Monday, December 17, 2012

Lost & Found

Since we have had a couple hard freezes recently, there is not a whole lot of color to be found in my garden this month.  So I thought I'd share some pictures from our recent trip to Lost Maples State Natural Area in the Texas hill country.

 Lost Maples State Natural Area is located in Vanderpool, Texas, and contains the state's largest stand of Bigtooth Maples east of the Guadalupe Mountains.

We found the maples.
We found fall color.

Bigtooth Maples (Acer grandidentatum)

I think we missed peak color by about a week, but it was still very pretty.  Now granted, those of you in the northern US are probably scoffing at what we call fall color, but in Texas we take what we can get.

The beautiful blue skies just made the fall colors all the more spectacular.

Sycamores are sometimes mistaken for maples.   Their leaf is a similar shape but much larger than the Bigtooth Maples in the area.

The hiking was not for sissies!  Some of the rocky grades were very steep.   
Did I mention we were in the HILL country?

When we stopped from time to time to catch our lost breath, we found these cute little lizards scurrying around.

The view we found when we reached the top at 2200 feet made it all worthwhile. Some of the views had me wondering if we had gotten lost and wandered out of Texas.

We found creeks and ferns ...
... and ponds

And, of course, my favorite ... rocks.

On one diversion off the main hiking trail we found ...
... The Monkey Rock!

Look familiar?

We found some of the tree limbs were covered with ball moss
(Tillandsia recurvata)

Ball moss is a small epiphyte that clings to the limbs of live oaks and other trees in southwest Texas.  It is a member of the bromeliad family and a relative of Spanish moss.  Since ball moss does not take nutrients and water from the trees, it is not a parasite.

Speaking of balls, here is my husband's idea of fall color in the hill country.
Greens and white.
 He has been known to lose a few of these little white balls in the sea of green from time to time.

Back home I found a little bit of maple color, as well, but with our very dry and very warm autumn, the maples lost their colorful display all too quickly.

Like I say, in Texas we take what we can get.  

Wherever you live, I hope you find some time this holiday season to get lost in nature's beauty.

Toni :-)


  1. I've never been to Lost Maples, but the next time I get to the hill country, I'll be sure to take a hike. Love the monkey rock! Glad to see there's water in the ponds!

  2. Oh, I don't know--that color is pretty impressive. And you have the benefit of warm weather throughout autumn, capped by stunning foliage. Very nice! I'd never heard of Ball Moss before. I love Spanish Moss!

  3. I love Lost Maples! My husband grew up just down the road from the park...and I grew up in desolate west Texas. Somethings just aren't fair! :) The colors are amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Beautiful scenery. That monkey rock really looks like a monkey. Very cool.

  5. Always have adored maples so it was great fun to see one at such a dramatic a time. But you know what got my soul a stirring were the tillandsias. Reminded me of spanish moss but so more interesting. I'm sure the rough journey paid off. Now I'm a quad, I can only dream of such an adventure.

  6. I laughed at monkey rock! Thanks for sharing your visit to Texas hill country. I enjoyed your scenic pictures, though the shots of colorful foliage made me wish I could turn back the season for another look. Everything here is pretty drab, with the word pretty being debatable! the last photo of your own fall garden is wonderful I love the gold and rosy combinations with the blue-green foliage and the red bridge in the distance.

    Have a wonderful Christmas, and may your garden prosper in 2013!

  7. Very respectable fall color and what gorgeous blue skies. Looked like a great trip.

  8. It's a beautiful park. My husband and I drove out and I think missed peak color too ... we were a little early. But like you, still had a great time and there was enough color to make us feel as though the trip was worthwhile.

    Toni, I hope you and your family have a joyous and blessed Christmas. Much love from Austin :)

  9. I love Lost Maples and have been a number of times...just never in the Fall.
    Merry Christmas, my friend. I love your blog.
    David/:0) Tropical Texana

  10. When I first moved to San Antonio in 1991, Lost Maples was one of the first places we visited. I still have photos, before digital. There is also a lost maples area in caddo county of Oklahoma, probably about the same distance from Dallas as Lost Maples. Have a great Christmas season. Greggo.

  11. I love maples, looking at them is so relaxing and inspiring. The pictures are so great.

  12. What a beautiful area! :o) Love the connection between Monkey Rock and the sock monkey. Happy holidays!

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