When we stepped out the door of our 5th wheel this morning, it was cold, windy and looked like it was raining to the north of us. We started out a bit later because of the weather, thinking it might improve. We both wore long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a coat. As we headed to the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center, lowering skies made it look like rain was imminent.
At the nature center, we signed in for the walks then headed out on the 10k trails dressed for winter. I decided not to bring my umbrella or my hiking poles. As we set out, we were in mesquite trees, but quickly emerged into prairie grasses and yuccas. It was easy to imagine buffalo once roaming these high plains.
|Volksmarch trailhead and bundled-up Bob|
|Engelmann Daisy (Englemannia pinnatifida)|
|Aster (Machaeranthera tanacetifolia)|
|Whorled milkweed perhaps?|
|Enjoying the great outdoors|
|Wildcat Bluff Nature Center grasslands|
|Trail at the nature center|
|Cool rocks that fell from the bluff|
|Susan M. on the Windmill Trail|
(She is our new Southwest Regional Director
and my best friend.)
|Bob and I by the windmill|
|Carlen and Joanne F. (She is the former |
Southwest Regional Director)
|Painting on floor in Wildcat Bluff event center|
|Bob waiting for something to happen... |
lunch after the walk.
|Sebastian and I|
|Gracie with her relatives|
Our reason for going to Alibates Flint Quarries was to find out what this national monument could tell us about flint quarries in this part of the country. I grew up in California, Oregon, and Washington, so when we talked about flint, it was black volcanic obsidian glass. Spear points and other tools were usually made with the black obsidian.
At Alibates Flint Quarries, agatized dolomite was quarried from the ground by the Native Americans and used for weapons and tools. On Mohs Hardness Scale it is about 2/3rds of the way up the chart for hardness. Dolomite flint has many different colors, what we saw ranged from tan to light orange to dark brown.
|Alibates Flint Quarries Visitor Center|
|Mohs Hardness Scale - Alibates Flint is very hard|
|Info on spokeshaves (tools)|
|How flint drills and awls were used|
After we finished in the visitor center, we took a 1/4 mile nature walk around a hillock. We saw so many grasshoppers!! The hills have beautiful red soil.
|Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument|
|Butterfly or moth?|
The park ranger told us about Spring Canyon Birdwalk boardwalk. It was quite disappointing, probably because it was a hot afternoon and most birds are out early in the morning (according to the ranger). The boardwalk was very short and went to two little ponds.
|Sanford Dam from the road below it|
|American coot at Spring Canyon pond|
|Pond area at birdwalk|
|The boardwalk - the whole length of it|
|Sanford Dam spillways|
|Picnic area at the pond below the dam spillway|
|Lake Meredith viewed from the top of Sandford Dam|
Travel Bug out.