landscape, nature, river

Guadalupe River State Park

One boulder reflects
Old rooted trees embrace
Calm river silence

So after taking a week away from work to get over what I thought was a cold turns out that I did most likely contract aa very mild form of COVID19.

Since the trip out west I have not had any time to do many photo walks or make new content for social this fall. Besides work on this site and setting up some prints for the store this crazy year an my day job has taken most of my focus and creativity.

After an hour of phone consult with my local health service, they encouraged me to stay healthy and get fresh air and not be at home the whole rest of my quarantine. I do not have a backyard or any outside space at my residence, but there is no way I am getting anywhere near people and populated areas so I thought it a good time to hit a nearby State Park.

While I often refer to Texas as the world’s largest gated community, as 95% of the land is privately held, but before seeling everything off, they did do a good job of marking the parts of the natural wonder for everyone to enjoy.

Guadalupe River State Park is one of those natural gems. Was it not for its state park status it might just be a nice feature view on some rich guys ranch house, or maybe a private park area in a private gated subdivision?

While I was probably 2-3 weeks late for fall colors being December, there were still hints of red leaves and lots on the ground to identify to me to make sure to run up here next fall for seasonal images.

I drove in the gate and followed a couple on a Polaris Slingshot down to the main marking lots passing camping areas that were closed for the season. The park ranger woman told me not to cross the river at this time of year as there was live hunting going on the other side, temporary signs were posted in the park as well. I never heard any shots, but being hunting season it might not have been the best time of year to visit.

From its large limestone rockface to its ancient trees the size of a car, you know you are in nature’s presence. The long tentacle roots of the bald cypress trees dramatically reaching above ground to avail the rocky landscape to nourish themselves at the water’s edge. This vividly theatrical landscape is a pleasant change from what is often pretty common oak trees and grasses of the hill country.

justin wideman

I spent almost two hours down on the river taking images of the old trees, especially their dramatic roots and reflections on the calm water. Downstream there were more rapids and active water but fewer paths so I eventually had to turn around. The weather was overcast but the sky/clouds kind of opened up and gave me a few different expressions, which was nice.

justin wideman
justin wideman
Dramatic roots anchor these large trees on the shoreline and swelling currents
justin wideman
This tree is in the middle of the river after spring rains
The foot trail ends where these 3-4 inch roots take over
One of the largest/oldest Bald Cedars

I did notice a number of trees had fallen over or had worm-rot, part of a trunk I walked past was bigger than me. hopefully, the park managers can keep this from happening to more trees, In looking at other park pics on google to what I saw when I visited, some of the nicest statement trees before were just dead or fallen over today. These are unreplaceable Texas treasures and not trees you can just replace with new ones from the local garden center.

state park trees - justin wideman
Rot and wind threaten this ecosystem

Despite being December it was in the ’70s, and humid. Thankfully I did not notice any mosquitos, the only wildlife I saw was an armadillo busy sniffing around for bugs in the leaves and I got pretty close to it but he never stopped or acknowledged me. Kind of like when I am feeding, all business!

Hard to focus with a wide angle lens

There were a few other day visitors, given the time of year, being Friday afternoon, and the crazy 2020 year, but I can see why people would come and camp and kayak in the summer. I did go in the water a little for a few pics in a shallow part barefoot and it was not too cold. The clear water and smoothed rocks made it fine, I never stick my feet in the water I can’t see the bottom of for germs and critters, most Texas rivers are mud-bottom, this one was not, at least in this part.

Getting wet for a few images and the cover image, getting closer to the boulder then the shore allowed

While I might not have gotten the best pics for prints, it was nice to visit this park that is relatively close to me, but that I never made the effort to seek out till now. I will defiantly be back in the spring or fall now that I have this scouting trip done and these images to plan a real photoshoot.

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