Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cool Water Acres and Hill Country State Natural Area

It has been a lazy few days here at Cool Water Acres( ). I continue to enjoy quiet walks daily on the property, amazed by the beauty of the countryside and the diversity of wildlife although I regret that my pictures never do it justice. My new camera has a better zoom and higher resolution than the old, but even so, I’m finding that getting decent pictures of the deer and other wildlife I routinely see is nearly impossible. And the countryside, while beautiful, never seems so dramatic as to make a great photo.

I have to admit I’ve gotten quite lazy. I picked up a copy of Lonesome Dove which was around the house here and became engrossed in it. Amazing how it seemed so parallel with my travels. Near as I could tell the trail drive probably came right through Bandera. Then the mentions of Palo Duro, Wind River, Yellowstone and Montana and the wildlife they encounter had me traveling along with them in more than usual interest. The association of its characters with people I’ve known was eerie. And now, heaven forbid, I picked up a copy of Michener’s Caribbean and read the section about Trinidad. What a flood of memories that brought back from my days there. No more… I’m putting it back on the shelf right now.

Anyway, I’m including a couple of pictures from Cool Water Acres that I hope hint at a little of the beauty here.

I did manage to spend most of yesterday hiking in the Hill Country State Park, which is located near Bandera. It is unusual in that the terms in its donation from a private party require that it be kept as completely in its natural state as possible. So, no interpretive center, no big HQ. Just a couple of temporary buildings and a gravel parking lot, along with the largest land area of any state park. I hiked a combination of trails totaling about 4 miles leading up to a scenic overlook at about 1850' with near 360 degree views of the area( Trails 1, 5a, 5, 2 and 6). Again, I’m dissatisfied with my ability to photograph the area in a way that does is justice, but I’ve attached a couple of panoramic views stitched together while trying out the new feature of my camera. (Oops, apparently Blogger doesn't know what to do with stitched photos, so I've just put a few loose photos in.) I plan to spend some more time in the park, although I’m at a bit of a loss how to best see it. There is only one small area where parking is allowed and you apparently have to hike several miles of trails to get access to what appear to be the most interesting trails. In many ways the park is set up better for horseback, and indeed, I see more people on horseback than on foot. When looking on line, I found a blog (Shannon's Notebook)that does a much better job of revealing the spirit of the park than I can do, so I’m attaching the link here.

I appear to finally be making some progress on arranging for my December accommodations in Surfside, so perhaps I’ll soon have an opportunity to visit some friends in Houston once I’m that close.


nemattox said...

It's too bad about the stitched photos - that looks like it would have been a great panoramic. And, I'm glad you are making headway on your accommodations. It shouldn't be that difficult, you would think!


Duck said...

OK, OK, WHY am I the last to know about any of this? This has been going on since AUG!!?? I'm hurt.
We were actually much closer than u might have thought. Mike was working in Tuba City, AZ. Just an hour or so from Lake Powell. I flew up several times while he was there. We often visited the Paige, AZ area on the weekends. We kept hoping to take advantage of one of the houseboats, but the weather refused to cooperate. Oh well, it is quite beauiful.
Now that I hear u are in Surfside, I wonder if ur baby sister will get a visit? or at least a email would be nice. Mike is off for the month of Dec. and is ALWAYS looking for a hunting /fishing partner.
Glad to see u are taking life a bit slower and enjoying ur self.... Dont be a stranger!