VIEWS OF THE HILL COUNTRY: The first photo in the series of
Whites' Crossing is typical of many spots where the photos for this issue were taken. The
next scene is along the Llano River near 700 Springs, and the last two were taken long the
FROM 700 SPRINGS
Where the Llano River Begins
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
Anyone who's ever held a camera knows there are some scenes
you just can't capture. 700 Springs is one of those places. You think you've nailed
it till you see the results which have transformed themselves from gold to ashes in the
s. Intrepid and Denise the Guide both had a
fair handle on the backroads in this piece of Texas which isn't always a good thing.
We had no more than turned onto some paved road before it was back to dirt again. I
don't mind dirt roads as such, but them rubboard grooves that traverse most of 'em make
coffee drinkin kinda perilous, even with a clamp-on lid. If I had clamp-on lips to
hitch on to that cup I mighta been okay. As it was, drinking turned into a matter of
timing and I was too sleepy to be at my best. I took comfort in the fact that the
coffee what landed between my legs on the second dirt road would evaporate before I had to
walk around amongst strangers.
Did I mention
that the weather was colder than a well-digger's posterior? Well it was and in a way
the coffee felt kinda good. Just about the time I was speaking in coherent sentences we
were in Junction. Understand, I didn't know exactly where we were going beyond
Junction and 700 Springs wasn't on any maps.
Our first stop was the PEC Co-Op where the women folk
availed themselves of the ladies room and I sought out the male counterpart in the hopes
there was one of them air-powered hand dryers. (No such luck but my appearance was
passable by then.) After Ms. Intrepid, Denise the Guide and the women-folk at the
co-op yammered a spell we headed for courthouse on the town square where everyone was to
We were about a half-hour early so I wandered around
in the cold and gale-force wind noticing things. Like the clock on the courthouse
square was some four hours and ten minutes fast even though it was working. And then
I realized there were pecans laying all over the place. I grabbed up a few and commenced
fixing my pecan breakfast. Wish I hadn't a done that. The first one I tried was far
and away the worst pecan I ever bit down on. While spitting it out -- trying to be
as civilized as one can during such moments -- I looked up and saw a woman walking her dog
amongst the trees. So much for free breakfast.
Cars started converging from everywhere, probably 50
or more in all, and before long we were on our way. As we headed for The Springs the
line of vehicles stretched beyond the hilly horizon in both directions. You can
imagine the consternation of the few ranchers who had the misfortune to try venturing into
town and having to wait as we passed before them like a funeral procession for some
700 Springs was
west of Junction just over the Edwards county line and down another dirt road. When the
road turned back on itself and into the wind you could taste the dust in the air.
That was a far sight better than that pecan which clung to taste buds like tree bark.
Once all of the people parked all orderly like in an
open field near the river they began congregating along the bank waiting for the program
to commence. Did I mention the wind coming off of the river was kinda cold? After
about fifteen or twenty minutes we were back in the comfort of the Land Rover and off on
the adventure Ms. Intrepid and Denise the Guide planned -- or so I was led to believe.
We weren't the first to leave early and my hat is off
to the hardy souls who endured the event. Actually, my hat was off several times
that day cause of the gale force winds even though my hat was screwed down so tight
circulation to my brain was down to a trickle. But, hey, no one noticed. I learned
later that, according to legend, Bonny and Clyde hid out in these parts. I can't
imagine what it was like back then.
The nearest thing to civilization between 700 Springs and Junction is a spot on the map
called Telegraph. There are just two buildings, only one of which is open to the public,
and I doubt either of them were there when the legendary outlaws were busy visiting every
town in Texas just so folks would have something to talk about years later when all
discussion concerning the weather, ailments and the price of beef ran its course.
PAGE 1: HEADIN' OUT / PAGE 2: FROM 700 SPRINGS
PAGE 3: MIDDLE OF NOWHERE /
PAGE 4: THIS SIDE OF NOWHERE
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