Hill Country Rivers ~ The Sabinal

Sabinal ~ River and rock

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.

The Sabinal, flowing

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.

Solitary Sabinal seeds

 

Comments always are welcome.

Nature’s Ornament

 

While humans decorate their homes for Christmas, nature’s been busy decorating her world. On a recent trip around the Willow City Loop in Gillespie County, hints of the holiday season were everywhere.

Reddened by cold, this pad from a prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri) would look especially festive hanging from a live oak. Unfortunately, bringing it indoors to hang alongside more traditional ornaments on a fir or a spruce would be ill-advised. Some of those spines are two inches long, and believe me — they’re more Scrooge than Santa!

 

Comments always are welcome.