Sunday, November 30, 2014

Perdernales Falls State Park, TX

There are a lot of state parks in TX and a lot in this area!  We decided when we went to McKinney SP to buy a $70 annual pass and have already paid for half of it.  If you are going to spend 2 or 3 months in this state, the annual pass is the way to go.

We weren't able to do the 7 1/2 mile trail we had originally chosen due to the Perdernales River being  to high where the trail crossed it, but managed to put in 5 plus miles in the falls area which  was quite lovely.

Twin Falls

 This beautiful spot is where we stopped for lunch:

Perdernales Falls

 We took a small trail with a bird watching blind:

not clear but a female Hairy Woodpecker?

female Cardinal


Hairy Woodpecker
 Our first winery in this area.  Stopped on the way home.  Nice wines but high prices and high tasting fee.

just outside the winery

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bastrop State Park, Bastrop, TX

Bastrop SP was about a 45 minute drive from where we are east of Austin.  This park suffered a fire in Sep. of 2011 which consumed about 96 percent of the park.  We were unsure of what the trails would be like but were assured they were open.

One of the cool things about this forest now is that, because of the dead trees, several different kinds of woodpeckers have been moving into the area!  We thought they might be easier to spot with no leaves in the way and were right. However, they are very people shy and I was very lucky to get a few pics of two kinds, the Hairy Woodpecker and the Red Bellied Woodpecker.

The pics below though, obviously of a burned forest, go to show just how fast Mother Nature can begin recovery and how pretty it can look along the way!

So sad, but look at all the new growth:
 ....and flowers!  Isn't this fall??

 Could only get the back of this Hairy Woodpecker.....

 We had quite the obstacle course with all the fallen trees on the trail.......

A Red Bellied Woodpecker

another Red Bellied

Never expected to see a Cardinal!

I found the fungus growing on all the dead wood quite fascinating!  Looks really cool!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Texas Capitol, Austin

Another rainy day we visited the capitol building.  Yes, it seems to rain a lot here this time of year which we did not know prior to coming here. Not supposed to rain this week but will next week....we'll just work with it:)

The first capitol building was built in 1853.  It was rebuilt in 1888 after a fire and in 1993 an underground extension was added during a restoration of the building. So what is seen above ground is just part of the existing building today:

the door hinges weight 8 lbs each!

Stephen F. Austin, marble statue in the South Foyer

the rotunda
Looking up at the inside of the dome, the star at the top measures 8ft across!

31 senators meet here during Texas legislative sessions to work with the House enacting the laws of the state:
Senate chamber
150 members of the House of Representatives meet in this chamber, the largest room in the building:
House of Representatives
 The flag below in the in House of Representatives, is one of the original flags from the Battle of San Jacinto.  That battle, fought in 1836 after "The Alamo",  freed the Texans from Mexican rule.
 The only known oil painting of Jim Bowie done while he was alive.  Bowie died at the Alamo.

 Looking down into the Legislative Reference Library
 From the 3rd floor looking down into the rotunda at the terrazzo floor, you can see 4 of the 6 seals of the countries whose flags have flown over Texas:
 This view is from the extension looking up above ground through the glass at the dome

US Army Corp of Engineers Park, Iowa City, IA

Mike and I love it when we can find a COE park because they are always on water and our last stop at Coralville Lake was no exception.  A bi...