Talk to Strangers! You Will Learn a Lot!

The older I get, the more I end up like my dad, who loved to talk to everyone he met. On this trip, even Lee has gotten into the action, and met a delightful older couple who happen to also be staying at this resort, who clued him in to other fun places to go. By yesterday, I’d also talked to the office lady about the cats, did my Master Naturalist spiel to a large family, and chatted with one of the maintenance men.

Yesterday morning, I set out on what was supposed to be a brief walk to get some steps in before whatever other activities Lee and I were going to do. I walked down the hill to the complex entrance, and saw two guys standing under the two huge oaks that guard the entrance. I heard the word “flood” and pricked up my ears. Maybe these guys would know why the river is so dry, since I know it rained some this year.

Here’s what the area I walked in a couple of days ago looks like with normal rainfall.

So, in Dad-like fashion, I walked over and butted into their conversation. It was great! Both these guys have been in the area a long time, and worked on this resort property for many years. They told me about the last couple of floods, which raised the water up to the trees we were standing beneath.

The most knowledgeable one, Dale, told me that what we cross coming into this place isn’t the Medina River; it’s Privilege Creek. Where the would-be swimming hole is marks the confluence of the creek with the river. I asked why this part is so dry, when I see other parts of the river that are flowing.

I found out that right through here, the river and the creek both head underground for a while, and flow through an aquifer, later to emerge to the surface. Aha! That all makes sense. When there is a good amount of rainfall, both the creek and the river also flow above the ground.

As we talked, Dale was kind enough to share some photos of the creek when it is beautiful, and also some great flood photos. As you may know already, I also like to take pictures of floods, so we bonded over that.

The entrance to the complex in 2017, when it froze. Pretty!

He also shared what happened to the waterfall at the entrance to the complex a couple of years ago when it got really, really cold. I’m happy to share them all with you, and he was glad I’d be sharing the information on the river with my readers.

An Adventure

Dale told me that there was a road nearby that would take me to where Privilege Creek was flowing. Lee agreed that would be a fun drive, so off we went. Sure enough, a few miles down Privilege Creek Road, there were some lovely ranches with views of water flowing by. We even got to go over a low water crossing!

We decided to keep going, and ended up driving down caliche roads through some huge old ranches with beautiful views.

We eventually ended up at the site of historic Polly, Texas, a very early settlement that many amenities. Some of the families that the sign talks about are the names on the huge ranches now. Below are some pictures of the cemetery that’s still there, courtesy of our friendly maintenance guy!

It was great to have Google Maps to keep us from wandering off into the distance. We had no problem eventually coming out at the main highway to Bandera, right near the grocery store.

We took a LONG detour going back, too. Why not? We have no agenda in our hermiting week! We checked out Hondo, Texas, then drove through some really pretty scenery on the road from Castroville to Highway 16. There is a beautiful lake, which as always, encourages beautiful homes to be built. I guess these are the most distant suburbs of San Antonio.

There’s the Medina River, all full of water like a river should be.

Bonus: We passed a pasture full of camels. They seemed happy.


Today I went on a long long walk, and I have no idea what other Christmas activity there will be other than lighting a fire, which we are going to do, even though it’s not very cold at all. Much warmer than Halloween was in this part of the country.

Deer I saw on my walk. They really blend in!

Tell me what you’re up to this holiday! There’s lots to celebrate, and I am enjoying all the Hanukkah and Christmas photos in my feed, with a few Yule celebrations thrown in. Whatever you’re celebrating, even if it’s just the hope for peace, I wish you a good day.

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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