Texas horror writer and human remains dog handler.
|Posted by douggoodman on December 11, 2016 at 6:15 PM||comments (0)|
Wow. I’ve done it. 21 hikes on 21 trails. That’s only half-way there, but it’s got to count for something, right? So, I've been hiking for roughly seven and a half months now, and I've just completed my 21st hike. I've just been looking over the hikes, and I'm pretty happy with what I'm seeing. Throughout Texas, I've visited mountains, forests, our lovely brown coast, and the hill country. I find it interesting (probably because I’ve hung around too many engineers) that of the four major “sections” of Texas (west, east, central, and south), the only section of Texas I have not hiked in is South Texas. If you consider North Texas as part of your map, then I've also hiked in North Texas. If you see a difference between El Paso and the Panhandle (and I do), then I've yet to hike in the Panhandle, though I plan to remedy that in March.
Although most of my hikes have been in the state parks (shout-out to the Texas State Parks Pass, get yours now), the National Parks System has provided me with two hiking opportunities that I've made use of, and local parks have been under my feet for five different trails. All this and I've never gotten lost or been eaten by wild squirrels!
Some of my numbers: 44 miles and 24 hours. Yes, that's right. I've been walking for over a day. And my feet couldn't thank me enough. (I think they’re giving me the "Grumpy Cat" glare...)
Some of the things I've encountered:
One friendly stray puppy
Amazing, have-to-see-it-yourself waterfalls (seriously, go see the waterfalls in Texas!)
Ruins (the not-scary kind)
Giant basketball-sized balls of spiders
…and the list goes on.
I don’t want to say yet which trail was my favorite. I’m not sure I have one yet, but I will say that starting this year of hiking at Pedernales Falls and the Franklin Mountains really helped motivate me. I’m not sure I could have kept with this plan had I not had those trails to fall back on.
Part of why I did this, though, was to try to gain some newfound wisdom or insight about the meaning of life. This is a work in progress. I’m learning and I’m watching and I’m taking everything in, but so far the biggest thing I’ve found is that I enjoy the trails more with my family than I do alone. I think that may be all the insight I need.
Also, I’ve developed a keen interest in the adventure available through the parks system. I am still blown away by how each trail is new and different. Believe me, once the trails started to center around the Houston area, I got concerned. I wondered if I would get bored. But I have yet to hike a “ho-hum” trail. Whether it was the addition of hiking with the Scouts, the accompaniment of my family, or the companionship of a puppy to the trail, I’ve never been bored and I’ve always come away really pleased with the result. There are no boring trails, just people not looking for the adventure!
I have some idea of where I’m going from here. There are arrangements to hike Palo Duro, and fingers crossed for Enchanted Rock and Garner State Park. I’ve only barely begun to explore Brazos Bend State Park’s trail system, so I hope to go back there, soon. And like I said, the only part of Texas I haven’t hiked is South Texas. So there is definitely a lot to look forward to. I haven’t done “winter hiking” in Texas yet, and I might get the chance to hike some caves and try some new and crazy things. So, as I am learning, there are lots of adventures that I’m already looking forward to.
|Posted by douggoodman on December 4, 2016 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
Just a note: I've moved 42 Trails to Instagram. I think it clicks a lot better using photo descriptions rather than the blog format. The photos are under #42trails. I reserve the chance to place some wackiness here, but for the most part, the mayhem will continue on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/42trails/" target="_blank">here.
|Posted by douggoodman on November 19, 2016 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Old Man Logan is another notch in Mark Millar's belt of jaw-dropping fiction. What a ride! Old Man Logan reminded me of Red Son in that it grabs a comics universe by the head, shakes it around, and sees what falls out. This book finds Wolverine having dropped his name and now only going as Logan. He lives in a post-apocalpytic California, a future where the villains have defeated the super heroes and taken over the United States. Logan, who like so many men of violence, has sworn off his old ways, and now he rents a farm that he works with his children and wife. After the Hulk's redneck grandchildren come to collect rent that he doesn't have, and then Hawkeye shows up with a proposition, their adventure begins.
