Galveston Beach at Dawn

Galveston Beach at Dawn
Galveston Beach at Dawn

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Weekend Camping at Palmetto State Park

Sorry about the late post.  Our Internet access has been most non-existant for the past several days.

I spent a long restful weekend with a  couple of friends at Palmetto State Park.  This park is easily accessed from Houston, San Antonio and Austin but I had never been there. It is one of the several parks in Texas that contain vegetation that is out of  place.  In this case, the palmettos should be in East Texas and Louisiana swamps, not plopped down in the middle of a rolling prairie.  The palmettos probably grew in the whole area when it was wetter but now owe their existence to artesian springs in the area which feed the little pools and a four-acre lake.

The park  is on a bend of the San Marcus River which is a low level white water stream soon after if exits from its source, San Marcus Springs at Aquarena Center in the town of San Marcus, Texas. In its upper reach is is a Class II stream, but further south and east, it becomes much slower and calmer and is a quiet stream as it moves through the park.  The campground was build in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and has beautiful stone buildings. The group picnic shelter looked like it had grown from the ground.

Palmettos and other vegetation

A Ram Pump

This ancient pump, one of the few working ones in existence, works on a rising column of water provided by the artesian spring.  The energy is used to lift water into the water tower.  This used to be the source of water for the park.

The Water Tower
The destination of the water pumped by the ram pump is this beautiful water tower. .  It once was the source of the park's water.

View of San Marcus River From Bluff Near Campsite

A large rabbit that was also using a hiking trail.
We had plenty of trees for our hammocks, several miles of hiking trails and really good barbeque in nearby Luling, Texas.  We also did a short little paddle on a five-mile stretch of the San Marcos that started a little north of Luling at a picnic area and ended at Zedler's Mill. This mill was build in 1884 and contained a saw mill, a grist mill and a cotton gin.  Now it houses a developing museum within a park.

Bob and Tracy

Tracy paddling past the only cypress tree we saw

A cow was enjoying the river also

A picture of me by Tracy

Green Kingfisher - a great find