Monday, December 5, 2011

Lost Maples

The webpage for Lost Maples State Natural Area states that it " an outstanding example of Edwards Plateau flora and fauna. It is a combinations of springs, plateau grasslands, wooded slopes, clear streams, and steep, rugged limestone canyons.

"It features a large, isolated stand of uncommon Uvalde Bigtooth Maple, whose fall foliage can be spectacular. Generally, the foliage changes the last two weeks of October through the first two weeks of November. The park is extremely popular during the fall and is often crowded. Parking is limited to 250 cars, so for maximum enjoyment and serenity, we suggest visitors schedule trips during the weekdays, if possible."

It was late November when we thought about visiting Lost Maples in Vanderpool, TX, but the webpage's weekly foliage report noted that there were still trees whose leaves had not yet changed.

Very soon after making the 60-mile trip to the park, we realized that many others had the same idea. We arrived mid-morning on a weekday, but by 1:00, there were fewer than half a dozen designated parking spaces left. And all the grassy spaces around the painted parking spaces had been taken over by the overflow crowd.

We walked the Maple Trail for about half a mile, crossed the virtually dry Sabinal River and returned on a portion of the East Trail. It was an easy walk, but it was a slow walk because of the time it took to survey the surrounding color and landscape every few steps.

There was something about these two photographs (left and below) that struck me as being similar to the works of Impressionistic artists.

It was as though one would take a quick look at a fall scene--distinct outlines of forms would not be identified, just a blur of soft colors.

The overcast day produced just enough light to allow the softer colors to show off. The last "burst" of colors in these scenes would have been lost in the glare of a brilliant sunny day.

I especially liked the mood created in these last two photos.

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