DATELINE -Autumn 2022
The greater Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex is home to a number of wonderful parks. Some of the best are found near our local reservoirs, and Murrell Park in Flower Mound is a prime example. Located on the scenic north shore of Grapevine Lake, Murrell Park provides a long list of appealing amenities. The park is operated by the Corp of Army Engineers, and is open to the public every day from 6:00am to 10:00 pm. Entry for day use is free of charge. Once inside the park you will have full access to covered picnic tables, restrooms, boat ramps with plenty of parking, fishing trails, hiking and biking trails (the extensive Northshore Trail), Twin Coves Marina, and the Rockin’ S Bar and Grill. The park also includes Hippy Point Campground, offering a number of easy-access campsites that can be reserved for a small fee.
The eastern part of the park is closed to automobile traffic due to flood damage dating back several years (or even decades, depending on the source). Even so, much of that part of the park remains accessible on foot and by bike, possibly increasing its appeal to the more adventurous.
The park is also a fantastic place to pursue nature photography, and as you might imagine, the prospect of pictures is what piqued my interest in making a visit. The red, rocky shores of Grapevine Lake are unique in the metroplex, and very photogenic. The lake is long and narrow, and is oriented longitudinally in a generally east-west direction. This orientation contributes mightily to the prospect of both sunrises and sunsets that are amazingly beautiful. The golden light of dusk and dawn cause the landscape to illuminate in magical colors. When the cool air of autumn moves in over the warm waters of the lake, fog banks ensue, and the atmospherics can be stunning. Additionally, the trees on shore can always be counted on to explode in autumn colors as fall sets in.
Many species of wildlife call Murrell Park home. Numerous varieties of waterfowl (occasionally unique and rare species) can be found in the waters just off shore. Fishing raptors such as Ospreys and the American Bald Eagle hunt these waters. On shore, the woods and meadows of the park provide habitat to a virtually complete checklist of North Texas mammals species. In particular, a very healthy herd of White-tailed Deer lives in Murrell Park. In fact, the park is an excellent place to observe these charming animals when they are most active at dawn and dusk.
This autumn is not the first time I’ve stopped by Murrell Park, but it had been a very long time since my last visit. It was way back in the early 1980s that I used to enjoy fishing on the north shore of the Grapevine Lake. Back then I had a select few favorite spots that frequented, and I never ventured into the rest of the park. When I came back this fall, I did my best to rectify that oversight. Predictably, it took me a few visits to get comfortable with the layout of the park and how best to navigate it. Most of my visits began very early in the morning, before first light, and I usually stayed for three to four hours. Over the course of October and November I stopped by on almost a weekly basis, and took many photographs. See below for a selection of my favorites…