Thanksgiving week is upon us, and I have time to reflect now on the beautiful scenes I experienced traveling through the Texas Hill Country over the past few weeks. The fall colors were a bit of an anomaly for 2020 - vibrant and full color and worthy of celebration - a nice change.
In the western portion of our rolling hills near Utopia and Vanderpool, I found myself along the banks of the Frio River in Garner State Park. As usual, the water was cool and clear and the cypress along the river's edge were glowing in red and orange hues.
One night I made a trek up just above the Painted Rock Overlook to photograph the South Taurid's meteor shower. My research had shown the slow-moving meteors should appear over the iconic Old Baldie. While the meteors were not plentiful, I did see a few. Here is my favorite:
After my time at Garner S.P., I made the short drive to Lost Maples and enjoyed the brilliant bigtooth maples so full of color. In some places, the fallen maple leaves of red and brown completely covered the trail, making for a crunchy and fairy-tale like walk through the canopy of color.
From a portion of the trail high above the valley, the colors of the trees shined in the morning sunlight.
It was a week of quiet (except for the crowds, but those are easily avoided) and solitude. I was also lucky. I'd reserved these dates a month in advance knowing they parks would be full if I'd waited. And reserving so far ahead make the weather a wild card. Fortunately, I had blue skies with nice white clouds drifting by each day.
Closer to home, I always try to visit Pedernales Falls State Park. I consider this my "home" park since I do not live far away. I tried to go several times in November, but the weather did not cooperate. Finally, despite sketchy gray clouds on a Sunday afternoon, I grabbed my camera bag and, with my daughter tagging along, we headed out. Fortunately, blue patchy clouds appeared for a few hours, though the sunset was a bust. Still, there were some splashes of colors along the river.
I admit I was surprised by the vibrant colors. Central Texas has been in a drought for a while so I was not expecting much. Sometimes things just work out.
Now, if we can just make it to 2021, maybe things will start to improve!