TEMPLE – When we first moved to the Fort Hood area two years ago, we were looking for a “forever” home. After 20+ years in the Army, my husband is ready to retire and we found the perfect home in west Temple. Anyone who has purchased a house knows to also take the surrounding areas into consideration. We were excited to see the city of Temple was building a huge park within a mile from our house, which sealed the deal for us. 

Crossroads Park has a large softball complex, tennis courts, batting cages, soccer fields and a large walking trail. While there’s a walking trail within the main part of the park, my family enjoys walking at Pepper Creek Trail, which is located near the soccer fields. The trail is almost completely shaded, which is perfect during a hot summer day. My husband came here about a month before the rest of us, so he was able to explore various trails in the area, but Pepper Creek Trail has remained his favorite.

Pepper Creek Trail is one of 23 trails in Temple and is quite popular for people of all ages. You’ll see people walking, jogging and biking, but even with a lot of people on the trail, it’s very quiet and relaxing. When I went Saturday, there were a lot of people playing disc golf. The game follows the same sort of rules of golf – the person with the lowest number wins. Instead of trying to aim the disc into a hole, the goal is for the disc to land inside a disc golf basket. The baskets have metal chains in which to aim the disc toward. If the disc hits the chains, it causes the disc to drop into the basket below.

We are ordering some discs so we can start playing, but it looks like it might be tricky to play. Most of the baskets are located in wooded areas, so you have to have great aim to avoid hitting trees. I guess if it was all open fields, it would be too easy.

The 12-foot-wide trail is clean and very pretty, with two waterfalls and bridges along the route. Even though the trail is in a wooded area, the trees and grass are well-maintained. We often see birds, squirrels and even rabbits on the trail, but on Saturday there was a deer. Seeing a deer in the wild always excites me, but they usually run away as soon as I start to take a photo. This one, however, seemed to not even notice me, so I was able to take several photos. I only brought my short lens on the trail with me though, so no close-up photos.

If your family enjoys playing Pokémon Go, there are several gyms and Pokéstops along the trail. We even caught a Lapras, which is an extremely rare find in the game. The trail is a great place to walk around and hatch eggs in the game.

Crossroads Park is located on Prairie View Road, between Airport Road and West Adams Avenue. You can access Pepper Creek Trail by following Prairie View Road to the southeast side of Hilliard Road.

I was happy to find out the city of Temple will be shooting off its annual Independence Day fireworks at Crossroads Park this year. The city is hosting a 4th of July All-American Drive-in Fireworks Show at 9 p.m. Saturday. There will be parking throughout the park and the surrounding areas to enjoy the fireworks. For additional information, visit https://www.templetx.gov/199/Fourth-of-July-Fun-Fest.