Wending our way through Texas Hill Country at 6:45 a.m. (dawn) is a mighty fine way to see deer (and a skunk, I'll get to that later). On US 281 heading north out of San Antonio, all the way to Blanco, we didn't see any deer. Boom! Get off the main highway onto FM 1623 and the wildlife seemed to know it was safer to venture into the road.
Our first close encounter was with a skunk. I saw it in the road and avoided a direct hit, missing it with all four tires. The skunk, however, blasted the undercarriage of the car with a direct hit of Eau de Skunque. Whoooeeee, my Escape pod didn't Escape that. I see a car wash in my future!
We followed FM 1623 for 20 miles, seeing deer along the road and off in the trees. One young buck raced along the right-hand side of the road. It looked like he was going to leap in front of the car at any second. He finally took off over a fence to the right.
In the small community of Albert, we turned north on Lower Albert Road, a very small, paved farm road. Along this road is where deer congregated. A doe and two fawns bounded across the road in front of us. Deer watched us from the fields and from the sides of the road.
As we drove closer to US 290, there was a very high fence to our left. There, scared to pieces, was a young buck. He turned and bolted along the left shoulder of the road, knowing the fence on his left was too high to jump. We clocked him at 30 mph. We stopped for a bit to give him a chance to cross the road and jump the lower fence on the other side, but he continued running on the left side. He then slowed to 20 mph. We were getting very close to US 290 and I tried to get the deer to cross the farm road. While I was watching him (because he finally crossed in front of me), Bob yelled, "Watch out! There's another deer." I put my brakes on as a doe skidded across the asphalt in front of the car. Luckily, I did not hit either one. Whew.
Then I watched as the frightened buck crossed US 290. We thanked our lucky stars that US 290 did not have any cars coming or going just then. He made it to safety.
We took US 290 past a Rest Area, one mile west to Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Site where our Volksmarch started. After signing in, I needed to use the restroom before our 6.2 mile walk. The restrooms at the park were being cleaned and the ranger cleaning them would not let me use them.
So, back in the car to the Rest Area. As it was only a mile away, it wasn't a big deal. As soon as we got back and exited the car, the ranger came out and said, "You can use the restrooms now." All the other people who were in the parking lot ready to walk applauded.
At 7:30 am we were finally on the path. The walk took us past the Visitor Center, which wasn't open yet, past a statue of LBJ and to the Sauer Beckman Living History Farm (also not open for the day).
|Statue of LBJ|
What's he pointing at? LBJ asked that his statue be in the State Park (now a National Park) pointing at the Pedernales River. He once said, "My first memories are of this river." He was born and raised in the Texas Hill Country and always remained close to it saying, "I feel at home here."
|Limestone is a key building element in Texas.|
|Path to Sauer Beckman Living History Farm.|
|The ram has gorgeous horns.|
When the Sauer Beckman Living History Farm is open there are rangers in period dress doing chores the original inhabitants did, including cooking, canning, making soap, feeding the livestock, and cleaning.
|Sauer Beckman Living History Farm|
From the Living History Farm, we walked through the parking lot where we had started and onto Ranch Road 1. Our next stop was Danz Homestead. The Danz's had a sad history. In 1845, hundreds of hopeful German immigrants came to the Texas Hill Country in search of land, political freedom and adventure. Johann "Casper" Danz, his wife Elisabeth and their baby boy Frederick were among them.
Tragedy struck the Danz family many times. Soon after arriving in Fredericksburg, Elisabeth and her son died from an epidemic. Casper's second bride died during childbirth. In 1857, Danz married his third wife, Johanne Dorothea Bock. The third time was a charm and the family flourished with 11 children. In 1860, the couple bought the land where we were today and their descendants lived there until 1966 (106 years!) when the land became a park. It doesn't say where they moved at that time.
You can read more about the sites at Danz Homestead on the plaque below (click to enlarge).
|Bob in front of Danz Cabin.|
The photo below shows how the home was constructed. There used to be a stairway leading to the upstairs door on the outside of the rooms. This allowed more room INSIDE with no staircase taking up precious space.
After the Danz Homestead we walked quite a way along Ranch Road 1. We enjoyed being next to the Pedernales River. I was particularly amused by some signs we saw along the road.
Here are photos from the rest of the walk.
|Trinity Lutheran Church|
|Anyone recognize this plant?|
|Here's another photo, same type of plant as above.|
|Junction School House where LBJ first went to school.|
|Interior of school house.|
|Pedernales River (quite low).|
|A Texas longhorn.|
The walk ended back at the Visitor Center parking lot. Our time for 10K was two hours. Temperature when we finished at 9:30 a.m. was 95 degrees. Today is going to be a scorcher. Good day to be in air-conditioned comfort.
Bob is volunteering at a car show at Random Event Center in Boerne (pronounced burn-e) today. They are expecting 40-80 cars. Three food trucks will be there, and a live band will play this evening. Bob left at 12:30 p.m. and expects to be there until midnight. The car show starts at 6 p.m. awards will be at 10:30 p.m. If he's not too busy I asked him to take some photos with his phone for the blog.
As I've been sitting here, hummingbirds, doves, yellow jackets, a squirrel and a woodpecker have all been active outside the window. Here are some photos of the action...
|Northern cardinal peeking through the feeder.|
|White-winged dove and Northern cardinal.|
That's it for today.