USA: The Wilds of Uvalde, Texas
A few months ago I traveled to Texas. The trip was work-related so costs were minimal – always the vest way to go on a trip. My destination was Uvalde in the central-western part of the state and it’s a wonder that I didn’t have to show a passport upon arrival.
The town is not particularly old and the current main square’s buildings only date from the turn of the century, 19th to 20th.
I think this was the Town Hall. Maybe not.
This next photo shows the town’s principal bank. The place was boarded up, which tells us something about progress in Uvalde.
We found more interesting sites nearby. At the site of Fort Inge, an old soldier fort near town, the only hill in the area broods over the scrub-covered plain. Local lore holds that paleo-Indians once scanned the horizon from the summit to look for mastodons. How anyone could infer that fact today presents a dilemma but the notion is romantic.
Of the fort itself almost nothing remains save for a trace of stone foundations. Apparently the soldiers lived in tents – African-Americans from back east formed most of the garrison – and only the armory and offices were constructed from permanent materials. At some point local enthusiasts tried to make a park out of the site but visitors are few. It’s a lonely place now, as surely as it must have been in the 1850s.
Also near Uvalde is a system of reservoirs which has been turned into a bird sanctuary, a surprising endeavor in this part of the country,
The park made for a nice morning walk before heat and sun dominated the sky.
Our real reason for visiting to Uvalde, however, was not to pursue Texan history and wildlife but to visit a local ranch. This was a marvelous huge stake-hold, or whatever you call such a farm.
A proper herd of Texas Longhorns greeted us the first day.
Along with more exotic species.
The landscape was beautiful and varied. Dry washes, seasonal rivers, and small ponds greeted us at every turn. The Texas hill country is quite beautiful and the ranch, some twenty miles from town, felt remote.
Indians had lived here for thousands of years and their detritus was everywhere, in the form of fire pits, mounds, and middens.
On a distant corner of the ranch dinosaur tracks had been discovered, definitely of the meat-eating variety
We kept a sharp eye out for raptors after viewing the tracks, not that it would have done any good.
A different kind of highlight occurred when the ranch owner showed us his prize possession, a 100% stock, fully operational Sherman tank. Very Texan.
photo by Brent Oxley
Eventually we were forced to depart and return to civilization. The shock was abrupt.
One of the least pleasant aspects about Texan travel are the roadblocks, nasty places where Anglos show their true agendas, harassing and jailing innocent passerby who lack the correct identification. I suppose they look for contraband as well. Whatever they can find, in order to show who is in charge.
Finally, with some time on our hands we toured San Antonio, first partaking of the ghastly “River Walk” boat ride. The boat came complete with an overnight Texan guide and a number of gullible tourists.
The river, or ditch, or irrigation channel – take your pick – sits much lower than street level and is lined with shops and restaurants for most of its length. Happily, not all.
We quickly disembarked when the weather turned rainy.
Lastly we paid homage to the great shrine of Texan mythology, The Alamo. Little of the tale as it is told now bears much resemblance to the truth. As a monument the facade of the fort’s mission chapel seems a dismal relic.
Like so much else about Texas, it exerts a power over the population, sometimes for better yet often with a dark cloud hanging over and rain falling.