Yesterday (Thursday), we set out on Highway 853, locally known as Arden Road. It heads due west out of Angelo. About 20 miles later it takes a sharp curve south to head just outside Mertzon. There once was a community called Arden about 15 miles west. It was located on the west bank of West Rocky Creek, a small creek which normally has a few pools of water. The little community at one time had a school, post office, and 3 Protestant denominations, but it declined about World War II.
|I believe these are blackbucks, or Indian antelopes. We spotted them about 5 miles west of Angelo on 853. Look closely and you'll see one turned away at left of picture.|
|Looking east at the dry Middle Concho River just past Arden.|
When we reached US 67 just north of Mertzon, we crossed the highway and continued towards the old community of Sherwood on County Road 202. We soon crossed Spring Creek on a low-water crossing, where I snapped the picture below. This area is like an oasis for us. Not only does Spring Creek normally have good water flow, but there are big trees along its bank, even extending as much as a mile or more away from the creek bed. You learn to appreciate places like this in the arid and largely treeless west.
|Low-water crossing over Spring Creek. Note pecan trees along bank.|
|Spring Creek along the Sherwood Loop crossing.|
|Current Irion County Courthouse sits alone on a hill a couple of blocks west of US 67.|
|Spring Creek, looking downstream, from bridge on RR 915. Not much water here, but at least there are some nice trees.|
We made a short run through Eldorado, a small town of fewer than 2,000 souls. Eldorado gained some national attention a few years ago because of the raid on the Yearning for Zion ranch in 2008. Warren Jeffs had located his followers here, but there were charges of physical and sexual abuse, spurring the raid by various law enforcement agencies. The ranch is located just north of Eldorado.
|Schleicher County Courthouse in Eldorado|
|Old jail in Eldorado|
It was then just a short 12 miles or so to Christoval, where we stopped for lunch at Cooper's BBQ. I'll review that establishment in a separate entry. The town of Christoval is interesting. It straddles the South Concho River, a spring fed river with good water flow, certainly better than either the Middle Concho or the North Concho. The mineral waters attracted tourists in the old days, and bath houses were established. The land along the river was also a popular place for religious encampments, some drawing large crowds. But flooding prior to WWII caused the area to decline. Christoval is also known as the home of Jack Pardee, who was an All-American linebacker at Texas A&M and a two-time All-Pro with the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins. He was also a noted coach, both at the college and pro levels.
|Low water crossing over South Concho River. Don't worry, you can take the bridge in the picture if the water bothers you.|
|Looking downstream at South Concho River from park in Christoval. Since the South Concho actually flows north, downstream means we are looking north.|
|Looking upstream (south) at South Concho River from city park in Christoval.|
From Christoval, we took FM 2335 west, then north, to the old community of Knickerbocker. This small community lies near Dove Creek, a fresh water source. Among historians, Knickerbocker is known as the home of a number of outlaws of the old West, including the Ketchem Brothers (Tom and Sam) and Laura Bullion (girl friend of Ben Kilpatrick of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch).
We finished our little road trip by taking Knickerbocker Road back to San Angelo. We eventually crossed Twin Buttes dam, and I snapped the 2 pictures below. These pictures were taken from the opposite shore as those snapped about 2 weeks earlier in "Twin Buttes Reservoir".
|This is the connecting channel between the North and South Pools of Twin Buttes Reservoir. I have seen this channel with much more water (in the 1990s), but I've also seen it dry. Right now, there is just a ditch, more or less.|
|The North Pool of Twin Buttes is visible in the distance. The connecting channel is below to the left.|