Like all great Wolverine stories, this one boils down to a personal, introspective journey for Logan, who is coming to terms with a lot of guilt and a lot of bad memories. And by using a post-apocalpytic setting, Millar is able to indulge in many "what if" scenarios involving last epic stands and what becomes of the children and grandchildren of the superheroes who once were. It is in these smaller stories that I jumped from page to page wanting to discover in what ways the world had changed, and how superheroes had adapted to the new world order.
Simply put, this is one of the best Wolverine stories ever written.
|Posted by douggoodman on October 16, 2016 at 8:30 AM||comments (0)|
15. Kemah Berm Trail
September 23, 2016
Distance: 1.1 Miles
Time to Hike: 25 minutes
The Kemah Bern is an easy little trail. The "path" is a loop at the top of a berm, which local history tells me was made from dredging out the canal for the Kemah Boardwalk. The loop was semi-covered in asphalt. Except for mowing, the path is unmaintained. Inside the loop are several different environments, from marsh to prairie to scrub forest, all within a 1 mile block, which is pretty interesting, but not as interesting as what happened before and after the trail
Every trail I've walked has been unique and interesting. I thought with the berm, I had finally found a boring trail. Not true. Every trail is an adventure.
So, like I do every time, I put together my equipment (a MULE Camelback with some tame SAR gear and random bits of food like a cup of applesauce and a protein bar from 2012). I walked out to the berm, but as I was getting close, I heard that sound that drives neighborhood runners and walkers crazy: dog barking from the front yard. Now, I've encountered many dogs, a few of which actually approached, and only one that gave me the drive-by/"I'm going to bite you next time" feel. Usually an owner is nearby who calls the dog off.
I've been looking elsewhere and not noticed the dogs. Yes, dogs. The first one is a true blue heeler. She is sitting in the bed of a trailer that has been parked at a house two doors down from me. She is barking from the very edge of the trailer, but will go no further. The fence is being worked on. I suspect she belongs to the construction crew, who is out on lunch. The second dog is much closer, only one house away from me. He is barking like crazy and charging toward me, but he is small. Then he rears up on his back legs, and I can see clearly that he is all-ears and all-paws. The puppy lands with his front paws down on the concrete, his little butt wiggling up in the air. In dog speak, he might as well have been yelling "YOU ARE THE COOLEST THING EVER AND I WANT TO PLAY!!!"
The little hound dog ran up to me wiggling, so I petted him, told him to go home, and kept walking. I passed the blue heeler, which just eye-balled me like a suspicious mom who doesn't like the look of somebody at the local playground. Like a runner being followed by a dog on Wuhu Island (go play a Nintendo Wii or Wii U if you don't know what I'm talking about), I suddenly had a little dog that had decided to follow me on the trail. While I was happy to have made a friend and to have his company, this was September, it was hot, and I didn't want the dog to overdo it. So I was happy when, about a quarter ways down the trail, he suddenly decided he really needed to get home. I finished the trail and was getting hot myself.
I thought my adventure was over, but I was wrong. I had to pass by the house on the way back, and this time the little puppy decided to follow me all the way home. I tried encouraging him to go back. Nothing doing, he was with me. So I set out some water for him at home (he'd looked pretty drained when I came out of the park and was just a yellow pancake spilled out over the road). Then I put him in the car and drove him home. This time, the blue heeler, who had barked at me every time I passed, just watched and waited. Once her little brother came out of the car, she nervously checked him out to make sure he was okay. She looked like a wreck. Poor thing. I felt bad for her. She was just doing her job and her life was miserable because nobody else did what they were supposed to do. I kept walking, and the puppy kept following. But I was happy to reunite them, and I was tired, and it was time to go home.
But not. Like the cat coming back the very next day, the puppy ran after me driving away. Another walker tried to call the puppy back, but the puppy was bound and determined to follow me. Well, it was hot, cars were starting to frequent the road, and I had other things I needed to do besides deal with a possible puppy roadkill event. So back in the car the puppy went. I took him home and put him in one of our kennels. I left a sign on the garage door of the owners. (Clearly, this was not a dog belonging to the construction crew but to the owners.) Then I went about my business.
A funny thing happened when Douglas came home. I told him that the puppy was here just until the owners came for it. Well, my son is a child. All he was concerned about was seeing the puppy, playing with the puppy, and asking what would happen if the owners didn't come for it. (Yeah, we're not keeping it.)
