Author Archives: Larry Gfeller

Back Roads Nature–Davis Mountains State Park

The mountainside is set ablaze by the first reach of the morning sun. I slip and stumble up Montezuma Quail trail, the pale heat of the sun warms my cheek. Footing is treacherous and balance is critical (I should’ve brought my walking stick). Not only is the mountainside gravelly and steep, it’s peppered with sotol, cholla cactus and other nasties—fantasies of being cut to pieces as I roll helplessly down the mountain! From this vantage point, I peer at the surrounding volcanic cradle of cliffs and valleys, all… Read More →

Down on the Farm

This little epistle is about the Luling Foundation Farm and the role it plays in helping educate area farmers and ranchers. So why should farming matter to Texas Master Naturalists?  It’s no accident that Texas AgriLife Extension is a co-sponsor of our organization.  Do you think it possible for a farmer/rancher to be successful today without practicing conservation and sensibly using our natural resources?  Most of our state’s celebrated land stewards are farmers or ranchers.  Who better to understand the local weather patterns, the morphology of animals and… Read More →

There Once Were Millions

Ever wonder what this land was like a century ago? On a recent visit to Caprock Canyons State Park in the Texas panhandle, I got a chance to find out.   We headed out at dusk on a solitary paved road through some of our state’s most beautiful, sunset-gilded landscape in search of photo opportunities. I’m riding shotgun, my wife is driving and our dog is curled up in the back seat as we round the bend. There . . . directly ahead . . . is a… Read More →

Back Roads Nature–Lake Corpus Christi State Park

Looking for a place to break the cabin fever this winter? Just 2 miles west of Mathis, Texas, off  FM 1068 lies Lake Corpus Christi State Park.  Separate from Corpus Christi proper (20 miles to the northwest), this 365-acre refuge is a memorable winter getaway with mild temperatures and gentle breezes.  Despite plenty of other reasons to enjoy the place, it’s the water that attracts people like flies on weekends.  Though inland, the 18,256 acre lake dominates the horizon, offering up the sights, sounds and rich smells of… Read More →

Eyes On Nature

Serendipity and nature often collaborate to create art. Ansel Adams, that iconic landscape photographer, was driving around after a fruitless day of searching and saw something crazy happening before him.  White clouds backlit by the setting sun, snowcapped mountains and a rising moon in the New Mexico desert appeared before him. He stopped.  He knew he had about 120 seconds before he lost the light that made this scene magical. Ansel took 110 seconds to set up his 8×10″ camera, took 5 seconds to guess his exposure from… Read More →