WIMBERLEY: The first two
pics are downtown Wimberley (Nigel the Land Rover illegally parked in the second),
then a Blanco River crossing and Pioneer Town...
Bluebonnet Trail Preview
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
If you know where you're going and you've been there before you might not be
surprised. That doesn't mean you can't have a great time and maybe get lost just for fun.
And if you think getting lost is always a suprise, you haven't been keeping up with our
Anyway, in advance of Bluebonnet season, Ms. Intrepid, Nigel
the Land Rover and I explored our old stomping grounds in and around Llano County to scout
out our favorite wildflower routes to see how the plants were progressing.
after we mentioned what we were up to -- before, during or after the trip -- folks would
say, "Bluebonnets? It's way too early. Don't you know that?" (Well, sorta.
I once photographed a Bluebonnet in the snow on January 2, 1987.)
Then we'd explain that the January issue of Tourin'
Texas, being written February, was coverage of the Bluebonnet Trail coming up in late
March and ending in April. By then most folks forgot whatever it was they asked to begin
with, and their interest seemed to wane. And then I'd get this look. Like maybe I was
speaking in some lost language. And sooner or later I'd have to say, no, we ain't
publishing semi-annually or even quarterly. We publish monthly, kinda gradual-like.
If you're new to the area you need to know that, next
to hunting season, the Bluebonnet Trail is high on the Hill Country's list of things both
sacred and secular. If you live in that neck of the woods, no matter your line of work,
your well-being (sooner or later) hinges on these annual events, and both depend on the
Bluebonnets are finicky.
Kinda demanding in a needy sorta way. To really be at their best they'll need a good rain
and hard freeze in the Winter to crack their thick shelled seeds. Snow is even better but
you have better odds on a finding two needles in a haystack. Early Spring has to follow up
with a few good rains. When all needs are met the landscape is a natural cathedral. And
all along the roadsides you'll see folks kneeling down on a carpet of flowers having their
Llano County, the home of Enchanted Rock (the folks in Gillespie
County will dispute that), is the geologic center of Texas. Fact is,
The Rock is the hard core around which the land mass of Texas formed. And, just to give
everyone an even break, it is from this ancient granitic soil in San Saba, Llano, Burnet
Counties that stands out as prime Bluebonnet country. (Yes, some folks will dispute that
too -- disputes seem to be something of a national past-time these days -- but I stick to
some notions like a rusted lock, and this is one of them.)
Oh, yes. The trip... We lit out on a grainy overcast
morning. We had to. That or get rid of our calendars which we all know were devised to
make us share the same time frame. But calendars don't work on everyone as you may have
Wimberley. The small downtown area is packed tighter
than a cowgirl's bluejeans with all manner of trendy shops. We arrived around noon on
Sunday and there wasn't a parking spot to be found. Ms. Intrepid dropped me off to get a
few photos in the heart of town. Or, more precisely the rear-end of parked cars.
That done, we headed on toward Dripping Springs.
However, just across Cypress Creek in downtown Wimberley we came upon a sign to Pioneer
Town. Actually, Ms. Intrepid saw the sign and asked, halfway through a left-hand turn, if
we should check it out. This was no time for debate.
The drive took us
along a pretty stretch of the Blanco River. Entertaining the likelihood we were lost, or
maybe missed the turn, we were about to turn around when I spotted their sign. When we
arrived there wasn't a single car in the parking lot. What are they thinking? Does the
term "Sunday drive" ring any bells?
I know some folks don't hold to working on Sundays,
and preachers don't have any choice in the matter. But if you're in the tourism business
you might want to rethink that notion or go into another line of work.
Pioneer Town has the look of a movie set. Its
only drawback being the streets which are too narrow for a real cowboy town. But then
again it does what it set out to do -- capture the look and feel of what has long since
I can't leave the topic of Wimberley without mention
of Wimberley Market Days held on the first Saturday of each month from April through
December. If that's your reason for going to Wimberley you're in for a jam-packed event. If you're just
driving through, don't. Otherwise you'll get stuck in traffic and likely to miss the
birth of your children's children.
PAGE 1: WIMBERLEY / PAGE 2: PACKSADDLE COUNTRY
PAGE 3: LLANO / PAGE 4: CLICK
ROUTE / MAP
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