He ran through a bunch of scenarios. The little lawyer was trying to find a scenario in which we would keep the puppy, or an argument that these were really horrible people and we should keep the puppy for them. I was beginning to get nervous that we would have to get a puppy, when we decided to let the puppy into the backyard to go to the bathroom. We had to switch dogs into kennels (mainly Ryder). From the kennel, Ryder went nuts, barking sharply at the little stranger in our house. Well, the hound dog puppy barked back. He was a hound dog, after all, and he had a voice! Soon enough, my problem was solved before it became a problem. Douglas was covering his ears and ready for the puppy to go. It was too loud for him!
To cut the story short, the owners came about a half hour later and picked up the puppy. Douglas was happy to see it go, and we don't have a new dog in the house, so it was a win-win for everyone!
|Posted by douggoodman on October 12, 2016 at 8:45 AM||comments (0)|
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a fantastic find! This is a zombie apocalypse story, but what makes it so good is that the book follows the POV of a Jack Russel Terrier named Harry who is owned by a man who is staying at a cabin when the zombie outbreak occurs. Everything that seems standard in a zombie apocalypse story becomes new because of the dog's POV. So while Harry's owner is looking at his first zombie and thinking that the person is really injured and maybe sick, Harry is barking his head off because he can smell the difference and knows that something is really, really wrong. This perspective is what readers are looking for in a book. It is insightful beyond the characters in the book, yet is trapped by the communication barriers between man and his loyal companion.
While dogs have an interesting place in the apocalypse (A Boy and His Dog, Mad Max, Rover Red Charlie, to name a few), this one seems different than all the others. The Dog is both heartbreaking and harrowing, earnest and insightful. This is definitely one of my favorite books from this year, so I hope you pick it up!
|Posted by douggoodman on October 1, 2016 at 9:55 AM||comments (0)|
FREE to a good home:
Good morning, everyone. This weekend (of October 1), Cadaver Dog is FREE on Kindle.
I hope you take a chance on my book like these people did:
“It's an action packed adventure that will keep you turning the pages.”-Brandi
"Really, you have got to read this book! I couldn't put it down." - Margaret Lane
“An absolutely awesome version of the zombie apocalypse.”-To Read, Read, and Reviewed Book Reviews
“Are you kidding me? It can't end like that! I want more!”-Kim
“I can't wait to read more!”-busymomof4
“What a great read!”-Beverly
“I really liked the idea of training a dog to find zombies and missing people.”-Bernadette
“It's rare that a zombie story gives us something beyond the usual end of the world scenarios but this book delivers a whole new, and chilling take on how zombies are created. The ending left me heartbroken and wanting more.” – Horror Maiden Book Reviews
“I fully enjoyed this read." – JenacidebyBibliophile Book Reviews
“I think this book is a perfect example of how a short novel can be as good as or better than a 500 page book.” - Laura
Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/1nCx0yG
Amazon (UK): http://amzn.to/1KeT1gZ
Amazon (CA): http://amzn.to/1OU0qRA
|Posted by douggoodman on September 20, 2016 at 7:40 PM||comments (0)|
I had to share this very touching video by Zachariah Smith. Has a better Superman film been made since Superman first flew across the screen? That's not to disparage the recent movies. I'm actually a fan of Superman Returns and Man of Steel. But that doesn't mean this isn't better. I think I like it more because it humanizes him. Maybe that's why some of the best parts of Man of Steel were as Clark growing up. He doesn't have to be beating some space monster to make a good movie. In this story, Clark is dealing with the loss of a good friend, who develops cancer but doesn't tell anyone. Clark knows because of his abilities, but he can't say anything.
"You have your secrets, too," his father says.
"But I'm the one who can do anything, right?" Clark shoots back. He has a lot to deal with.
At one point, his friend, Sam, says "Stop letting stuff like this push you around. Be in control."
