Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nowhere Corral

I am taking full advantage of spring break by doing strenuous physical activities. A couple of my friends also had Monday off, so we decided to go for a hike in Pedernales Falls State Park, a park not too far from Austin. We followed the river for a while and then connected with the main hiking trail in the park.

At one point we started to wander down a side trail with hopes that it would lead us to a cliff where we could look down on the river flowing below. We wandered a ways, but there was no sign of anything remotely resembling a cliff. On that detour though, we came across and old homestead with only the majority of the fireplace remaining. Even so, the time had washed away so much of the packing around the stones that it was a pile of stones, that continued to maintain the shape of the fire pit and the chimney.

Nearby we saw an old corral, with the beams sagging, often piled on top of one another instead of spaced up the posts.

We  traveled a bit farther down the trail and came upon some stone fences.

The construction of the fences really amazed me, as they followed the natural contours of the landscape, so the fence did not have to be exceptionally high, but connected to the shape of the land it made an effective barricade.

Though the house was gone and the fences were in grave disrepair, the level of effort and purpose behind the building of those structures amazed me. I cannot imagine how long it took to gather the rock, haul them to the right spaces and then lay them in - both for the fence and the fireplace - so that held their shape despite weather and time and stubborn trees growing up in the middle. The images of the corral especially stayed with me. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, stood a circular pen with no clear entrance, but the effort to create it demonstrates some genuine purpose behind it, and while it seems in the middle of nowhere today, at one time it was somewhere quite important.

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