. They had a 3-box limit. It seemed so perfect that he was wearing a yoga T-shirt and buying ammo in a town called Gun Barrel City.
Post Oak Preserve is at 1600 Bowers Rd., Seagoville. Parking is across the street from the DISD Environmental Learning Center. Call 972-749-6900.