We then headed off on our Sunday wildflower driving adventure. After getting stuck in a major traffic jam heading out of San Antonio, we then had clear sailing (sorry about the mixed metaphor) to Fredericksburg. As we were stopped on the Interstate 10, I was able to get a great photo of a field of bluebonnets in the median.
|Bluebonnets growing in the I-10 freeway median|
|Wildseed Farms bluebonnet field|
|Wildseed Farms Texas bluebonnets field|
|The fence of old boots|
|People have put their old boots along this fence|
|Bluebonnets amongst the pink granite|
|Texas prickly poppies in the wind|
|Bluebonnets and cacti|
|Texas prickly poppies in the bluebonnets|
|A dry wash creek bed|
|History of Enchanted Rock|
|Enchanted Rock from Ranch Road 965|
|Ranch Road 965 and bluebonnets|
|Enchanted Rock State Natural Area|
From Enchanted Rock we went back through Fredericksburg and decided to drive Old San Antonio Road to the Old Tunnel State Park. Be sure NOT to take your RV on Old San Antonio Road! It is very narrow and curvy, with steep drops to creek crossings. Whee! But not in your RV.
From May through October, the Old Tunnel State Park is known for millions of bats that emerge from the old railroad tunnel each night. At this time of year, though, it's deserted.
|History of the local railroad|
|Bat viewing info|
|Info about activities when bats are in residence|
|Seating to view the bats (in season)|
The park is dedicated to James Kiehl, a U.S. Army hero, who died in 2003 while defending the Army's 507th Maintenance Company during an ambush in Iraq.
The park has very interesting signs about the area's local history, flora and fauna. Bob said the sign about Texas leafcutter ants is the most interesting informational sign he has ever read.
Did you know leafcutter forager ants carry more than six times their body weight while moving quickly over significant distances? According to the sign, "A proportionate task for an average adult human would be to carry 660 pounds while running a marathon at a four-minute-mile pace."
Local farmers report the leafcutter colony at James Kiehl River Bend Park has existed there for over 150 years. Leafcutter ants are beneficial, they are not pests.
Texas leafcutting ants excavate underground nests that may cover more than half an acre and be twenty feet deep. They contain numerous chambers interconnected by tunnels. Colonies can survive for many years and contain over five million inhabitants! That is mind boggling.
History of the area included prehistoric Americans, American Indians, Spanish explorers, cowboys, military troops, and then European settlers. To the east, near the settlement of Sisterdale, was the ancient and well-traveled Pinta Trail. Another trail ran through an early 1850s shingle camp known as Brownsboro. The Brownsboro settlement included the building of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad.
In 1874, the San Antonio and Fredericksburg Narrow Gauge Railway Company was chartered to construct a line from San Antonio to Fredericksburg. There is even more history outlined at this little gem of a park.
We also learned some interesting tidbits about armadillos. When faced with crossing a body of water, because their heavy armor-like shell causes them to sink, they walk across the bottom, underwater. However, when up against a wider body of water, armadillos swallow enough air to inflate their stomach to twice its normal size. This increased buoyancy allows them to swim across.
In addition to the signs, people were down in the creek playing in the water. A father and his young daughter were headed down to fish.
|Old railroad bridge over the Guadalupe River|
|Old railroad bridge|
What a great day.