It is sometimes best to put the guides, and advertisements to the side, go to a dinner and ask the locals where the real treasures are. We have found a fair share of amazing things following maps drawn on napkins and scrap paper. Over and over we were told of a trail on private property. A “fairy-tale trail” which was said to contain a freezing waterfall, picturesque bridges over a frozen stream surrounded by Cypress trees lightly frosted with fresh snow. The more townspeople spoke of this trail the more I questioned its authenticity. I began to wonder if this was a town of sociopathic murders set to lure the simple unsuspecting Texas couple into the woods to kill us. Were they baiting us with the perfect trail story, a trail with a hidden portal into a Thomas Kinkade painting? Would Bob Ross be there painting “Happy Little Trees” as woodland creatures danced the Macarena, do you expect me to believe this is Narnia? Then there was the private property issue. I’m from Texas were the best way to see a man’s favorite shotgun is to walk past his posted “keep out” sign and begin admiring anything on his property.
We were continually assured the owner of this property didn’t mind sharing its beauty with those who would understand and respect it. The entry was rough stone, brush and tall grass, but the farther we went the more amazed we became. To me it was like falling into a snow globe frozen in the cool of time. The snow lightly blanketed the trees, a creek bubbled and churned beneath a layer of crystal clear ice which mounded into formations like prisms casting small rainbows as dim light flowed through the valley. There was not a spec of rubbish or trash to be found, no graffiti, no ignorance, only a solitary place of immaculate beauty.
Upon our last day exploring this area we saw an older gentleman watching us as I took photos with my 35mm. He was clothed in outdoor gear of a refined, long past time. Cast in a demeanor of age and wisdom, his black leather gloves pushed heavily upon what appeared to be an authentic blackthorn cane. There was an air about him which reminded me of John Muir, a wise old man who longed for the wild and the company of those who felt the wounder-lust of natures calling. As the owner of this property he understood something so few do, can man actually own the dirt forever? Or do we simply borrow the soil for a “season”, and in our due time return too it?