Yesterday was our hottest day in Texas. We considered putting on our air conditioner in the trailer but we knew a cold front was coming in and by the time we went to bed the temperature had dropped to 70 and was 60 by the morning. Check out the thermometer in our trailer in this picture. Not much difference from inside to outside. I spent most of the day at the pool.

Today Don and I went on a Tour of the La Sal Del Rey Wildlife Tract. This is a tour offered by the Valley Nature Centre with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. We had to be at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge at 7:30 AM. We were loaded in a 12 passenger van and drove with a park naturalist for an hour north to one of 3 natural salt lakes. El Sal Del Rey, Spanish for "Salt for the King" was first located by the Spaniards in 1697 and quickly claimed for the king. They harvested salt here that was hauled out by ox carts to the Gulf, into Mexico as far away as Mexico City, and to all the Missions in Texas. Salt was the first Valley export. In 1747, the first Spanish settlers started commercial salt harvesting and 1/5 was set aside for the King. Salt was harvested commercially until 1936, and production has recently been started again by oilfield companies to use the brine for drilling fluids (it acts as a lubricant).

The salt lakes became involved in important Texas court cases as state mineral laws and changed in the late 1860's from public to private. The lakes and mineral rights became private domain in 1866.

We were out walking on the sand like it was a thin coating of ice. It has not rained here for many weeks so with the dry conditions, more salt is visible. Some birds were visible - small birds on shore and a flock of 8 white pelicans were floating on the water. We did see some wild turkeys in the brush. Our tour lasted till 1 PM and then we walked around Santa Ana and actually saw more birds there. At this time there is a"hawk watch" in the park. Lots of hawks roost in the trees there at night and will fly up to the high warm thermal winds in the morning to travel north.


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