Author Archives: Larry Gfeller

Back Roads Nature–Falcon State Park

Want to get away? Looking for winter warmth and a change of scenery? In Texas, all you have to do is head due south for 5 ½ hours. Yes, it’s a long drive but, unlike Maryland or Rhode Island, when it’s over you’ll still be in Texas! On the Mexican border, Falcon State Park is located between Nuevo Laredo and Hidalgo, Texas on the Rio Grande. While it is definitely a temperate climate, be careful what you wish for.  When we visited in February 2017 the temperature reached… Read More →

Flag Follies

Confusion is a human condition. Whether it be setting the alarm on a modern oven, dealing with foreign call centers or understanding Stephen Hawking’s theories, we are easily muddled. Take, for example, the Mexican national bird.  The Crested Caracara, often referred to as the “Mexican Eagle,” is in fact thought to be the bird depicted on the original national emblem and flag of Mexico.  The modern Mexican emblem and flag show a Golden Eagle.  So what gives? The confusion turns on an old Aztec legend. According to the… Read More →

Miracles Abound

Things that astonish me: live birth, ant communication, the Aurora Borealis and messenger pigeons. In each case, there is this element of amazement—the realization that you are in the presence of a genuine miracle. This Chautauqua is about messenger pigeons. It staggers my imagination that human conflicts could be won or lost based on the actions of pigeons. Modern warfighting technology has outstripped pigeons of course but they turned the tide of many a bygone battle. It goes way back. Julius Caesar reportedly used them during the conquest… Read More →

Backroads Nature–Lost Maples State Natural Area

Cooler days and nights, swirling red and gold leaves, pumpkins, scarecrows and corn mazes are signs that autumn is here. But you don’t have to trek to New England to enjoy a breathtaking palette of fall colors. Right here in Texas—nestled along the Sabinal River about three hours southwest of Bastrop—is the state’s largest stand of Canadian bigtooth maple trees east of the Guadalupe Mountains.  It is, of course, Lost Maples State Natural Area, a beloved weekend trip for many Texans and a popular tourist destination for interstate… Read More →

What’s In a Name?

There are historical figures whose names live on beyond their times. Burleson, Caldwell, McCulloch are but a few who left their mark on our local area. But there is another name, somewhat less known, that helped to forge our early history. There is a Texas State Historical Marker at 115 east Main in Nacogdoches which provides a brief synopsis. It reads:  (1801 – 1873) Creator of the Texas Navy, builder of the first wharf at Galveston. Financial advisor of the Republic of Texas. Senior member of the firm… Read More →