"Finding a Sundew in the Big Thicket" Kountze Travelogue by grandmaR
Kountze Travel Guide: 5 reviews and 40 photos
We arrived in Kountze (7 miles south of the Visitor's Center) about noon. We stopped at a place called Mama Jack's for lunch. I had the lunch buffet ($7.50 - salad bar, food bar, dessert bar and soft serve ice cream), and Bob had a tuna salad sandwich. The bill was $13.57 before tip. The lunch bar had potato soup, chicken fried steak, potato salad, jello, marshmallow salad, green bean casserole, corn bread, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, that white gravy, and a couple of other things that I couldn't identify. There were three things for dessert - coconut cake, and two fruit cobbler type dishes. The place was very popular and the food was good, but there wasn't much other possibilities for food.
We got to the Visitor's Center about one. We went through the exhibits and then the attendant showed us a 10 minute video tape (the film equipment for the big theatre was destroyed in Rita). Big Thicket was the first National Preserve, and there are about 7 different locations in the park. It wasn't settled until quite late because it was such an impenetrable area. We talked to the lady who volunteered at the desk (the rangers take off on Monday because they work on weekends) about her experiences in Rita - she lives in Beaumont.
She told us that the best trail to visit was the Sundew Trail. Apparently this reserve has 4 of the 5 kinds of carnivorous plants in the US, and the Sundew Trail (which has a shorter inner loop) has two of them on it - Sundews and Pitcher Plants.
So we drove up the road to that section and took the unpaved road in to the trail. A sign at the entrance said that Hurricane Rita, with winds of over 100 mph had changed the forest in this area by removing a lot of the taller trees so that sunlight could now reach the forest floor. I took the little pamphlet which explains the trail from the box (and when we finished with the trail, I put it back).
The pamphlet explained that four species of southern pine in this section (longleaf, shortleaf, loblolly and slash). It also explained that the sundew (top photo) is a very small plant - often smaller than a dime - which is a flat red rosette with red hairlike glands. Each gland produces a sticky fluid which acts like flypaper to trap small insects.
So I was walking along the trail and slightly elevated boardwalk carefully inspecting the ground. Bob got somewhat ahead of me on the path, so when I actually found some sundews, he was out of earshot. I was thrilled to find them, and got down and took some pictures.The only thing that would make it better would be if I had some object in the picture to show the scale. But I didn't have any money, and in any case I couldn't have retrieved anything I put down there - like car keys. I wouldn't have minded losing a dime, but I wouldn't want to lose the keys.
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