Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Trip to Government Canyon

This weekend my husband and I went hiking in Government Canyon State Natural Area, northwest of San Antonio. It's a fairly new addition to the state parks system--it opened in 2005--and is only open Friday through Monday.

We were only able to hike the front country trails because we had the pup with us. We'll have to sneak out of the house without her next time so we can check out the backcountry.

The mountain laurels there were a bit past their peak, and not much in the park showed signs of spring. In fact, much of it looked like what I thought Texas looked like before I moved here--dry, dusty, and brown. Only tumbleweeds were needed to complete the picture.

But as I looked closer, I realized that flowers aren't the only form of beauty. I loved the textures of the dried seeds pods, the twisting bark on the trees, the spikes of the cactus, and other architectural forms highlighted against the sky.

These grasses were flattened, making the whole area look more like a river than a field.

Whenever I see these dying (?) prickly pear, I always think they have such a brutal ending. More out of a horror film than a nature preserve.

On the other hand, I found this dying plant more beautiful.

Even the trail marker had texture. I tried to find out who Mr. Lytle is or was, and to find a picture showing his 'stache in real life but no luck.

I did finally find one flower in bloom--in the parking lot.

(On another note, is anyone else having difficulty posting pictures via blogger? It took me two days to get these photos loaded. Is typepad worth the price?)


  1. Beautiful photos. We'll have to check out Govt Canyon--a new place to hike sounds fun.

  2. Do you think Lytle, Texas was named after him?

    Maybe there will be more than one verbena blooming if some of today's rain gets down to this interesting park - thanks, Vertie!

    Blogger was having fits over the weekend...but seems to be okay now.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  3. You are talented at photographing the small details, Vertie. You found some lovely sights, even if flowers were scarce.

    One of the central Texas habitats I like best is the grassy savannah surrounded by cedar trees. It looks like the deer found this one very appealing too; I assume they've been bedding down there at night, flattening the grasses.

  4. Annie, thanks for the information about the city. I hadn't heard about it before. The city was definitely named after John Thomas Lytle, but I still haven't found a picture of him. I would love to see one. Next visit I will have to spend some time in the visitors center.

  5. I was having a lot of trouble with getting the pictures to load and format properly in Blogger as well. I wish there was some way to make the pictures load at the bottom of the blog entry and not the top. It's more time-consuming to try writing entries backwards.

    What helped for me was to load all of my pictures in the "compose" window and then go into the "edit html" window and put a few spaces between each picture and put in paragraph breaks where I'd open and close the tag:

    < p >
    < /p>

    (without the spaces)

    And then, back into the compose window, I could use the enter key to line everything up right. And then I'd go back into the "edit html" window to do any typing so I could put it right before the < a href=... of the image tags.

    Maybe that helps? It's still stupidly time-consuming but at least it seems to work. I was getting mighty fed up with Blogger before I hit upon this solution.