Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Garner State Park

Medina Highpoint Resort
Medina, TX
November 13, 2017

Garner State Park had its beginnings back in the 1930s when President Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to help the unemployment crisis. The CCC Company 879 developed Garner between 1935 and 1941 using native limestone and bald cypress to construct buildings.  The park opened in 1941 and was named for John Nance Garner, a lawyer from Concan, TX ( where the park is located ).  He  later became the 39th Speaker of the House and served as  vice-president of the United States with President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1941.

Today this gem of a park hidden away in scenic Texas Hill Country covers 1,774 acres with 2.9 miles of the Frio River winding its way through.

 Activities include RV camping and primitive camping, hiking birding, biking, fishing, canoeing, swimming and dancing.  Yes, dancing...since the 1940s folks have been gathering there on summer evenings for a jukebox dance. 

Our visit was under cloudy skies with no rain in the forecast. We were hopeful the sun would show itself at any minute...that didn't happen.  Pictures were a challenge !
We set out on the Frio Canyon Hike...traversing the prairie 

the woodlands...

...and finally high above the Frio River.

We enjoyed lunch in the primitive camping area.  These very nice screened in porches with tables inside sure are nice at the tent sites. 

Lunch entertainment...

After lunch, we hiked the Blinn River Trail.  We aren't sure how it got this name as it follows the Frio River...up close and personal ! 

 Another beautiful park and great day is in the memory bank.  

 The roads we have traveled on (usually a Farm Road or a Ranch Road) have been scenic, curvy, and hilly...well, it is Hill Country...and a delightful adventure in itself.  

Until next time...


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Birds, Beer and Boerne

Medina Highpoint Resort
Medina, TX
November 9, 2017

Joe and I have been dodging chilly, rainy days this week.  After such a beautiful day on Monday, cloudy skies, drizzling rain and chilly temps moved into the area putting a damper on our outdoor fun.  Facing another dreary day, Thursday, we decided to make the 45 minute drive to Boerne, a small town settled by German pioneers in the 1840s.  

Today, the small town feel of Boerne invites visitors to relax and enjoy nature, brews, homemade sweets, and quaint historic buildings filled with all kinds of treasures.

Our first stop for the day was Cibolo Nature Center & Farm.  Friends of Cibolo (a non-profit organization that relies on donations) purchased 62 acres of historic farmland which included the Heff ranch house established in 1852.  

Maintained trails include Marsh Trail, 

Woodlands Trail, 
Cibolo Creek Trail, 

and Native Texas Prairie Trail.  
The pocket prairie contains varieties of tall grasses.  One variety is called Turkey Feet (Big Bluestem Grass) because of the shape of the seed heads.  It grows between 3 to 10 feet tall.    

It's been such a long time since we have been birding. It was wonderful to be there and to have such an awesome welcoming committee.  

The picture is a little fuzzy, but I couldn't resist the look on this Black-crested Titmouse.  I love his 'do!
One of my all-time favorites...American Robin.

New for me bird...a juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

The handsome and showy Cardinal.  I saw the female several times hiding in the branches but couldn't get a good picture.

A pair of Lesser Goldfinch (Texas form according to All About Birds) 

Finally, the House Sparrow had a turn...

...but not for long !

Cold hands and starving, we were off to The Dodging Duck Brewhaus & Restaurant. Thanks for the recommendation Graham ! 

We each had soup and salad from the lunch menu.   I had the Dodging Duck Beer Chili with Heart of Boerne salad (hearts of palm and artichoke, mixed greens, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, bleu cheese, and bacon).   It was OMG delicious and fresh, especially the homemade celery seed vinaigrette.  

The Harvest Duck Pale Ale was dang good too ! 

The Dodging Duck is on River Street.  On a warm day, it would be fun to sit out on their patio and watch the folks and ducks enjoying a stroll along the River Road Park.

From there it was a walk on Hauptstrasse...Main Street in German.  We weren't shopping, but  the quaint shops housed in historic buildings have a variety to offer with catchy names like, Milk and Honey, Fly Paper, Fickle Pickle, Tall Pony, and Calamity Jane's Trading Company.

Even with the overcast skies and chilly temps, we enjoyed exploring Boerne.  if you haven't been, its worth a stop.

Until next time...