On toward San Antonio

29 03 2011

South Llano River State Park

We’ve just packed up and left South Llano State Park outside of Junction, TX where we spent two nights.  We arrived about 2:30 on Sunday afternoon, found the wireless connectivity to be adequate (cell phones only, no Verizon Broadband) and selected site #21, way back in the far corner of the electric/water loop.  This area of Central Texas is very dry – the camp host said the last measureable rain was back in October!  The leaves are just now showing up on the trees, and most grass areas are still dry winter brown.  But, even with the winter-like conditions, the area is beautiful.  This is a huge birding center – over 250 varieties of birds stop here on their way to points north.  The Rio Grande Turkey is also abundant in the park, having just left their winter roosts, the turkeys can be heard wandering through the scrub oak and Mesquite. There were even a few spotting of this surprisingly agile, quick bird.  Even more surprising is their size – standing fully upright their head must be a good 4 feet off the ground – not something you’d want to get in a fight with!

We’re still one day ahead of schedule after rearranging the route in West Texas.  The original plan was to spend two nights in Davis Mountains State Park, but we’re glad we ended up at South Llano instead.  The 50 or so campgrounds are spaced far apart, some with heavy brush and trees making it impossible to see a neighboring site.  Each site has a fairly long, narrow, level pad with convenient water and power hookups, a picnic table and plenty of shade.  Some of the picnic tables are covered with a wooden gazebo. The camper services building, in the center of the long oval loop has very clean, well lit showers, sinks and toilets.  There is no laundry facility in the park.  There is a convenient dump station at the entrance to the campgrounds. 

Over 500 acres adjacent to the South Llano River are divided into three areas, nearest the river is the turkey roosting area, closed during the winter months, the camping and facilities area in the center and wildlife management area to the east.  This wildlife management area easily constitutes 80% of the park with numerous hiking & biking trails, a scenic overlook and 4 bird blinds.  This was a working cattle ranch until the late 1970’s when it was donated to Texas Parks and Wildlife.  Following infrastructure improvements, the park opened to the public in 1990.

On Monday we enjoyed a break from the traveling routine – working for several hours and exploring the park.  We didn’t manage to say parked all day, due to a short drive into Junction for a few grocery items.   Our plan after leaving South Llano is to make one more overnight stop at Choke Canyon State Park, about 90 miles southeast of San Antonio.  We’ll travel about 200 miles today and then be less than 200 miles from Harlingen, our final destination.  More from Choke Canyon!

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