Llano River Weekend
April 26-27, 2014
by Louis Aulbach
This past weekend, the last one of April, Dana Enos and Robert Killian and I decided to take a short trip to Fredericksburg where Robert has a house in the historic district downtown. Our plan was to catch the re-enactment of the Pacific war front of WWII, and to paddle the upper section of the South Llano River before the heat of summer begins in earnest. So, we drove up to Fredericksburg on Friday afternoon. Robert fixed a fine meal and after dinner, he led us on a walking tour of the historic downtown.
Robert's house is a historic "Sunday" house that was common for the early settlers of this part of Texas. Have a house in town for the weekend, but work all week on the farm in the country (TSHA: Sunday Houses). As such, these accommodations tend to be rather small, but cozy. Check out the kitchen and breakfast room in the photo album below:
We also had a chance to stop by the site of Fort Martin Scott, and a painting of the old farm on the site along with the history of the fort is included in the above album.
On Saturday morning, we walked over to the National Museum of the Pacific War where we took a quick look at the traveling exhibit in the lobby before walking about four blocks east to the outdoor Pacific Combat Zone outdoor exhibit where the re-enactment was taking place this weekend. Re-enacters depict the US assault on the islands of the Pacific during WWII in the most amazingly realistic way. On this day, about 100 people jammed the bleachers in front of the exhibit to hear and see the story of the war. The story includes a display and demonstration (using blanks) of the types of weapons used by the US Marines as they landed on the islands and attempted to capture the beachhead. It was quite interesting to learn the explanations for the use of special weapons and teams in combat. See the link below for the images of the performance. I hope I remembered the correct name of each of the weapons demonstrated.
Fredericksburg - Pacific War Reenactment
After lunch on Saturday, we drove over to the LBJ Ranch National Park. Since the passing of Lady Bird Johnson, the NPS has opened the ranch house for tours. We made the last tour of the day, but it was quite interesting. The house remains in the same condition that it was in when Johnson was president. Only one room is not done that way. Lady Bird continued to live in the house until her death in 2007, so her room is the way it was when she lived there in her later years. No photos are allowed inside the house, so you can see a few of the views on the outside. Both LBJ and Lady Bird are buried in the Johnson Family Cemetery which is only a short distance from the ranch house.
Across the river from the LBJ Ranch is the Sauer-Beckmann Ranch. This historic ranch was owned by neighbors of the Johnson families. Today, the ranch is operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as a living history ranch. It remains a working ranch just as it was in 1915. They raise animals, grow crops and cook and work on the farm, just as the owners originally did for decades. Take a look at some of the early 20th century tools, cooking implements and dishes.
On Sunday, we drove to Junction and the First Crossing over the South Llano River which is about 16 miles south of the town. Our plan was to run the river from First Crossing to the entrance to South Llano State Park, a distance of about ten miles. The flow was low at 56 cfs, and we were concerned that we might not have enough water. Nevertheless, there was sufficient water for a good trip. We did have to drag the boats a half dozen times or so when the river was too shallow to run the riffles. Each of us brought our fishing rods and we tried to bring home a nice fish dinner. We had no luck, however. Nada. Fishing slowed us down a bit, but, even at that, our trip took exactly six hours. At about 100 cfs, this section would be an excellent moving water trip. The rapids are gentle and the swift currents are forgiving. It is beautiful river with excellent scenery.
Llano River April 28, 2014
Definitely a great weekend!
|The author, Louis Aulbach