Saturday, February 19, 2011

Landa Park, New Braunfels, Texas

This park is a very scenic recreation area situated among crystal springs. From these springs, the largest in the state of Texas, flows the Comal river which is the shortest river in the state (its length is 2.5miles). We had a very enjoyable walk around the park. We first searched out the location of the springs where we were surprised to see a biologist exploring its depths. He had nets which he was using to capture the salamanders, bugs and small fish which wander out and die at the mouth of the cave pictured below. He stated that there were about 100 different species to be found in the springs and one of the goals of his research was to discover if they were of the same species which are found in other springs located in the area.
 While we were standing at the springs we heard two owls calling back and forth to each other. Texas is great for birding during the winter months. I have enjoyed the many different birds songs which I have heard in the month or so we have been here. It has been difficult for me to identify them as they are forever swooping and darting about. It probably requires me to take some quiet time under a tree to do that. Speaking of trees, the live oaks are awesome around here. In Landa Park there is a tree called "Founders Oak" which probably dates from the 1700s. Early settlers claimed Indian legend was that the oak's top branches were bent horizontally(when it was a young tree) to show the direction to follow for those coming later.
German settlers founded the town of New Braunsfels in the 1850s. The abundant water supply from the springs made for some very successful ranching and farming. The German influence is still seen today in its traditions and culture. The city is famous for its sausages and breads. We stopped for supper at the Friesenhaus Restaurant, a mural on its outside wall is pictured below.

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