Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Birthday on the Landa Park Express!

Sunday was my son's 12th birthday!  We have a tradition of taking him to Landa Park in New Braunfels, Texas for his birthday. (By the way, the elementary school where I student taught is in view of the park.) DS grew up loving trains, and this park has a wonderful train ride around the lovely park.  DH told the train conductor it was ds's birthday and he got a free ride!  When he grows up, he'd love to get a job as the train conductor here!



After a picnic lunch and train ride, we headed for the springs.  There aren't a lot of springs in TX.  But in central Texas, an ancient earthquake left huge changes.  Numerous springs from Austin to San Antonio pump water from an aquifer.  This is how we get our water supply, so we watch the aquifer levels daily.  During drought, I have seen these springs dried up.  Heavy rains this summer has caused the springs to flow in abundance this year.  These are the Comal Springs.  They become a stream, emptying into a small lake, which then becomes the Comal River.  At this juncture of the springs, the earthquake left miles to the gulf coast to our south, called the Blackland Prairie.  To our immediate north begins the Hill Country.



Look how crystal clear the water is...


Looking towards the springs...



Further upstream looking towards the springs...



Looking upstream....

 

We usually have a science lesson here, talking about the springs and their formation.  I wasn't even thinking of doing that, since I was so busy taking pictures.  But ds started asking me about specific details, pointing to the diagrams on the signboards.  I told him I have tons of material on the subject at home that we could incorporate into his science lessons.  He's excited about that!  See the paddleboat out there on the lake?



We all got on the same paddle boat and the guys did the paddling.  I had to work at not falling out while I tried to keep my balance and take pictures (I have only 1 balance nerve because of previous head surgery....makes life interesting at times!)

Can anyone identify this fruit????



Turtles sunbathing...



Another sunbather....



Fine feathered friends coming to greet us...



The train...


You can see the play area in the spring fed pool where the water is a constant 68-72 degrees year round...


The first hill of the hill country up ahead...


Impermeable limestone is solid limestone, like in our backyard.  No water from our backyard can seep into the aquifer, even though our house sits on top of the aquifer.

This is permeable limestone that makes up the ground in the recharge zone.  When it rains, water drips through those cracks where it is purified by the time it reaches the underground aquifer.


The lake becomes a river again...you can see the water spilling over the banks...


Looking at the edge of the park at the dam...


Further down river, families often tube....something we've not done yet!  This is the Comal River, the shortest river in Texas.


Giant oak...bet you never thought Texas had trees and water!  I don't know how many people I've met who thought that all of Texas looked like the cowboy movies! 

  

2 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday to your son. What a great tradition! I'd like to do some stuff like that!


    Warmly,

    Lori

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  2. Wow, you take such wonderful pictures Laurie! I think you have a gift! Tell your ds happy birthday from Michigan!!


    Blessings,

    Pam

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