LOW WATER CROSSING: This this crossing at 700 Springs is one of many
remarkably beautiful spots we found on the drive following just about every dirt road
searching for picturesque river crossings. This is what the Hill Country is all
Water Crossings and River Views in the Northwest Hill Country
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
Literary types may remember that "riverrun" is the
first and last word in James Joyce's Ulysses. His idea with that little
detail was to suggest life is non-linear. Being so, you can start anywhere and head
out to anywhere else and end up back where you started -- the proud participant in a
coherent adventure. That's the approach in this months newsletter.
ometimes you have to turn loose the reins and
give destiny its head. And that's what I was compelled to do on this trip.
From the get-go this was a girl-thing and I was allowed to ride along. So, there I was
sitting in the back seat of Nigel the Land Rover in Ben the Hog Dog's spot with no map
while Ms. Intrepid drove and Denise the Guide sat up front recalling from memory every
obscure and dusty back road in several counties. Wait! I need to back up just a mite.
This story actually began a year ago to the
day. That's when Ms. Intrepid's lady friend Sue Baugh at the Pedernales Electric
Co-Op in Junction promised to let her know when the next Annual Guided Tour to 700 Springs
would transpire. And they did just that and Ms. Intrepid conferred (or conspired) with her
girl-type friend Denise -- our neighbor when we lived back in Llano County where we were
to spend the night before headin' out on the adventure.
The plan, which I had no part of except to agree (or
surrender) to, was to take in the guided tour then trust Denise's memory and explore the
back roads of her old stomping grounds in Kimble, Mason and Llano Counties on our way
Normally, women folk take to maps cause they have no
natural sense of direction and it gives them absolute authority. Men on the other
hand are disinclined to be seen holding a map cause it makes them look ignorant, lost or
both. Now, on this occasion that theory was turned upside down, inside out and
On Saturday morning, after priming myself with two
cups of coffee and one for the road I followed the lead of the womenfolk as we lit out
from Denise the Guide's ranch house down the first of many dirt roads.
I didn't have a plan so I made one up. If I
couldn't drive and couldn't navigate and get us lost, at least I could load up on
pictures. So I rounded up enough floppy discs for my digital camera to shoot over 250
pictures. If I couldn't get something outa that I'd turn to another line of
work. Like posthole digging where you know success is only a few feet away.
there I was hunkered down in the back seat of Nigel the Land Rover caffenating myself into
conciousness while up front the womenfolk were going on about one thing and then
another. I don't think she'll mind me saying, Denise is a collector. Either
that, or she just shops alot and ends up with neat stuff that you can't eat or wear.
If there is a theme it is Texas. I didn't realize it before, but her best, most
prized collection isn't hanging on the walls or sitting on some shelf in her home.
It's the land and her memories brought together, and the only way she can share is to take
But there I go again, galloping ahead of my tale.
1: HEADIN' OUT / PAGE 2: 700 SPRINGS
PAGE 3: MIDDLE OF NOWHERE /
PAGE 4: THIS SIDE OF NOWHERE
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