Hill Country Adventure

Just a couple of days ago, in my PhotoFrenzy Catch-up post, I mentioned finding a new discovery in the Texas Hill Country. Due to the post being a “catch-up” and ending up being quite long, I decided to save this PhotoFrenzy for another day. Well, that day is today!

Ever since last fall when I was blessed to receive my first DSLR from my WONDERFUL PARENTS, I’ve had a deep desire to visit the Hill Country region of our Lone Star State. You see, the Hill Country is my favorite place in all of Texas and a place that David and I have visited for years. My son spent many hours in the backseat of our car, as a young child, as we traveled all through the Hill Country and made wonderful memories while visiting and discovering all types of fun places. So, naturally, when I developed an intense interest in photography, the first place I wanted to go was none other than the Hill Country in the Spring. There is no other place in Texas quite as beautiful with the blankets of wildflowers covering every open space – even the highways are decorated with these beautiful flowers on all sides.

This past weekend, being Resurrection Sunday, David had Good Friday off of work. We had planned to take that day and head south as far as we could toward the region knowing that it would be just a one day trip. We have never made the trip down, explored and returned home in the same day. But that is exactly what we intended to do in order to save money for our Colorado trip coming up next month. In making plans, I stayed constantly aware of the weather forecast. And guess what the forecast said? Rain and thunderstorms on Friday, some potentially severe! Now, I don’t mind rain and thunderstorms, but I had an experience last year where I was literally racing a tornado in my car (yes, I know you aren’t supposed to do that, but there was absolutely no place to pull over and get low) and that was something I just did not want to take a chance on again.

Yes, I was extremely disappointed but…oh well. There are other weekends to make a one day trip. And then my wonderful husband surprised me by taking off Thursday, which held a forecast of perfect, beautiful weather. And perfect, beautiful weather it was.

So we packed up, left before the sun came up and headed south. I had an idea of the route I wanted to take, so as David drove, I navigated. The first stop was the Zephyr Cemetery. David’s maternal grandmother is from this very small town just outside of Brownwood. After doing some research on, he discovered that his great-grandparents, as well as several other relatives are buried there. After searching and searching, we found quite a few. Being some of the first buried in the old, historic cemetery, they were not all in one area.

After a few photos, we headed towards San Saba. As we  drove past the town square, David suggested that we start taking pictures of all the old Courthouses that we come across. Who knows, perhaps I’ll create a gallery of old, historic courthouses.

Leaving San Saba and going towards Llano, we began to notice pecan groves everywhere! Acres and acres and acres of pecan groves. They were on both sides of the road and stayed with us for miles! Very soon, while driving through Goldthwaite, we passed a large metal building with these letters on the sign in front, So, if you need pecans, visit their website and you can have your own taste of Texas.

Next stop…lunch. We drove around the square in Llano and I realized, this is a place I would like to come back and not only visit but stay in! What a quaint little town and such history. If I hadn’t already had a plan in my head of my main destination, I would have really enjoyed staying there a little longer. But, I was a woman on a mission (although David didn’t know. He was just along for the ride. Well, Ok, he was driving but remember, I was navigating.) Quite a few very interesting places to stop for lunch, however due to being on a time crunch, we had a delicious, tasty, nutritious lunch at…Sonic – woohoo!

Now to my destination! Just a week before I found a talented photographer’s website and of all places, he lives in Austin. Yes, that is in the Hill Country. He had posted on his site about a place that in all of my years of visiting the region, had never even heard of. It is called Hamilton Pool and is a Nature Preserve with a beautiful rock grotto and waterfall. After discovering this natural wonder, I knew I had to visit it for myself. And so we did! Oh, is it beautiful! I really hope my photos, processed in HDR (which I recently shared stands for How Do you Really see things), give you a sense of the beauty. This grotto is huge and if you look closely in the photos, you will see a few with small people on the rocks. Well, the people aren’t really small but it gives you a true reality of just how big the grotto is.

After the short walk back to the entry area, we decided to go ahead and take the little more than half mile walk to the Pedernales River. And although it was not that far a walk, it was definitely a hike. But worth it! Such a beautiful area.

Once we huffed and puffed back up to the car, we saw there was another Travis County park just down the road and even though it was getting a little late, we were there, right? So, why not! So another short drive and stopped long enough to get a couple more shots of the river.

Goats are big business in this area of the state and as we pulled out of the park and onto the main road, we were greeted by this:

Did this short drive through the Hill Country quench my thirst for a Texas Hill Country Adventure? Absolutely not! Instead, it just whetted my appetite. Hmm, now when can I get back down there? I’m not sure but I will before the summer is up, that’s a fact.

The next morning, the day of the predicted severe storms, we woke up to find that it was cloudy but no rain. Oh, it did drizzle a little bit and then the sun began to peek out. And when it did, we loaded up the car and headed west. This trip, our little Lucy begged to go and David could not resist.

Although I had recently discovered the LBJ-Caddo Grasslands and spent an afternoon there, he had never been so off we go! Another beautiful day together exploring, snapping shots and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. We are truly blessed.

Until next time…

Let Your Light Shine,

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