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Cyclists prepare to enter the 582-foot Clarity Tunnel.

Travelers on the Caprock Canyons Trailway sometimes feel they’ve tipped time’s arrow on its head. Following the path of an abandoned rail line, the 64-mile trail system takes hikers, cyclists, and equestrians across the region’s halcyon backyard, into the agrarian plains and broken rangeland of caprock country, and out of this century completely.

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I’m coming back to live in Texas and plan to see every inch of it. Your magazine will be a must read.

 —NOLA HENNESSY, TH Facebook Fan in Mollymook, New South Wales, Australia

We visited Caprock Canyons State Park [March] and loved it! We came all the way from the Netherlands to see ALL of Texas. Yeeehaaaa! —INA VAN BRUGGEN, TH Facebook Fan

Big Bend National Park ... I never get tired of its beauty and breathtaking views! Will be back in April for the 10th time! —NORA MARTINEZ, TH Facebook Fan

Buddy Holly would be happy that Lubbock made the Top-40 list!—Laverne Clancy, TH Facebook Fan

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I admit it: There's something magical about spotting an arrowhead on the ground, picking it up and holding it in my hand like an ancient talisman. I imagine the keen intelligence, the sculptural ability, and the skillful hands that deftly chipped the projectile point from a rough chunk of chert hundreds or thousands of years ago.Paleoindian experts once believed that Clovis culture - defined by the use of signature stone tools - was the first culture of the americas. Archeologists at the Gault Site have discovered evidence placing humans in Central Texas much earlier. (Photo by J. Griffis Smith)

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It may be February 1 where you are, but at the TH editorial office, we’re thinking April. We just put the March issue to bed, so to speak, and now we’re awash in wildflowers as we produce our April wildflower photo feature. Look for 16 pages of gorgeous wildflower images this year, along with a rundown of wildflower festivals and other events.

Working on the April issue always involves a flurry of prognostications: What kind of wildflower season will we have? Did the rains come at the right times? Where will readers find the best displays? Inevitably, we have to fall back on the nature of wildflowers themselves—they’re wild, meaning unpredictable and, to my way of thinking, even magical. You never know for sure what they will do, and that’s one reason we love them so. Their untamed beauty remains a constant in our increasingly homogenous, civilized world.

Daryl Whitworth, assistant director of the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau, stopped by the office a couple of days ago and gave us the bureau's wildflower forecast for the Hill Country. “We're predicting a bumper crop,” he said. “A lot of seeds lay dormant last year because of the drought, and the rains that came in late September and early October, as well as the recent rains, came just at the right times.”

I conducted my own wildflower survey a couple of weeks ago, on a trip from Austin to my mother’s home near Edna. I always try to make a trek south around Groundhog Day, since it seems like a good time for predicting what the wildflowers season holds. Sometimes I even spot a precocious Indian paintbrush or bluebonnet. No such luck this year, though I did see more green than I expected along the roadsides between Austin and Gonzales. As I drove on Texas 111 from Yoakum to Edna, it became drier and looked less promising. However, since my visit, that area has had a little rain, so again, you never know. Personally, I love it that way.

It’s the last day of January, and though it’s warm in Austin right now, the National Weather Service says a cold front will roll in tonight, followed by really cold temperatures later this week. Instead of stocking up on hot chocolate, though, I’m planning my annual trip to southeast Texas this weekend to scout out the first wildflowers of the season. My mother, who lives near Edna, has already spotted coreopsis along the roadside, and my sister tells me that bluets are out, too. Yes, all those early bloomers will probably freeze their petals off this week, but I can’t resist looking for them. I make a trip home each year around this time with that in mind—I think of it as a Texas twist on Groundhog Day. And some years I’m rewarded by seeing a splash of phlox or even an overachieving Indian paintbrush.

Of course, the fact that the magazine staff is working on the April issue (which always has pages and pages of wildflower photos) during January and February also colors my enthusiasm. There’s nothing like seeing all those gorgeous images to put you in the mood for the real thing. And thankfully, in Texas, it’s almost wildflower season, no matter what the National Weather Service has to say.

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So fortunate to personally experience and thoroughly enjoy the Sunday final round of the PGA Tour's Crowne Plaza Invitatational at Colonial in Fort Worth. Quite a thrill. Winner Zach Johnson (with more than a passing resemblance to Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix, and also happens to be a native Iowan like myself), shot a tournament record 21 under par 259! Among his 6 other tour titles are the 2007 Masters in Augusta and San Antonio's Valero Texas Open in 2008 and 2009. The historic Colonial Country Club and golf course, surrounding FW neighborhoods, and TCU campus were perfectly gorgeous, while the Colonial staff's wonderfully gracious hospitality is a pleasure to behold. And, the highly competitive field of top players brought out the best in each other during the final 18 holes. Hey, these guys are really good! Honestly, I'm not even a golfer (ok, maybe a little driving range/pitch and putt activity), but this is an event you absolutely must consider. It's truly a Texas sports classic. You're able to get incredibly close to the action, and the gallery of fans is most entertaining, as well. Be sure to view the statue of legendary Texan Ben Hogan, one of the game's greatest, and the room full of impressive Hogan career memorabilia here, including some of his major (British Open, Masters, US Open, PGA Championship) tournament trophies. Colonial, founded in 1936, was Mr. Hogan's home course. See www.colonialfw.com, www.crowneplazainvitational.com, or www.pgatour.com.

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