Monday, December 30, 2013

Winter Hiking in Lost Maples

It is very peaceful and quiet at my campground here at South Llano River State Park. I have not heard peace and quiet like this in a while. I am enjoying it. No traffic noise, no sirens, no barking dogs all night. Just peace and quiet. A few campers walk by on a stroll through the campground. I noticed one site of tent campers were made up on a family of three generations: the kids were there, their parents and then the grandparents. They were having a great time just hiking, biking and hanging out. It was chilly in the mornings and warmer in the afternoons.

This day, I took a drive of about 80 miles down to Lost Maples, a state park member that protects this relic canyon of maples and other rare species of trees. Usually jam packed with peepers during the autumn, the winter visitors are few and far between. I took the Maples Trail which is only an introduction to the other many trails of the park. This morning, it was a kind of dreary, wet and cool day but it did not dampen my spirits for a nice winter hike among a beautiful forested canyon that had beautiful springs and flowing river.

It very much reminds me of McKittrick Canyon in the Guadalupe Mountains.

The drive to and from this park from my campsite is some of the most dramatic country I have ever seen in Texas. Wow! I am glad I did not try to pull my camper up and over these canyon walls. The road was beautifully engineered and the beautiful canyons were thickly forested with all kinds of brush and trees. They all looked very healthy to me considering the drought that has killed thousands of our beautiful Texas trees.

After my return trip to Junction, I stopped in at a local eatery that had been recommended to me: City Sweets, which is located on the town square. It is a very clean and affordable cafe specializing in freshly baked breakfast fare. It also has fresh lunch items that fits vegetarians and burger eaters. A nice and refreshing treat.
City Sweets Cafe
After a meal, it was time to head back to the park where I still had no neighbors in my vicinity of the campground. It is my little acre, at least for today.
After a meal, it wamy little acre, at least for today.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Time To go South

I'm typing from a phone so forgive my choppy message. 

Christmas was unusually great again this year. My family really loves a fine family Christmas gathering and we all had a great time. 

I decided to take a trip south where it was forecast to be warmer over the next week. South Llano River State Park is my destination. It was a perfect drive and I enjoyed a nice lunch at Lum's BBQ in Junction. They have made some welcome improvements. Very nice. 

I checked in to an almost empty campground and the greeter was helpful in getting me a site I would enjoy. 
More to come.

I hope you enjoyed a good Christmas, too. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ledgewater & Alamo Village: Gone With The Wind

It is always discouraging when some favorite haunts close down for business and you no longer can go to visit them. A couple of these in close proximity of each other were some of my favorites to camp and visit.

Ledgewater campground. Click to enlarge
Ledgewater, a private ranch down near Rocksprings, Texas, was a great place to escape with my camper. Its few campsites were spread out far and wide and had all the hookups you needed. This was not your traditional campground layout. The spots were designed to put a camper under nice big shade trees and always near a stream. As you can see in the photos, my neighbors were a long ways off and that was the nearest they could be.

 Alamo Village, down the road a ways from my camp spot, was lots of fun to visit when I was young. It was the movie set location built by John Wayne's company for the filming of the 1963 film, "The Alamo." It has served as a movie set and tourist attraction since then, kinda like Tombstone, AZ. My most recent visit was to be my last as the owners passed away and running the place was expensive and so it closed its gates in 2010.

This town has seen better times.

Can you imagine John Wayne leaning up against a post?

The campground business here was very informal. There is no traditional check in area. You just simply pulled in to the campsite of your choice and set up camp. It was two days before I saw anyone that looked like they owned the place and even then it was I who went over to pay for my site. The owners were just out fixing things and they happily took my money and told me to stay as long as I like and if I stayed longer than what I paid for, don't worry about it. They were wonderful and accommodating hosts.
They even had staged shootouts and other side line attractions.

There were only a couple other families staying during the time I was there.

Both of these attractions are now gone with the wind and no longer allow visitors. Even their websites are gone. It is too bad but that is they way things go. At lease we have good memories of these times of not too long ago.

UPDATE: Further homework on my part shows that Ledgewater is still in business and welcomes folks from everywhere. Their website is . I later called to check on their status and they are open but to call ahead because they sometimes are closed. Check it out!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013