David Johnson's Travel Blog
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High Fences

2014-06-12

tl;dr: I watch more bats, follow the Guadalupe River, see high-fence critters, and get hit by a storm.

My plan to sleep under the stars fell apart when I found one of those giant crickets (two inches long) crawling on my neck and the wind died and the mosquitoes showed up.

As suggested, I was up before twilight and ready for the return of the bats. It was impressive. I had the park to myself, so I could go right down to the lower observation deck and watch the bats arrive at 50 mph before spreading their wings and slowing down. You know the sound of burning plastic when it drips and sizzles through the air? Multiply that times a hundred and that's what you heard as thousands upon thousands of bats put on the air-brakes before entering their tunnel. The sound didn't pick up well, but here's a video:



I guarantee I am seeing more goats than cows in the pastures (and sometimes roads) I bike by. What's up with that?

I spent a good chunk of the day following the Guadalupe river upstream. This river is pretty cool with all of its cedars and bordering cliffs.

Around 3 in the afternoon it was getting hot, so I took a break in a drainage tunnel beneath Stowers Ranch Road. After a while I noticed some clouds moving in, so I hit the road again. Before long I could see a storm developing in the distance. I figured I'd miss it, and even if I didn't I could stand to get a little wet. I was wrong on both. I should have become even more concerned when folks actually started pulling up and asking if I would be okay, but I pushed on.

This is when I started pushing into High Fence Country. On either side of the road large ranches sported eight-foot fences holding back critters from all over the world. I attempted to take pictures, but most of those critters fled when I came into view. I did my best to identify those I did photograph. I suspect I failed.

I hit Highway 41 and started west with a slight rain (but big drops). The rain kept picking up. Eventually I spotted a church shelter off the road (and otherwise in the middle of nowhere) and decided to pull in there to unpack my rain gear. That's when the storm hit. It poured and haled and rained and lightninged and poured again and apparently threatened tornadoes for well over an hour. I stayed put.

Interestingly, this shelter is part of the Divide ISD school, one of the last remaining one-room school houses in the country. Although I see other small buildings of rooms, so maybe I'm wrong.

By the time it finally stopped raining, I would have only had an hour of daylight to find a place to camp, which would have brought me into an area with lots (relatively speaking) of houses. So I stayed where I was, although I found an open hall next to the church to sleep in rather than stay in the shelter where I'd be totally exposed to headlights. That didn't turn out so well last time.

Old Tunnel


good morning Texas


goats in the road


thanks Texas


Stonehenge II and Easter Island Head


Stonehenge II


cedars along Guadalupe River


Guadalupe River


because Texas


axis deer


aoudad sheep along Guadalupe River


Guadalupe River


actual cows along Guadalupe River


into the storm


lightning


scimitar-horned oryx


no idea


red deer and bison


red deer and bison


fallow deer?


gemsbok


waiting out the storm at Warren Klein School House


hail


sun beams and rainbow


sun beams and rainbow

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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