wildlife wildflowers and waterfalls: Texas Hill Country Blue Bonnets and Wildflowers

wildlife wildflowers and waterfalls

because "...you can't invent more time." Lemony Snicket

Dan and Linda's Travel Journal

Thursday, April 07, 2011

 

Texas Hill Country Blue Bonnets and Wildflowers

There would be some (Dan) who might think a road trip to the big state of Texas just to see wildflowers is a bit crazy. I said, who cares if an idea is crazy, if it is fun.  This definitely was a fun trip. He agreed.

We had a reason to get as far as Plano, Texas.  That is our purchase of a small pop-up “Kwik Kamper” normally pulled by a motorcycle but for us, our Toyota Corolla.  There are times when we want to do a short road trip and would like to keep expenses down.  The Corolla gets over twice the mileage as our 3/4 ton Ford diesel.  Does that mean we can take twice as long a trip with the tent?  Well, tent camping is different from our fully self contained pickup camper but will be perfect for short trips.
  IMG_0148 IMG_0219  
One big difference with the popup tent is the landing site.  In our pickup camper, we almost never make reservations.  It seems we always slip in somewhere, even if it ends up being in a Wal Mart.  I have to think ahead more with tent camping especially on weekends.   We decided to stay in Texas State Parks and we were able to find a place all three nights with telephone numbers and maps in the helpful Texas State Park guidebook we picked up at the Welcome Center.
 
Another difference between tent and RV’n is the people.  We had the best time visiting with nearby tent campers each night.  RVers tend to disappear into their unit.  Not so the tenters.  Since we were in no hurry, we ended up visiting until 11:00  with a neighboring camper on Saturday morning.
 
State Park personal run a tight ship but retain that Texas friendliness.  They were quick to point out that their entire revenue is based on camping fees and, to our dismay, a head fee of $3 a person each night.  Still, I highly recommend staying at a Texas State Park.  All we stayed at were clean and well run.
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My favorite camping spot was Colorado Bend State Park.  I was intrigued with the fact that it was a rustic campground, limited to small RVs and tent campers.  It is located on a large bend in the Colorado River nestled at the bottom of straight up cliffs.  The picture above was just the beginning.  To get to this campground we drove over 13 miles of gravel--dust and free range cattle along the way.  As we rounded the final corner, we expected to see a nearly disserted campground.  Completely the opposite.  Two boys scout troops, numerous anglers and families with young children.  A kind lady agreed to let us share her spot  in the trees rather than our assigned spot by the Troop.    A shared bottle of the Red Caboose Winery’s Hobo Hooch and it was lights out for the night.
IMG_0179
creek on the gravel road to Colorado Bend Park
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upper end of the park where the river starts to bend.
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Spring fed creek flowing into the river and a Texas waterfall! The State Park Ranger recommended we not hike to the Gorman Falls a usually beautiful waterfall nearby because it was barely flowing from lack of rain.

Wildflowers
Bucket lists are overused so let’s just say I’ve wanted to see for myself Texas Blue Bonnets in bloom.  Best viewing time is between the middle of March until the middle of April.  We were in Hill Country the first day of April, perfect.  Only, this is a dry year, very dry.  One park ranger said it hadn’t rained in the Hill Country since August, 2010.  So, Blue Bonnets were sparse. 

There were several areas where we could see how it would be in a good year, though.  As we were leaving Clebrune State Park, we rounded a corner and there was a field filled with blue.  Making it even more beautiful was a young couple with their baby seated in the middle of them taking a picture.  We didn’t want to interrupt but I would have loved that picture. Despite the dry year, there were bright colors all around. 
IMG_0151  
 IMG_0224
 IMG_0221

 IMG_0207These two pictures are not wildflowers but I wouldn’t want to get too close to either.
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 Hill Country Towns
An unexpected charm in Texas Hill Country are small towns.  County seats thrive with their town squares and beautiful courthouses.  Other declining Texas rural towns remind us of some small Kansas towns.  Yet, they had a Texas feel, perhaps from a preconceived notion from movies, particularly The Last Picture Show and other western movies featuring covered boardwalks. 
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Front and Back view of courthouse at Meridian Texas.  Notice the American and Texas flag are flown at the same height.  We noticed this in other places as well.
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 IMG_0162 Gatesville TX
 IMG_0168 Lometa Texas
 IMG_0226 Paris Texas  Not in Hill Country, but a beautiful city north of Tyler Texas.
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 IMG_0164 We missed the Wild Pig Feed by only a few hours in Evant, TX.  Notice the sign says, “Pigs Provided.”  It’s a known fact that Texas has many feral hogs, but Kansas knows Feral hogs and how to get rid of them.

 IMG_0166 Only in Texas, where everything is bigger.
IMG_0171 Hey, a perfect name for our place. 
IMG_0176 The only business in Bend, TX that we could see.
 IMG_0228 Final picture—dogwood trees were blooming in Oklahoma on our way home.

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Wild Card Wine Trail Hermann Missouri May, 2012

St Patrick's Day, Weston Missouri March 2012

Alaska, 2011

Texas Hill Country Blue Bonnets 2011

Colorado - Hwy I-25 to Durango, Hwy 550 (Million Dollar Hwy) to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park - August. 2010

Butterfly Pavilion, Denver CO April 2010

Colorado, Phoenix AZ, and Palestine Lake near Tyler TX March 2010

Indiana Christmas Roadtrip December 2009

Symphony in the Flint Hills 2009

Missouri Chocolate Wine Trail February 2009

Oktoberfest Hermann Missouri, October 2008

Black Hills-Buffalo Roundup-Devils Tower Sept 2008

Cache La Poudre River, Routt National Forest and Colorado State Forest July 2008

Symphony in the Flint Hills 2008

Breckenridge Family Ski Vacation January 2008

Iowa and South Along the Mississippi River November 2007

Cherokee Land Rush October 2007

Missouri Wine Trail October 2007

The Great American Cattle Drive Ellsworth KS Sept. 2007

Overbrook Fair August, 2007

The Woodward Topeka KS July 2007

Symphony in the Flint Hills 2007

St. Louis April 2007

Cottonwood Falls Scenic Byway December 2006

Acadia National Park and New England States Fall 2006

Destination Phoenix January 2006

Kansas: Home along Hwy 56 January 2006

Canadian Fishing Trip August 2005

Missouri Trees and Wine October 2005

Kansas: Goodland to Home Hwy 36 July 2005

Breckenridge--Family Vacation July 2005

Flint Hills Barn Tour October 2004

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