Friday, April 6, 2012

Coke County Wildflowers

Rick Smith is a feature writer for our local newspaper, The San Angelo Standard Times. I've enjoyed Rick's columns since we first moved to the area in the early 1990s. Recently, Rick has written two columns about wildflowers. Back on March 29th, Rick wrote "Hills Are Alive with Wildflowers" about the best places to view wildflowers in the Hill Country.

In yesterday's paper, Rick wrote "Stop and Smell the Bluebonnets, Near or Far". The article outlines a route heading north out of San Angelo up to the neighboring community of Robert Lee in Coke County that might offer the best wildflower viewing in the Concho Valley. Sounds like a day trip to me, so Donna and I hopped in the truck this morning and went in search of West Texas bluebonnets.

Robert Lee is about 30 miles north of San Angelo on state highway 208. It's a nice drive. About 10 miles out, the country begins to change. There seem to be more trees in that area, and there are certainly more hills.

High point about halfway to Robert Lee. You can see the highway curving in the distance.
 We saw isolated patches of wildflowers, mainly bluebonnets, from time to time on our trip. The best area was just outside of Robert Lee on a side road.

Bluebonnets along FM 2034, just south of Robert Lee. This picture looks due south.
Close up of an isolated stand of bluebonnets
After viewing the wildflowers, we drove around Robert Lee. We have passed through here numerous times in the past, but have never taken the time to look around town. Robert Lee is a small community of about 1,000 people, and the school facility is very attractive. There are few businesses in town, and I would suppose the residents drive to San Angelo for almost everything.

The town is located just north of the Colorado River, which is little more than a ditch at this location. Still, it is significant enough to have formed Lake E. V. Spence just to the west of the city. Unfortunately, that lake is now almost empty, containing less than 1% of its capacity. On top of that, the lake has provided the town its only source of water for years, so Robert Lee is suffering greatly now. The town has rushed to complete a 12-mile pipeline to the neighboring community of Bronte for water; until its completion, water has had to be trucked in.

In the meantime, residents of Robert Lee have cut back water use 80%.

We really need some extended rains.

No comments:

Post a Comment