LAKE GRAPEVINE: 
THE INLAND SEA OF TEXAS

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Many people flying into Texas for the first time, arriving at D/FW Airport, are surprised by how green the landscape appears and by all the lakes. Lake Grapevine is the body of water closest to the airport and is the lake that air travelers get to view up close, seeing windsurfers and bike riders and plenty of hikers. For this walk along the shores of Lake Grapevine we started at Rockledge Park, located on the north end of the Lake Grapevine dam.

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Looking across Lake Grapevine at Gaylord Texan. click a thumbnail to view a photo

Windsurfers riding the heavy surf. That is Gaylord Texan and the Glass Cactus you see on the south side of the lake. Gaylord Texan is a huge convention center/hotel complex/resort complex. Inside the Gaylord Texan they've sort of recreated the best of Texas. There's the San Antonio Riverwalk complete with the Alamo. Or you can look at Palo Duro Canyon. There are several restaurants, like Ama Lur in the Hill Country zone. And Riverwalk Cafe. You can likely guess what zone that is in.

The mountain bike trail with a hiker, no biker.
Here we see a biker.

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A wooden bridge across a gully on the Rockledge Trail at Lake Grapevine. The mountain bike trail is about 11 miles long, the first few miles are fairly easy. And then it gets difficult. The trail runs from Rockledge Park to Twin Coves Park. Rockledge Park can get a bit busy with parking sometimes a challenge. There many picnic spots with the mountain bike trail starting at the end of the road, which is where parking can be the most difficult to find.
The rocky shore of Lake Grapevine. A look back at Rockledge Park. If you've been to Grapevine Mills you've been very close to Rockledge Park. Just find your way to Lake Grapevine and drive across it. The entry to Rockledge is at the north end of the dam.
A big wave crashing to shore on Lake Grapevine. Whitecaps and heavy breakers. You'd think you were in Galveston.
There are clams to be dug at this inland sea. The second clam shell has paired up with a beer can. We've been able to find no information about the Lake Grapevine clams. We were able to learn there are several types of bass in the lake, including the largemouth, spotted and white varieties. There are also catfish and white crappie. We can attest from personal experience that there are aggressive turtles in the lake. We had an encounter with a fast moving turtle while swimming, thinking it to be a snake because all that was seen was the reptilian head popping out of the water about a foot away.. Fasting swimming we have ever managed and back safely on shore we saw that it was a turtle that was doing the chasing. Later we talked to some fishermen who said they'd seen water moccasins earlier that day. So, there are snakes in Lake Grapevine. Another time we talked to a teenager who's boyfriend had stepped on a garfish the day before. Stepped right on the teeth of the prehistoric freakish looking thing. They look like some genetic mutation gone awry, like an eel somehow mixed with an alligator. We did not know such critters existed til the exile in Texas. We were at Indian Village Park in far west Fort Worth and saw a guy looking at something in the water. Asked what he was looking at and he points to this thing in the water that I thought was a gator when I first saw it and he tells me "well right there is a garfish and on the other side I'm keeping my eye on a big cottonmouth." We have a strong aversion to snakes. Maybe the cottonmouth sensed fear because as soon as it was spotted it began to move. Fast, swimming across the narrow creek and starting up the bank. Needless to say we quickly got back bike riding. If you are in Fort Worth and have never seen a garfish, go to Cabellas in far north Fort Worth by Alliance Airport. Cabellas is a sporting goods store on steroids. Inside there is a mountain representing 4 different geographic zones, an Africa savanna with elephants and tigers, a display showing just about everything you can hunt or kill in Texas, including, (if you're Dick Cheney) an animatronic camper and there is an aquarium that is sort of a tunnel and in the tunnel you will see a garfish. The Cabellas garfish was our second garfish encounter and was not nearly as unsettling.
Clam shells at Lake Grapevine.
l No, this beautiful beach is not in Hawaii, it is in North Texas on Lake Grapevine.
A lone tree on a redrock bluff on Lake Grapevine. Redrock cliffs reminiscent of the redrock of Utah.

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A great place for a skinny dip on Lake Grapevine. The Blue Lagoon of Lake Grapevine. A very popular skinny dipping spot. Well, truth be told we skinny dipped and thought it should be a popular skinny dipping spot.
Another view of the Blue Lagoon with what appears to be someone preparing to take a dip in the skinny. We've had 3 incidents of coming upon people in the buff, some swimming, some doing other things one does in the buff or can do in the buff if one is so inclined. Lake Grapevine is a very interesting place. You never know what you're going to find or see.
A choppy sea on Lake Grapevine. A very choppy sea.

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A seagull. The Inland Sea of North Texas has seagulls. Water from little Denton Creek is what fills Lake Grapevine. Denton Creek is a tributary of the Trinity River. The Trinity River ends up in the Gulf of Mexico. So, the Inland Sea of Texas is connected to salt water eventually.
This may be the chair on a tropical beach that inspired the Kenny Chesney song.
The sun sets on Lake Grapevine. As the sun begins to fade we need to hurry back while we can still see the trail. And before the tide comes in.

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That concludes our visit to the Inland Sea of Texas.


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