Thursday, January 24, 2013

P4W2 Day 18 Campwood - Kerrville, TX 95 miles

Today was a markedly different day than Day 17.  I entered the Texas Hill Country first thing in the morning.  It was very pretty land.  The limestone rock give it the appearance of the
Kentucky hills  - the famous bourbon country - south of Louisville. I was routed on very quiet, litter-free roads that were often very steep.  My goal was not to stop on any of the hills today after a tough slog yesterday.  I was only
partially successful:  I got off the bike going downhill at one point, fearful that a rough road and a steep descent was a potential
recipe for a broken something or another (but probably nothing I haven't broken before).  Keeping the bike from getting away from me was a chore all unto itself on the downhill
pictured here.  And the weather today:  on the steep ascents I searched out the shade today.   80 degrees in mid-January!  What a change from a week earlier when I woke at the base of Emory
Pass, NM to frozen everything.

It really is amazing how quickly the climate has changed.  In just about 100 miles by the crow-fly I've moved from desert scrub
into beautiful rolling hills full of junipers and live oaks. Many of the creek bottoms now hold water.  I crossed the Frios and Guadalupe Rivers today;  these are gin-clear limestone creeks
whose banks are lined with sycamore and bald cypress trees. 

Even the towns were pretty today.  Ingram is a nice town on the banks of the Guadalupe River that had tasteful murals chronicling the history of the area. There were some comical billboards
to help take my mind off of tired legs.

Today I also noticed a change in the bird life.  Many of the species we are familiar with on the east coast were seen in abundance today:
mockingbirds, cardinals, and chickadees.  I also saw bluebirds (likely the western bluebird), scrub jays, and a couple large flocks of wild turkeys. 

I can't leave the Hill Country without commenting on public lands.  In the second largest state in the country, I am amazed to find so little public
land.  The Hill Country  - as lovely as it is - is lined with 'No Tresspassing' signs and high barbed
wire fences that parallel every road in the area.  The seemingly endless miles of fence - to keep people out and huntable mammals in - gave me a greater appreciation for public spaces in other parts of the country - spaces that all folks can access for their recreational enjoyment.  Texas needs more places like these - and less
barbed wire - but I am not holding my breath for things to change anytime soon.

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