Told by Kuma & Written by Lorraine Bossé-Smith

Since moving to Texas, I am constantly hearing how much bigger everything is here. I must concede, the bugs are definitely enormous! Yowsa. Curiosity got the best of me and my family about The Big Thicket, so we bounded our way over one weekend to check it out. Okay, I bounded, and my humans followed. They do have only two legs.

Anyway, The Big Thicket is actually a natural preserve full of all sorts of trees to pee on—85 different species, to be exact. It is home to 186 species of birds and 50 reptile species, including rarely-seen alligators. I was glad to hear that last part. Birds are great; alligators, not so much. The preserve is located northeast of Houston, off highway 10, exit 85A. We took the 69 north for about 30 miles, to the intersection of highway 69 and FM 420, where my humans deserted me momentarily to go inside the Visitor’s Center. Dogs are allowed on the trails on leash, but apparently we aren’t welcomed inside the buildings. I wore my hiking pack so we could bring out my “package.” We left nothing behind, other than my calling card: Kuma was here…and here…and here…

The park lives up to its name, as it is very spread out, with over 100,000 acres protected, and 45 miles of trails. We chose the Kirby Nature Trail, just 2.5 miles east of the Visitor’s Center. This trail has several loops, and we opted to go around the longest one, approximately three miles in length.

Thankfully, the weather was a bit cooler. I’m still adjusting to the Texas heat. The trail is dirt and has wooden bridges that meander through cypress, palm, and pine trees, so it offers plenty of shade. Signs point out the different types of plants, but I chose to sniff instead of read. I breezed right by a snake, so they are out there; be aware and be careful. The water levels were really low in the creek, but we still enjoyed looking for fish. Fishing is permitted, although we didn’t partake. Your humans would need a Texas license, and all state laws apply.

After our hike, we took advantage of the picnic area. Under the shade of trees, we enjoyed the sounds of nature and food. I love food.

Although relatively easy to get to, with ample parking once you arrive, The Big Thicket was a bit of a letdown for us. We didn’t see much difference between it and Huntsville State Park, other than it is free. But we didn’t explore all areas, so perhaps we will go again another time and try a different section. I’m always up for adventures, and even a not-so-thrilling hike is better than no hike at all! Get out there!

Kumaito (Kuma for short) is a multi-tan Shiba Inu, an ancient breed from Japan, who moved from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to Friendswood, Texas. He enjoys running almost every day with his mom, chasing squirrels out of his yard, playing with toys, pestering his brother Edmond, eating, napping…well, Kuma loves about everything and everyone! His mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, was kind enough to help him tell his story. She is the author of seven published books, writes for magazines on assignment, has been seen on national television, and inspires people to live healthy, balanced lives through personal training, life coaching and workshops. You can reach Kuma through Lorraine’s website: Be sure to visit Kuma Dog’s Facebook page at


You never know what he’ll be up to next!