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The Willow City Loop

The Willow City Loop

When dawn arrives in Fredericksburg, it’s clear that we’ll need to change some of our plans for the day. The pitter-patter of rain is not at all welcome. We had hoped to capture a beautiful sunrise somewhere along Main Street, after which we would enjoy a solid breakfast before setting out to complete the Willow City Loop. All we can do now is hope for the best.

The Willow City Loop, northeast of Fredericksburg, is well known for its scenery. Spring time visitors show up here in droves every year at the beginning of April to see the Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrushes, and several other wildflowers, reach their peak blooming period. I’ve spent time looking at some of the thousands of pictures uploaded to the internet and it certainly seems a trip worth taking. Our arrival in the middle of summer does not promise any kind of flower show, but I’m perfectly happy simply to enjoy the landscape.

After breakfast, we’re on our way to the loop while the clouds hang heavy above us. Rays of light make occasional appearances, and we think we may just be in luck.

We’ve just started down the narrow, fence lined road when the first drops of rain begin to fall. We agree that as long as it’s just light rain, it’ll be fine. Suddenly, I see a few inverted boots on the fence posts up ahead. I’ve seen them other places before, but there’s still that initial thought of, “why did someone put their boot on the fence?”. It’s unusual, but somehow charmingly fitting. My initial surprise causes a delay in reaction time, so it’s a good thing I come to my senses before we’ve passed the photo opportunity. I naturally have to get out and take some pictures. On checking the internet later, it seems the boot decorated posts are a favorite souvenir image.

There aren’t any scenic stops provided anywhere along the road, presumably to avoid having too many people mulling about. The ranchers in this area rely on this road to get around. I’m sure it must be incredibly frustrating trying to navigate past slow moving vehicles every spring. You really can’t blame people though, for wanting to come and admire the area.

Along winding roads, there’s a temptation at the apex of every hill to stop the car and get out; if you don’t, the views come and go so fast that it’s impossible to save them all to memory. I manage to dash out of the car a few times before the clouds decide to pull the plug. I’d like to pull off to the side and wait out the rain, but on a curving road with low visibility, that doesn’t seem like a safe option. I think I’m being clever when I roll down the window to keep my camera protected, but Tim’s not enjoying that option very much as the rain drives sideways into the car.

We don’t see a single other car on the road, but we do pass a group of people out on their bikes. It seems rather miserable in the rain, though they look perfectly happy.

Our drive comes to an end as it continues to drizzle. I’m close to saying “Let’s do it again”, but we have other activities on the day’s agenda, and I don’t want to give up on those experiences. We did see the views and although I didn’t get the landscape photos I had hoped for, I was able to capture a brooding day that never did manage to dim the beauty of our surroundings. Unusual is sometimes good enough.

We return to the main road and head north. Sometimes, you lose out, but if you’re fortunate, the bad luck is exactly the reason you discover something beyond what you could have hoped for. 

Come back in a few days to find out what happened next.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Fredericksburg, Past and Present

Fredericksburg, Past and Present