Actual Nature Along the Actual El Camino Real

by Sue Ann Kendall

Members of our group have been working with members of the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association in preparation for the organization’s annual conference in October, which will be in Milam County at Apache Pass. They are creating a brochure to show wildflowers that you’d see growing on the trail.

The committee has been meeting for a few weeks, and I’d been trying to come (but it’s hard to get time off during work hours!). This week I was able to attend their meeting and see what they’ve been up to. I met with John Pruett from the trail association, along with Linda Jo Conn, Joyce Conner, Catherine Johnson, and Ann Collins.

Some of Ann Collins’s notes on plants.

Wow, so much work has been done! Our Master Naturalist group has spent years gathering data on plants found on the El Camino Real route, and they’ve now got it all gathered up, so we can include it in a brochure people can refer to when they are exploring the marked trail areas throughout Milam County.

Pink evening primrose or pink lady, by Sue Ann Kendall.

In addition, Mike Conner has created a map for us to use in the brochure that will help people find their way from Apache Pass to Sugarloaf Mountain, where the trail passed through Milam County.

Beautiful image of antelope horn by Ann Collins.

I am assigned to make the actual brochure. I’ve collected photos of the plants the committee wants to show information about, the introduction they’ve written, and the cover photo of Linda Jo Conn. We’ll see what I come up with.

The cover image of Linda Jo Conn gathering pink ladies.

The committee would be happy to have other members of the El Camino Real Master Naturalists join them as they get ready for our role in the conference. You get volunteer hours for it!

Hiking the El Camino de los Tejas National Historic Trail in Milam County

By Joyce and Mike Conner

Figure 1: Part of the Previously Discovered Trail

On Saturday, March 9, 2019, thirteen students; their teacher, Dr. Nichole Wiedemann, from the University of Texas School of Architecture; and Steven Gonzales, Director of El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association (ELCAT), arrived at Cedar Hill Ranch in Gause to hike a small part of El Camino de los Tejas National Historic Trail.

Figure 2: Dr. Estell Meets the UT Students

There they met Dr. Lucile Estell who explained how she and the late historian Joy Graham worked to get the approximately 2580 miles of trail nationally recognized as the 19th National Historic Trail in the United States in 2004 and then subsequently worked to get signage placed throughout most of Milam County. (Dr. Estell has authored/co-authored several books including El Camino Real de lost Tejas (Images of America) and Historic Bridges of Milam County; and served on the board of ELCAT for many years since its beginning, including as president and vice-president.)

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