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Angelina National Forest

The sound of water

Editor’s note: Water. It creates scenes like this one and sustains life. But are we taking it for granted in Texas? See “Water for All” in the upcoming August issue of Texas Co-op Power. Learn about where our water comes from, where it goes, who’s leading the way in conservation efforts, who’s in danger of running out of water, and why we need to be concerned about future water supplies in the face of ongoing drought and a rapidly growing population. For now, kick back and imagine holding your hands under this cool, rushing waterfall so beautifully captured by Wimberley-based photographer and writer Laurence Parent.

Waterfalls in East Texas? There are a few, if you know where to look. To find the beautiful one pictured above, head for the Angelina National Forest between Lufkin and Jasper. The Angelina lines much of the shore of enormous Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Thick woods of loblolly and longleaf pine, oak, magnolia, ash and many other species blanket the gently rolling terrain.

On the average, high annual rainfall creates numerous creeks in the forest, but most are quiet with flat water. Boykin Creek, however, flows through steep enough terrain and an erosion-resistant layer of sandstone, the necessary conditions for a waterfall. Drive to Boykin Springs Recreation Area south of State Highway 63 and park under the shady pines by the small lake. Take the Sawmill Trail from the south side of the campground. An easy stroll of less than a mile will bring you to the small cascade on the creek. You’ll hear the rushing waters before you see the waterfall.

After visiting the cascade, consider hiking farther to the spooky, overgrown ruins of the old Aldridge Sawmill. Trees and vines are slowly reclaiming the concrete walls of the old industrial site. Energetic hikers can walk 5 1/2 miles to the trail’s end at pretty Bouton Lake, a good spot for fishing and canoeing.

Laurence Parent travels the world pursuing exceptional nature photos.