Waterfalls and Armadillos

I went hiking in Colorado Bend State Park Texas and I thought it would be nice to go see the waterfalls. They aren’t huge waterfalls, but it is nice hiking anyway.

Waterfalls

The first trail I went up was the Spicewood Springs trail. This trail has a lot of small waterfalls along the rocky trail up to a cliff face. At a few places you have to carefully step across the rocks in the creek to cross over and it can be kind of slippery. It was a very clear and sunny day, which made for very contrasted photos, so none of them turned out especially great. Below is my favorite photo from this trail; it is a 6 second exposure to blur out the waterfall.

Waterfall on Spicewood Springs Hiking Trail

The main waterfall in the park is at Gorman Falls and is at the bottom of a rocky climb down a cliff. Gorman Falls was barely flowing and wasn’t even worth a picture, but I enjoyed the hike anyway and the weather was nice. I did climb down to the river and take a few long exposures of the rushing water. I guess I really wanted to take long exposures. Below is a 20 second exposure of the river. On the cliff in the distance in the middle of the frame, there is an overlook you can hike to. It was getting too late to make that hike on this afternoon and the sun was setting by the time I got back to my car.

The Colorado River

Armadillos

If you go hiking along the river at Colorado Bend State Park, you will likely see several armadillos. The armadillo really is an odd little animal. They are almost oblivious to your presence unless you make a lot of noise. I have had them walk right in front of me almost to my boot and then keep going as if I wasn’t even there, but if I make much noise they make a run for the brush. I have walked up almost on top of them along the hiking trail without paying attention and they often don’t even notice me and I am a member of their most significant predator species. Though humans are mainly only a danger to them while we are driving a vehicle.

They’re also funny to look at and watch. They have this leathery sort of shell and armored tail and they kind of take off hopping kind of like a rabbit when they run. I read that the Aztec word for armadillo translates to “turtle-rabbit”, which seems to be an apt description. I guess one reason that they look so out-of-place here is that they are out-of-place.

Armadillos trace their roots back to South America and migrated north when the isthmus of Panama formed about 4 million years ago. Since then they have slowly made their way north and can be found over much of the southeastern United States and even up into the plains. I think that they are projected to eventually colonize some northern states like Ohio and Pennsylvania but they can’t tolerate much colder than that. I don’t know how common they are in other states, but they are all over Texas and often run out in front of cars.

In the photo below, the armadillo cluelessly poses in good sunlight while I take several photos of it from a couple of yards away.

The kind of armadillo we get here is called the nine-banded long-nosed armadillo. They are apparently a distant relative of the ant-eater and sloth. They will root around in the brush and leaves looking for bugs and worms to eat. As you walk along the trail at the park, you can hear them in the leaves rooting around and often you can see their long banded tail sticking out of the ground clutter.

They can also dig a hole quite rapidly with those digging claws, and once they are in their hole they are well protected from predators that lack tool-use abilities. When I was a boy, we chased one down and my dad dug it out with a shovel just for fun. He pulled it out with thick gloves on and we had a look at it before he let it go. Anyway, just an odd looking animal when you stop and think about it.

Silhouettes

On the drive back home, I noticed the sunset through the barren trees and felt compelled to take some silhouette photos from the side of the road. I just love a blue hour silhouette.

Roadside Silhouette

Thanks for reading.

42 thoughts on “Waterfalls and Armadillos

  1. I really love armadillos. Their ancestors in the Pleistocene era were called Glyptodons, and they were about the size of a VW Beetle. There’s evidence that the shells were used by early humans for shelter. Unfortunately, today’s armadillos aren’t going to do much to solve the human housing crisis, but it would be interesting to know whether other creatures still use the shells in that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that sunset photo is spectacular. One of your best.

    We don’t have armadillos in California, that I’m aware of. It’s too bad, because I like them. Are they any match for dogs, when dogs attack them?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know, they can run and dig a hole in an amazingly short amount of time. When I was a kid we had a lot of dogs and they brought home rabbits and skunks and such that they had caught, but never an armadillo.

      If you ever do get some armadillos in California, you will soon have millions of them. I don’t think they can make it across the desert on their own though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am used to “holes”, I get myself in them all the time.
        Brad wouldn’t be too happy about holes in the yard, but I would still like to see them up close. See them while hiking , then no holes to worry about. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

            1. At least I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow. I work overnight tonight so will be under my warm covers. tomorrow. I just dread lesving work tomorrow morning. I am sure that stepping outside will wake me up quickly!

              Liked by 1 person

            2. I am still trying to get that awful taste of my mouth when I accidentally took a gulp of black coffee!

              Oh gosh! I hope you don’t lose sleep tonight wondering if you are a vampire. I have had plenty of experience with seeing my breath so no worries there.

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            3. Welll…..it is Cara that serves the coffee if you haven’t noticed. It takes a special touch to make such delicious coffee. But you could probably handle making the eggs,bacon and sausage. As long as you don’t burn it when needing to check on your “luxurious” hair.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t know much about armadillos before, so thatnks for filling me in. I guess they are relatively harmless to humans? That name does sound like it fits it perfectly. too bad there were no waterfalls…

    Like

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