Went Down to the River, but the River Was Dry

When I go on a trip, my main goals are to look at the nature and the architecture of wherever I am. Even in small towns, I love looking at buildings. Check out the Bandera County Courthouse, especially the manger scene. I don’t think they actually had turkey vultures in Bethlehem a couple of thousand years ago!

Jesus is visited by vultures, a longhorn, merino sheep, white-tailed deer, a cactus, and cowboysl

It’s So Cowboy Here

Lee and I had a lot of fun shopping today, especially since I actually needed a couple of “cowboy accessories” and so did he. I got a Resistol summer weight hat that fits me like a glove, and has already made walking around here in the bright winter sun easier. I really loved my other hat, but it got set down within the reach of certain blue-eyed dogs, and became a former hat. Grr. You only have to forget to hang the hat high ONCE to lose the hat. I’d had it five years or so, though, which is good for the kind of hat you sweat all over (it’s a work hat).

New hat protects me from blazing winter sun.

And I realize most women don’t wear cowboy hats unless they are in a rodeo, but too bad. Baseball hats aren’t as comfortable to me, and they don’t provide as much shade for my pale little European face. At least I live in a hat-wearing part of the US half time!

Lee got a new belt, which is really nice. The Cowboy Shop had a better selection than other Western shops we’d been in lately.

Anyway, after a protracted stop at a Native American jewelry store, where I got some Effie earrings (Hopi ones by an artist who always puts snakes on her jewelry) and some lovely Navajo White Buffalo turquoise earrings (white stone with black in it)…and Lee got a RING, we came back so Lee could yell at Verizon about a mix-up. I left.


I headed back down to the river where I saw all the armadillo munching away yesterday. I only saw one today, but that’s because I walked through the river. The bed is glaringly white, since it consists of polished limestone with a layer of white sediment on top of it. It’s positively lunar.

That’s not snow; it’s limestone.

I enjoyed traipsing up and down over the rounded rocks and looking for things that were alive. I saw two spiders and some big red ants, but no other insects and no reptiles. There were a few hardy plants, including some kind of berry and a few nice-looking mullien plants.

Hardy plant!

It was fun to look at the typical patterns rivers form, where on one side the water is cutting into the rock, an on the other side it’s depositing gravel. That was very obvious. I also could tell that there is a nice swimming hole when there’s water. But, no water other than one tiny puddle was to be found.

The eroded side of the river bank.

I wonder where this river’s water comes from, because all around here many of the creeks and rivers have a good amount of water in them. I finally looked it up, and this is the Medina River. I don’t think the whole thing is dry, because we went over it before when we were driving around. On the other hand, it’s a good chance to look at the river bed formation here, since most of them are usually flowing away, though mostly very shallow.

This tree’s been there a while.

At least the lack of rain preserved some footprints. I saw a dog/coyote, a bunny, and deer. What I thought were bird tracks was a tire tread. Sigh. Beauty is everywhere, that’s for sure, even in a dry river bed!

Bonus fun: I ran into a family as I was climbing back up the hill, and they asked me if I’d seen any wildlife. So, I went into full Master Naturalist mode and told them how to find an armadillo, where the deer are hanging out, how to identify raccoon scat, and where to avoid so you won’t surprise a rattlesnake. That was fun! The kids didn’t think they could be quiet enough not to scare an armadillo, but you never know, right?

Hey, even ball moss in bloom can have its own beauty!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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