This site shows maps of extant formations from the different epochs. The Palo Pinto Mountains are from the Carboniferous Period, also known as Pennsylvanian.
This next map shows the now almost eroded Oachita Mountain range that formed around the same time as the Palo Pinto Mountains did, maybe from the same contintental squeezing during pangea around 300 million years ago. The Oachita Mountains eventually sank with the Ft. Worth basin. West Texas maintained its altitudinal sedementary plains as water drained through the rivers and creeks of the Palo Pinto Mountains to the sea.
I’ve been searching to understand why the Palo Pinto Mountains stretch southeast to northwest, and why the Brazos flows through them at a cross section, northeast to southwest.
TOPOGRAPHY. The region is one of considerable relief, some of the hills rising to heights of 500 feet above the valley floors. The ruggedness of the surface is produced by a series of escarpments which trend in a northeasterly direction and are formed by the outcropping edges of sandstone and limestone beds that dip at low angles to the northwest. The most prominent of these escarpments, about 200 feet above the adjacent plain, is that formed by the group of limestone beds which caps Kyle Mountain. Northwest of this escarpment the country is very rough and in part is heavily timbered. East of the escarpment is a belt of comparatively open country about 5 miles in width, the surface of which, formed by a limestone bed lower than 54 CONTRIBUTIONS TO ECONOMIC GEOLOGY, 1915, PART II. that which caps Kyle Mountain, is covered only by a growth of mesquite. The eroded edge of this lower limestone bed forms the crest of another escarpment, southeast of which are a series of timbercovered escarpments formed by sandstone strata. The county is crossed from northwest to southeast by Brazos Eiver, which flows in wide intrenched meanders, suggesting that its course was chosen when it flowed on a low-lying and featureless plain, which has since been uplifted and eroded. The present stream valley is comparatively narrow and is bordered by high bluffs. https://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/0621e/report.pdf
After at least an hour of more searching, I finally found a name for these escarpments: Mineral Wells-Newark East Fault System.
Wikipedia has this to say about it: “Major structural features include the Muenster and Red River Arches to the north, and the Bend and Lampasas Arches along the central part of Province 045. Along the east portion is an area that includes the Eastern Shelf and Concho Arch, collectively known as the Concho Platform. The Mineral Wells fault runs northeast-southwest through Palo Pinto, Parker, Wise, Denton Counties and joins with the Newark East fault system. The fault system bisects the Newark East Field (NE-F) creating a zone of poor production in Barnett Shale gas reservoirs. Several faults that cut basement and lower Paleozoic rocks in the southern part of the province are identified at the Ordovician Ellenburger Group stratigraphic level. These faults and associated structures formed during development of the Llano Uplift and Fort Worth Basin with faulting ending by the early Missourian.
I’d been wondering if the Llano Uplift that produced the famous Texas Hillcountry and the very ancient Oachita Mountain chain that went from Big Bend to Arkansas had anything to do with it. They are why the rivers flow the general direction they do, and the Fault is what the Brazos crosses through northwest of me. All this specific information comes from oil field research, not geology college sites which focus on general ages and more famous landmarks like the Rockies and Big Bend. This sad profit motivated research reminds me of how many techno-advances come during wartime.
While George and I took a drive to check out Oaks Crossing, we listened to John Graves’ Goodbye to a River. Turns out Ioni Creek was named for an Indian tribe.
The Red Man liked this section of Texas, now known as Palo Pinto County. Far back in his day and time it was ideal for his living purposes, it was mountainous and had many waterways that made it topographically ideal for his livelihood. Wild game was plentiful and here he lived, hunted, played and fought, until banished in the 1860’s.
The six tribes reported to have lived in this section were the Anadarkos, Ioni, Caddo, Waco, Keechi and Tawacionis. These tribes were united in two separate bands, with each governed by a head chief and each tribe also having its own chief. Chief of the Ioni tribe was Towysh, of the Caddo tribe was Haddebar. These tribes were united under Chief Jose Maria, who was also chief of his tribe, the Anadarkos. Chief of the Keechi tribe was Chachetuck and the chief of the Tawaconis was Ocherash, and these tribes were united under Acaquash, Chief of the Waco tribe. In the six tribes were 1240 Indians and of this number about 240 were warriors.
