Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Monday, February 9, 2015

Come and Take it Cannon - Monday, February 2, 2015

There's a small piece of Texas history, a cannon weighing about six pounds, which fired the first artillery shot for Texas Independence in 1835. It happened at the Battle of Gonzales in Texas and led to the annexation of more land to the United States than all the shots fired during the American Revolution. This is the kind of information we learn doing Volksmarches.

On Monday, February 2, Susan, Darren and and I took an hour-long drive from San Antonio to do a 5k (3.1 mile) Volksmarch at Palmetto State Park, known for its dwarf palm trees, followed by a 10k (6.2 mile) Volksmarch in historic Gonzales, Texas.

We made a short pit stop at a Rest Area. Normally, I wouldn't write about a Rest Area, but this one had very nice displays. A few minutes of our time was spent examining the exhibits.
Susan M. looking "captive-ated."
Darren and Susan amongst the Rest Area exhibits.
The day was windy, clear and cold. We bundled up in our heavy coats, scarves, and gloves, then set out through the woods and palmetto swamps on our Palmetto State Park walk. The San Marcos River cuts through the park, but we saw it only a few times as we walked through the woods and swamps.

Susan M. and Darren M.
Winter on a Palmetto State Park trail
A little cutie checking us out.

Palmetto frond
Palmetto swamp

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was active in Palmetto State Park from 1934 to 1937. Below is the Refectory designed by Olin Smith, an architect working for the State Parks Board, but funded by the National Park Service. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website:
"Carrying the design aim of indigenous architecture further than any other like-minded project, the remarkable native-sandstone, splayed-boulder refectory seems to grow right out of the ground. With the area's lush 'tropical' vegetation and unusual wetlands in mind, architect Smith designed the sandstone to appear as if emerging from the soil to form walls, thus blurring the distinction between nature and culture. To complete the illusion, the building’s first roof was thatched with palmetto fronds—reportedly cut and carried from Huntsville State Park."
Palmetto State Park's Refectory
In addition to the Refectory, the CCC built Park Road 11, a low water crossing on the San Marcos River, Water Tower/Storage building, residence (currently the park headquarters), barbeque pits, picnic seating, rock pool and retention dams, rock table, culverts, concrete picnic tables, and two sets of Entrance Portals (one stands on private land where park extension was not realized).

Water Tower/Storage Building built by CCC
San Marcos River low water crossing
Artesian springs
Artesian springs

When we finished our 5k walk at Palmetto State Park, we headed about eight miles southeast to the town of Gonzales, Texas.

As is the case with many Texas towns, Gonzales is rife with history. Darren wanted to put his last Texas historical marker stamp in his special Volksmarch booklet. He could have put 20 stamps in that booklet with all the historical markers we came across today.

Because it was lunchtime, we looked over the 10k Volksmarch route to see if we could do 5k of our walk, eat lunch at Running M Bar and Grill, and then continue the remaining 5k after lunch. Piece of cake, we could easily eat lunch in the middle portion of our walk.

The Gonzales Volksmarch starts at the old jail which is now the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center and Old Jail Museum. Susan and I mugged for the camera in front of the old jail.

Just call me Grumpy Cat
After signing in, we took off walking. Each county seat in Texas has an interesting county courthouse. Here is the Gonzales County Courthouse.

Gonzales County Courthouse
Gonzales was a wealthy town in the days of cattle barons and cotton kings. The walk went past many gorgeous historic homes.

The old oak trees were impressive!

We walked a lot of the Driving Tour route.
I love this home!

We had lunch at the Running M Bar and Grill. Fortified, we continued on to the Gonzales Memorial Museum. For a small museum, it sure packs a punch in the history contained therein. You can read more about it in my blog, "Exploring Historic Gonzales, Texas, on Foot." The last time we were at the museum, I did not notice the limestone walls loaded with fossils! Found 'em this time, I did.

Fossils in a limestone wall at
Gonzales Memorial Museum Amphitheater.
On the last part of our walk we found irises blooming in February and an old Mobil Service Station.

Old advertising on a historic Mobil Service Station.
Pegasus atop an old Mobil Service Station
It never did warm up, but we enjoyed the day anyway and learned a lot.

Thanks for taking the time to learn about a small town in Texas and one of our interesting state parks.

Travel Bug out.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tour :) I know we won't be heading that way anytime soon so your pics made up for our lost chances. You don't look good behind bars :_)


Please let me know what you think, your experiences, and constructive criticism to make this blog stronger.