Hill Country, Texas 2015

In October of 2015, Becky (my wife) and I, went on a vacation to explore the Texas Hill Country. 

Map of West Texas area


     The Texas Hill Country is a geographic region of Central and South Texas, forming the southeast part of the Edwards Plateau.  The region is notable for its karst topography and tall rugged hills of limestone or granite. Many of the hills rise to a height of 120–150 m above the surrounding plains.   The terrain throughout the region is punctuated by a thin layer of topsoil and many exposed rocks and boulders, making the region very dry and prone to flash flooding.

Looking north, Becky is standing near the San Antonio River on the famous “River Walk”

     While in the area, Becky and I spent the day in San Antonio.  Pictured above is our visit of the world famous “River Walk”. The San Antonio River Walk is a city park and network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of San Antonio, Texas.  It is lined by bars, shops, restaurants, nature, public artwork, and the five historic missions.

Becky is standing in front of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas 2015

      The Alamo Mission in San Antonio, commonly called The Alamo and originally known as the Misión San Antonio de Valero, is a historic Spanish mission and fortress compound founded in the 18th century by Roman Catholic missionaries in what is now San Antonio, Texas. It was the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.  Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops (6000 men) under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna reclaimed the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar, killing the Texian and immigrant occupiers (206 men). Santa Anna’s cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians, both legal Texas settlers and illegal immigrants from the United States, to join the Texian Army. Buoyed by a desire for revenge, the Texians defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, ending the rebellion. 

After the battle the old mission fell into decay, and its ownership was widely disputed. In 1905 it was bought by the State of Texas and put under the care of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Presently it is a museum in the Alamo Plaza Historic District and is a World Heritage Site. 

Becky is standing on the porch of Lyndon B. Johnson’s boyhood home.

     The next day, Becky and I visited the, “LBJ-ranch” within the “Hill-Country.  Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park in central Texas about 80 km west of Austin in the Texas Hill Country.   On site, The LBJ Ranch is located roughly 23 km west of Johnson City, Texas.  The ranch was the Johnson family retreat during his period of greatest influence, and is the site of the family cemetery. This gave Becky and I,  a perspective of President Johnson’s life when he was in office and while we were growing up.

One room school hours where Lyndon Johnson learned to read & came back briefly to teach.

      At the ranch, Becky and I was able to see Johnson’s Air Force One plane parked behind his presidential-home. Also on the oak tree-shaded property is an old, one-room schoolhouse, pictured above. Perhaps one of Johnson’s proudest moments came when he signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 into law outside this small school. His former teacher Kate Deadrich Loney sat by his side when he signed the bill that granted all children access to a quality education. Known as his promise of a “Great Society” for all Americans, Johnson also passed legislation creating Medicare and declared a “War on Poverty.”

At “Hamilton Pool” I pose under the waterfall in a small cavern, near Austin, Texas

     The highlight of the trip was our exploration of the “Hamilton Pool” near Austin, Texas.  Hamilton Pool formed when a cave over an underground river collapsed thousands of years ago, creating a waterfall and swimming grotto. Hamilton Pool is an excellent example of the typical geology of the Balcones Canyonlands and the Edwards Plateau.  Rocks in the region are various types of sandstone, limestone, dolomite, and shale, all of which were deposited in an ancient ocean below sea level about 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period.

Image taken from a sign at “Hamilton Pool” which makes it a public domain image.

     Becky and I hiked a few kilometers to make it to the spectacular “Hamilton Pool”.  Below is a video of the site. 

Hamilton Pool near Austin, Texas during October of 2015

     While there, I noticed an interesting Physics phenomena on the back wall of the inner cavern.  It was our shadows projected from the reflected light of the “Hamilton Pool”. It gives a sort of spooky/artistic effect.

Shadows on the back of the cave of “Hamilton Pool” near Austin, Texas.

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