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The days have been flying by, and I am new to blogging.  Here are some updates on project happenings thus far.

DAY 1, ARRIVING AT HODGES GARDENS:  The first day of this landscape documentation/blogging project began with a site visit to Hodges Gardens State Park.  I spent about 3.5 hours onsite.  My goal was to become roughly acquainted with the area of focus (for this documentation project, the focus is the designed landscape area).  Although time involved and recommended method of orientation differs by site and project focus, a quick walk-through is generally recommended, if possible.

[As discussed in the ‘About’ page of this site, the goal of this summer project is not to complete a thorough documentation of the Hodges Gardens landscape.  Rather, I am highlighting significant, feasible points from the documentation process during a 10 week assignment.  The goal is to outline friendly, concise guidelines that are formed from real-world high (or low) points of this case study.  The backbone of these guidelines will be produced through this blog].

Again, this was a quick walk-through day.. more detail-focused visits would follow.

Since I wanted to be aware of how this designed portion fit into the larger, comprehensive landscape (900+ acres), I planned to begin with a quick drive around the loop road that travels some of the middle-outer regions of the state park landscape.  Consulting aerial images and any available maps certainly help with this larger scale orientation, too.

A few miles south of Florien, Louisiana I found the entry to Hodges Gardens State Park on my left—just a few yards after I passed the entrance.  The staff at Hodges (and the landscape character off the wide shoulders of U.S. 171) tell me that this road was expanded into a 4-lane, divided highway within the last 12 or so years.  Sparing you my opinion of this highway project, I will simply say that Park visitors should be on the alert for the entrance after passing the community of Florien…Or after passing Hornbeck, LA, if traveling north on 171.

After briefly viewing Texas Overlook—an outlook to the north and west at approximately 430ft above sea level—I was courteously greeted at the front entrance gate.  Following a brief ‘good morning’ and name exchange, the entrance gate staff member contacted a Kim Kelly.   Lacking much administration knowledge of the Park at this time, I stood at the entrance booth not realizing Kelley was park manager at Hodges.  Verifying that my professionalism hat was on for whatever lay ahead, I proceeded over to the administration office, and was kindly greeted by Kim just inside the door.  I quickly read her nametag, which indeed identified her as park manager.  This was a pleasant, awesome surprise!  After a warm welcome, brief orientation of the park, and sneak peek into a few samples from the Park archives, I began my tour of the Gardens.

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