In June, 1851. Col. Sam Cooper, assistant Adjutant General of the United States, accompanied by Major Sibby and a small company of dragoons, visited the Indian Village on the Brazos on a tour of inspection. The record of his trip is a most interesting one. The party left Ft. Graham on the Brazos in the western hill country, traveling northwesterly. They passed Comanche Peak in Hood County, crossed the Brazos below Littlefield Bend near Parker-Palo Pinto County line. Located here was the valley of the Ioni Village. Fourteen miles father the party reached Ioni Village Bend where they camped for a while. They crossed the river on the north side of the bend and traveled across the prairie to the northeast of where Palo Pinto now stands. They crossed the Brazos again below the mouth of Eagle Creek and continued to Loving Creek where they ate. The Keechi Village was the next stop at Bone Bend. They crossed the Comanche trail a few miles from here, the trail that led to Red River, to the Washita settlement and used by the Comanche in driving stolen horses and mules from one section of the country to buyers in another section.
Col. Cooper thought the establishment of a military post near the Caddo Village where the trail passed would check this traffic. A small band of Delawares and Shawnees were camped on the left bank of the Brazos, two miles from Barnard’s trading house.
The Indians in this section were said by many of the old timers and subsequent historians to have been perhaps the most friendly in the state. Those living in nearby counties were not as friendly as the ones living here. The Indians remained friendly until around 1859 when a band of Indians on a hunting party were attacked by an officer, Captain Garland and a squad of twenty men. After the skirmish four Indian men, three Indian women were killed and the rest wounded. That ended friendly relationships with the whites until the Indians left the county. This was the beginning of their attacks. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txpalopi/oddsnends/1857-1957news/ppmountains.htm
My house is a couple of miles southwest of the watershed border between the Brazos and the Trinity River basins. We are on the Brazos side, and the river itself is only 6 miles southwest of our house. That means that most of the tributary creeks run north from the edge of the Texas hill-country. South of that is the Colorado River basin (east of the Rockies, no relation to the one that formed the Grand Canyon), which is probably more scenic. However the Brazos has its scenic bits too; mostly northwest of here along what’s known as the John Graves Scenic Riverway that flows downstream from the Possum Kingdom dam and the Hwy 16 bridge, through the Palo Pinto “Mountains” 19 miles to the Hwy 4 bridge, which my daughter and I peddle kayaked in one glorious day.
Today I was looking at Trulia properties for sale along the Brazos and found Oaks Crossing road that dead ends on either side of the river, maybe 1/4 of the way between the Hwy 180 and 281 bridges. The highway bridges are pretty far apart, and the land in between is private, so canoe/kayak put in/out places are hard to come by. Apparently this is a public crossing, so maybe I could get picked up there if I put in about 10 miles upstream at Hwy 180. I came across another Brazos River book, Bridges Over the Brazos exerpted by goodreads indicating the crossing was used by pioneers and cattlemen as a shallow crossing spot. If the river is low, one could probably drive across in a high clearance vehicle, but many have gotten stuck trying. I’ll have to check it out.
Turns out that whether they didn’t fit me right or the sole was too flimsy, the Clearwaters made my arches hurt. I finally found a Venice pair in my size and ordered them a 1/2 size smaller than the Clearwaters. They have a thicker sole and much better support. I’ll wear the Clearwaters in the water and the Venice everywhere else.
