Pass Paradise to get to Utopia

I’ve never missed frozen toes after nearly half a lifetime of winters, but living in Central Texas I do miss spectacular autumn color.

Tree color, sky

There is one area where Texas does get fall: Lost Maples State Natural Area. Gary attended a weekend retreat near Kerrville, and on Sunday I picked him up to drive farther into the Hill Country, where we spent a couple of days getting an autumn fix.

Welcoming entry to our B&B

Welcoming entry to our B&B

We stayed at the Bend o’ the River Bed and Breakfast just outside Utopia–and we did pass Paradise on the way. Old time Texans were optimistic in their naming practices. The Duvalls, Peggy and Ron, were gracious and personable hosts, and we enjoyed their beautiful home (which Ron, a woodworker and carpenter, built as a B&B) and the peaceful setting on the Sabinal River. (Sadly, the river was a dry ditch.)

Sad, dry Sabinal

Sad, dry Sabinal

We burned off some of Ron and Peggy’s hearty breakfast (creamy, herb-seasoned scrambled eggs, bacon, buttermilk biscuits) with a four-hour hike up and out of the canyon at Lost Maples for eyefuls of gorgeous color.

The Maple Trail at Lost Maples

The Maple Trail at Lost Maples

Gary and the pond

Gary and the Maple Trail pond

It was warmer than we expected (mid-80s F) and I came close to heat exhaustion. Gary said later he thought I was going to turn back on the ascent. Just as I reached the bottom of the descent (rocky, loose scree, which I hate) with the last few drops of water, face red and head throbbing, a couple of angels (I was hallucinating–it was just a nice young couple) filled my water bottle, after which we reached a beautiful pond and cooled our feet.

Oasis for hot feet after a hard hike

Oasis for hot feet after a hard hike

After an excellent Mexican lunch in Leakey,

I keep reading this as "Mama Chloe's." If you're every in Leakey, Texas, try it.

If you’re ever in Leakey, try it, but skip the chips.

we made it to Garner State Park an hour before sunset, giving us time for a walk along the Frio River. It rained lightly, making lovely patterns on the water, and then the setting sun gave us a show.

Turkey buzzards roosting as sunset approaches

Turkey buzzards roosting as sunset approaches


Rain on the Frio River

Rain on the Frio River

A still image from a video of the rain

A still image from a video of the rain


Garner river view silhouettes

Frio River views

Frio River views

Rain, then a flaming end to the day

Rain, then a flaming end to the day

That evening, as we had a glass of wine and chatted with the other b&b guests on the patio, we were chased indoors by  heavy rains, so the Sabinal had a  few puddles next morning as we left for home. (Like Camelot, apparently it only rains at night in Utopia.)

We took a detour through the pleasant Hill Country town of Boerne,

A nice walk around Boerne

A nice walk around Boerne

LMSNA color 3

Lost Maples color

browsing in shops. After burgers at Lost Maples Cafe in Utopia, Mexican in Leakey, a BLT (and ice cream!) in Boerne, and those fabulous B&B breakfasts, we’re back to wiser eating before Thanksgiving.

Hobbit-y tree in Garner

Hobbit-y tree in Garner

Gorgeous Texas sky

Gorgeous Texas sky

Color in Garner State Park

Color in Garner State Park



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2 responses to “Pass Paradise to get to Utopia”

  1. Linda Kurosky says :

    What a wonderful trip! Your photos are beautiful, especially the sky at sunset and Frio River views! Your blog is always interesting and entertaining. Keep it up!

  2. wigginswordsandimages says :

    Thanks, Linda! It’s fun, and I appreciate the feedback.

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