Posts Tagged ‘things to do in Texas’

 “These is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” – Ernest Hemingway.

The trail to the top begins by crossing a tiny creek. While the landscape was brown toned, a result of both drought and winter, it still had an enchanting beauty. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Favorite Places

I suffered from writer’s block yesterday. I usually attribute this to procrastination, specifically of putting my bum down and my fingers on the keyboard. Almost always, if I do that, I find myself cured of the disease writers dread.

But when I came across Hemingway’s quote this morning, I realized this time the block was a result of my wanting to convey to you what my Friday scramble to the top of Enchanted Rock near Fredricksburg, Texas, meant to me.

And I didn’t want to tell you the truth, that I wasn’t Wonder Woman.

As hikes go, the trail to the top of this monadock, or kopje as they would call it in Africa, was just a bit over a half mile, and with an elevation gain of only about 425 feet.

I lost sight of these markers a couple of times and had to backtrack. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Until recently I wouldn’t have considered it much of a challenge. But age caught up with me last year, and a couple of painful, physical problems slowed me down to only short, mostly flat walks.

I cried, I ranted, I raved – and thankfully I didn’t accept my regular doctor’s words “that pain was just something that came with age.” While I knew there was truth in his words, I didn’t feel that time had come for me.

A rehabilitative specialist agreed, and two weeks after beginning physical therapy, I was practically pain-free again. My scramble following the ill-marked trail to the top of Enchanted Rock was the most challenging thing I had done in a year. I was out of condition and the hike up was slow-going – but I made it.

Standing on top, with the Texas Hill Country landscape laid out before me, let me indeed feel Mother Nature’s magic.

No footprints to follow, just keep going upward I told myself. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The hermit thrush that flew in front of me, the jumbled rock patterns that to me were as awesome as a museum painting, the awesome robin’s-egg-blue  sky above with wispy clouds drifting past, and the feel of the wind on my perspiring face were all part of the enchantment.

This is what I needed to tell you.

With the Internet at your fingertips, you can learn all the geographical, historical and even mystical facts about Enchanted Rock at your leisure. Facts come with their own magic, but you don’t need me to tell you those.

I know the day will come when my body will no longer take me to the places I want it to go. But thankfully it was not this day.


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 “Because they are primeval, because they outlive us, because they are fixed, trees seem to emanate a sense of permanence. And though rooted in earth, they seem to touch the sky. For these reasons it is natural to feel we might learn wisdom from them, to haunt about them with the idea that if we could only read their silent riddle rightly we should learn some secret vital our own lives …” – Kim Taplin, “Tongues in Trees,” 1989

I walked this path in the Lost Maples State Natural Area in search of a golden-cheeked warbler and was rewarded with peace and beauty that enriched my thoughts. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Favorite Places

Located in Texas’ Edwards Plateau, Lost Maples State Park has a magical aura. It’s a place where, besides seeing a golden-cheeked warbler, one can see physical evidence of the past. When I visited it, I felt like I had dropped into one of Mother Nature’s special places.

A rocky climb to the top of an Edwards Plateau Ridge in Lost Maples provides evident that this land once lay beneath a sea. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Lost Maples got its name because the maple trees there are far from other maple forests. While it’s most visited when the maple trees wear their brightest fall colors, I find it a place of calm beauty anytime of the year.

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A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man (or woman) contemplates it, bearing with him (her) the image of a cathedral.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Devil's Waterhole at Inks Lake State Park. -- Photo by Benjamin Bruce


Travels With Maggie

When I sit for awhile, I check out nearby scenic landscapes and interesting places to visit. One of these within easy driving distance of Harker Heights, Texas, where my RV is now resting up, is Inks Lake State Park. It’s just 69 miles away, perfect for a day’s get-away when wanderlust gets the best of Maggie and me.

It’s a special place to me because I camped there with my children in the 1960s. The park was very undeveloped at that time, as were we as campers. Instead of the high-tech tents and camping equipment that eventually found their way among my possessions, we used blankets as sleeping bags and tin foil as cooking equipment.

The park today is quite amenable to campers, with electrical hookups for RV-ers like me and a few cabins for those who are not into tents and sleeping on the ground. It also has nearly eight miles of developed trails which I love to explore.

In spring, this Texas recreation spot park is filled with wildflowers, including Texas’ famous bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush, and twittering birds. In winter, I found it a peaceful place where the landscape’s pink, granite rock formations bared their soul.

It’s reasonable to say that both the park and I have come a long way in the passing years.

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