Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Landa Park and Panther Canyon Trail

I've visited Landa Park in New Braunfels several times, but never really spent the time to get to know it. Today I spent a few hours there and found a pretty amazing place. Landa Park is a 200 acre New Braunfels city park in the middle of the city. One of the most interesting features is Comal Springs. This amazing spring today flows over 275,000,000 gallons per day of fresh, clear water. Its maximum flow was measured in 1977 at over 355,000,000 gals per day. The water flows from hundreds of outlets from the Edwards Aquifer into streams which flow into the Comal River and a small lake in Landa Park. A hydroelectric plant nearby generates power for the city. As I walked along the river I could see rainbow trout swimming several feet down in the swift current.

The park has lots of monuments and plaques with interesting historical information about the area. For instance, did you know that the 1850 census shows that New Braunfels was the 4th largest city in Texas, or that it was one of the major camps along the Camino Real and later for the railroads. I'm sure lots of clean, clear water had a lot to do with that. And then there was Sesquecentenial Oak. It was a so designated in 1986 at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Texas Independence. It was a small sapling in about 1700, and legend has it that when bands of Indians of that time left camp they bent a sapling over to indicate to those that came later which way they had headed, thus the horizontal trunk shape.
Again, pecans everywhere. I picked up another pocketful at the park. They make great hiking snacks, but my hands are sore from cracking them against each other. Pecans were one of the staples for the early settlers as they moved into this area.

Also, I discovered that there is a nice trail, the Panther Canyon Trail which runs from the Park to New Braunfels High School. I hiked this quiet nature trail along a dry creekbed right through the heart of New Braunfels.

Pretty amazing for a city park.

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