Many decades ago, I associated only two rivers with Texas: the Red, which marks a portion of the border between Oklahoma and Texas, and the Rio Grande, our border to the south.
Over time, I discovered how river-rich the state actually is, and how striking differences among our rivers can be. My favorite hill country rivers — the Frio, Sabinal, Guadalupe, and Medina — are nothing like the broad, muddy Brazos and San Bernard flowing through my southeast Texas neighborhood.
The Sabinal, a favorite feature of Lost Maples State Natural Area, rises from springs percolating through the limestone rock common there. After flowing through steep canyons, the river eventually joins the Rio Frio; in turn, the Frio flows into the Nueces, which ends at Corpus Christi Bay.
Fed by a variety of creeks, the river traverses flat to rolling terrain; the surrounding sandy and clay loams support a variety of hardwoods and grasses. Once paralleled by a well-known Indian trail designated ‘Comanche Trail’ on early Spanish maps, the river originally was known as Arroyo de la Soledad, or ‘Stream of Solitude.’ Solitude still can be found there, as well as a wealth of natural beauty.