Winding roads take you past big leaf maples, canyons, cliffs, and huge cypress trees as you travel from Lost Maples outside of Vanderpool, Texas down Highway 39 to Garner State Park. In the spring bluebonnets cover the fields and shoulders of the roads. During the summer you can swim in or float in the Rio Frio. In the fall the foliage is blazing with color.
Losing Yourself in the Texas Hill Country – Part 4
According to Wikipedia Lost Maples State Natural Area is a large, pristine area of beautiful hills and canyons on the upper Sabinal River in the Edwards Plateau Region of Texas. It is designated a Natural Area, rather than a State Park, which means the primary focus is the maintenance and protection of the property’s natural state.
After lunch at the Lost Maples Cafe in Utopia, Texas. Temi and I headed to Lost Maples State Natural Area. I was determined to experiment with my camera settings and get some more photos even without a good telephoto lens.
In PART ONE of this series, I wrote about the difference between the lens that Temi uses to get her awesome bird photographs and my frustratingly, inadequate (for birds) lens.
While Temi sat in the bird hut I chased butterflies and bumble bees that hovered around the star thistles.
BUTTERFLIES, BEES, AND WILDFLOWERS
I was very careful as I got in close to this bee. Look at the pollen on his legs. So while I was researching Star Thistles I discovered that you can purchase THISTLE HONEY. I haven’t tried it yet.
It only took about 20 photographs of this one butterfly to get one good image. I also photographed a large blue butterfly about a million times and there was not one good shot in the batch. As I followed some of the other butterflies around I began to pay attention to the different stages of the flowers maturity so I put together what I think might be a chronological order. Maybe.
This thistle reminds me of a Sci-Fi movie that I saw in the 60’s. It was called “Day of the Triffids”. That movie came out in 1962. The huge overgrown plants from a meteor shower would uproot themselves and walk around killing people. I had nightmares for weeks after seeing it. When I got up close and looked down at this guy, yep, those images came flooding back into my mind.
CAMERA SETTINGS: AV, f/5.6, ISO-100
Once again, I had my camera set on AV and manually adjusted my lens to get the wonderful blurred background. Happy dance!!!
This is what the photo looked like before I cropped it.
These beautiful planets are considered invasive and noxious. They can grow up to 6 feet tall with deep tap roots.
Just as I thought – TRIFFIDS!!!
I was so excited to get this shot with the purple iridescence of the wings on this butterfly or moth. Look at its tongue reaching into the thistle.
Temi took me to another area of the park.
Lost Maples has over 10 miles of trails, including a loop that takes you along the top of a 2,200-foot cliff.
It was too hot and humid for us 60+ and slightly out of shape gals. But we ventured out a little bit.
Here is Temi with her Nikon camera and telephoto lens. She is intently focused on one particular dragonfly. It was not cooperating with her.
While she waited on the dragonfly, I started photographing the trail. Note – I set my camera to AUTO.
There were rock stairways along the path. This would make an interesting painting, I think.
Lost Maples is like Texas Eye Candy.
There are so many beautiful breathtaking things to see. I definitely want to come back in October for the fall foliage.
Why is this so captivating?
This spot really touched my heart. It may be difficult to see what it is but it is a tree that has grown into the rock.
So I want to sidetrack for just a moment.
I had to think about what it felt like for the weight of that boulder to bear down on the little seed or sapling. Or did the seed just happen to take root right beside the split in rock? As the tree began to grow, did it wish that the rock would move over and give it some room or space?
The boulder is solid, immovable, and unchangeable. As the sapling grew it pushed its way up through the crack in the boulder. The rock didn’t budge so the tree had to change. It grew taller and stronger, its trunk filled the space in crack or cleft of the rock.
The rock is also a shelter and an anchor to that tree as the storms blow through the park. The rock holds the roots of the tree securely.
I think that will preach. You can just pause and think on this for a moment.
Jesus, Yeshua, is our rock. He is our hiding place. He is our shelter and our strong tower. 16 times in scripture God is referred to as “My Rock”.
“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4
Our last stop on this wonderful Hill Country adventure was Garner State Park. It is between Concan and Leakey.
Don’t you love the light playing on the path? The cypress trees will be glorious in the fall. I can’t wait to come back.
There were very few people in the water so it made it easy to get some great shots of just the water and trees.
The water was clear and a beautiful turquoise color. It was so peaceful. This was right before Memorial Day and the tourists were just beginning to arrive. From now until summer is over the beach will be full and the river will be covered with rafts, paddle boats, and tubes. I am so glad I got to see it like this.
“Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by…” Exodus 33:21-22
“He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me.” 2 Samuel 22:2-3
“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!” 2 Samuel 22:47
’til next time,