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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
After an excellent Mexican lunch in Leakey,
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.
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,
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.