I have been scouting Keen all terrain water shoes for a while. They are kind of expensive, so I’ve agonized over finding sales and not seeing any in my size. Size 5 people rejoice. The Newports are the most heavy duty, and my husband did find some at Granbury Marina for 40% off. They are a little clunky and heavy, but comfortable. He likes more protection and wears tennis shoes kayaking. Not any more, once it cools off and the ragweed calms down enough for him to go. I really liked the Venice sandals, which are lighter, prettier, and less strappy, but couldn’t find any in my size anywhere, even for full price. Maybe they’re fazing them out. I was about to get the Whisper sandals, which may be pretty enough even for Church and has lots of straps, but which are thinner; until I read that the traction pattern on the Whispers is way less grippy than the Newport or Venice, which share the same tread. Then I clicked on the everysize Clearwater sandals, which turns out to also share the same tread, but with a lighter sole. However they looked as if they tended more to being a water shoe, which I didn’t want them exclusively for. The reviews said otherwise. I ordered these before I read this stellar review on the Keen site, which completely suits my purposes and past experience:
At the beginning of June 2016 I hiked into Havasu Canyon in Arizona for a backpacking/camping trip to Havasu Falls. The hike consists of 11.5 mi of rocky, gravelly, sandy trail one-way. On the way down you drop about 2000 ft in elevation within the first 2 ish miles which consists entirely of switchbacks down a canyon wall. It was awesome and beautiful and fun. And then the blisters set in. By about mile 8 the entire backs of both of my heels were giant blisters. I was wearing non-Keen hiking boots. I never had a problem with these boots before but this was the first big trip I took them on. Anywho, I couldn’t really walk, I was limping, it was bad. Then, my boyfriend suggested that I try wearing the Keen water shoes I brought. THEY SAVED ME. The strap went above my blisters and the back is totally open so I felt no pain at all while wearing them the last few miles to the campground. By the time we had to hike out two days later, I still couldn’t stand to put on my hiking boots, so I just wore these water shoes! They lasted the full 11.5 miles of rocks, gravel, and sand beautifully! My feet were completely comfortable. I just cannot say enough good things about them. I will be buying more pairs when mine wear out, but they’re still in fantastic shape and it looks like they’re going to last a long time! Extremely quality shoes. Absolutely recommend. (The picture I uploaded is of my shoes covered in dust in the parking lot at the trailhead after we hiked out.) Thank you, thank you Keen. Your shoes saved my life.
Took a spin out last night at our neighborhood Tin Top ramp. Recent rains and subsequent blow out dam releases resulted in this.
I looked it up as I was afraid it was chemical, but it’s most likely organic:
- When leaves, twigs or other organic substances fall into water and begin decaying, they release compounds known as surfacants.
- This interaction breaks the surface tension, which in turn allows air to more easily mix with water and creates bubbles. These bubbles congregate as natural foam.
I just downloaded and listened to the first chapter of Goodbye to a River by John Graves with an available audio credit on our Audible account. Here is what Wikipedia says about this book about my closest river:
“Goodbye to a River is a book by John Graves, published in 1960. It is a “semi-historical” account of a canoe trip made by the author during the fall of 1957 down a stretch of the Brazos River in North Central Texas, between Possum Kingdom Damand Lake Whitney. The book presents both the author’s account of the trip itself and numerous stories about the history and settlement of the area around the river and of North Central Texas. The title refers to Graves’ childhood association with the river and the country surrounding it, and his fear of the “drowning” effect that a proposed series of flood-control dams (most notably, Lake Granbury) would have on the river.
Only three of the dams were built on the river, but at one time up to thirteen were proposed at various locations along its course to the Gulf of Mexico. The success ofGoodbye to a River is often cited as a major reason that the proposed dams were never built.
I did not spend my childhood on this river but did spend some time swimming in Lake Whitney proceeded by family campfires before heading back to the city. The only river in Texas I’ve canoed in before my recent Brazos excursions was the Guadelupe during my His Hill Ranch Camp summers from age 15 to 22. I don’t know why I feel at home in the Brazos, but I fell in love with it around 20 years ago when I would take scenic drives around my adopted home town of Weatherford, Texas. The first time was when my ex husband and I were having difficulties and I took our two very young children on a drive to Pecan Plantation in our old hand me down car. This is a gated community on the other side of De Cordova Dam that impounds Lake Granbury. The gatekeeper had pity on me and let me in to see the beautiful estates and stop by an undeveloped space where the river ran close to the road for the kids and I to wade a bit. That was a beautiful respite from my troubles.
Shortly after, I took another similar trip to Horseshoe Bend, a little non-gated community of stilted small homes that is not as well-off. I was very surprised how wide the river was because my previous experiences going over Texas rivers on bridges showed them little more than creeks. This is the drowning effect the dams have had I suppose. In Graves’ book, the Brazos has always had some pretty deep and wide pockets between narrow high spots and rapids. It was the largeness that I experienced that made me love this river in particular instead of rivers in general.
Still, the fact that it’s a Texas river makes it hold more fascination for me than any other river in any other state, whether it is similar or different. If it’s in Texas, it’s mine, if it’s not, it’s borrowed and foreign.
I feel almost as homey about the Guadelupe, Colorado, the Rio Grande, and all the other Texas rivers too. But not the other Texas cities. I don’t think I can call anywhere else but Weatherford home. The other Texas rivers are the waters I’m lead by where my soul is restored, but not the other towns. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.