Without knowing it, Sam is helping Clark become the hero we want him to be. This is one of those great things we like to see in a Superman movie. It's not enough for Superman to get his powers. We want to see the events in his life that inspire him to become that quintessential hero, and that's why this movie is so great. It delivers on that message.
|Posted by douggoodman on September 4, 2016 at 7:45 PM||comments (0)|
14. Galveston Island State Park Pond Trail
September 4, 2016
Distance: .5 Miles (Out and Back)
Time to Hike: 15 minutes
I ended the day with the Pond Trail. This is a short trail that cuts from inside the Prairie Trail and connects with the Pond Loop. Of the three trails, I thought this one had the best views, though I took the fewest photos. Like the other two trails I covered today, the path was mowed through the prairie grass. I saw lots of signs of life here, like fishbones and raccoon tracks. (Gee, I wonder what was going on there? :))
The Pond Trail connects with the Pond Loop at two points, almost 30 meters apart. They go around a palm tree, but the photo refuses to cooperate with my web interface, so you will have to trust me, or check out the photos on the Instagram I set up especially for 42 Trails (42trails).
All told, I covered 2.8 miles of hiking today. If you are not interested in trying to cover all parts of the trail and just want a "choice cuts" version, I would recommend using the Pond Trail, connecting to the northern trail (which is closer to Galveston Bay and goes away from the San Luis Pass). I saw more birds along this side of the Pond Trail. Do this in the evening or early morning. The path will take you back to the Priarie Trail, which you can then take back out. Now get outdoors and go hiking!!!
|Posted by douggoodman on September 4, 2016 at 7:30 PM||comments (0)|
13. Galveston Island State Park Freshwater Pond Loop
September 4, 2016
Distance: .7 Miles
Time to Hike: 22 minutes
The Freshwater Pond Loop begins at the end of the Prairie Trail Loop, so while this trail is only .7 miles, keep in mind that you have a 1.6 mile hike (out and back) to get to this point, which makes for a 2.3 mile hike. While I liked this trail, I will say that what bugged me about it (besides the mosquitos, amiright?) was the proximity to the San Luis Pass. There is a lot of traffic there, and so you can't quite get that peaceful, easy feeling the Eagles sang about like you can on the trails closer to the bay. That doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of good things to hear. If found ducks, egrets, and herons while I was out here, and that was close to the middle of the day. I suspect if you show up at dawn or dusk, there is even more to listen to. When I was hiking the Clapper Rail Trail here on the other side of summer, I was surprised, if not a little overwhelmed at times, by all the bird calls and bird sightings. I imagine a lot of those birds, while they may hunt among the marshes for crabs, are probably stopping here at the freshwater pond to drink.
Rubber duckie, you're the one...
I was looking down into the marsh as I came upon this stand of trees, and I wasn't looking up. So I only saw the herons flying off. (There is a little one still in the tree here.)
This is the view of the pond from the side closer to the San Luis Pass.
And of course, the trail map:
|Posted by douggoodman on September 4, 2016 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
Okay, so it is Labor Day weekend, and some of that summer heat is finally starting to cool off. It has been almost two months since I last did a trail. Can you believe that? The last time I was hiking a trail, we were all still wondering how Suicide Squad would turn out. Well, now that that's over (it turned out "meh"), it is time to get back to my goal of 42 trails in a year. And what better way to jumpstart it than to hike THREE trails in a single outing? Yes, that's right. Crazy Doug hiked three trails today, all at Galveston Island State Park where the temperature was somewhere around 90 degrees and the humidity felt about the same. So here is the first trail...
12. Galveston Island State Park Prairie Trail
July 9, 2016
Distance: 1.6 Miles (Out and Back)
Time to Hike: 27 minutes
The Prairie Trail is a fast out and back. Like all the other trails at the state park, there is about three feet of elevation, which is negligible. I wanted to hike this trail because a. it is the longest trail at GISP so I can now say I have hiked the longest trail at GISP, and b. because it connects to two other Freshwater Pond trails.
The Prairie Trail cuts through grass and cattails, which was pretty interesting because I usually think of swamps, not beaches, for cattails. But that shows you how diverse the ecosystems are here. the cattails need the freshwater marsh, and yet a few hundred yards in either direction you get salt water. It makes me wonder about the damage that a hurricane can wreck on small freshwater systems like these. If a hurricane dumps salt water here, that would remove (at least for a while) freshwater resources for migratory birds and other species.
Look at that sky! The last time I was here, it was very dramatic. This time, it is so peaceful. It's a Simpsons sky!
And finally, here is a map of the trail so that you can see what it looks like.