Monday, November 2, 2009

Canyon Lake Gorge

Saturday, October 31

I could not post this on Saturday because I was out of town.  I know I'm not required to write every day; it's just something I like to do.

I spent the weekend in the Hill Country with Bayou City Outdoors.  The morning started with a visit to Wimberly Glassworks to watch a glass blowing demonstration.  This picture from the website shows some of the beatiful pieces they create.

They give free demonstrations Wednesday through Saturday.  There was a problem with the oven they use to bring the glass down slowly to room temperature so that it won't shatter from cooling too quickly.  He created a small drinking mug with a handle instead of something large and complicated because he said it costs 500 dollars an hour to keep his work studio up and running.  If he spent an hour making something large and lost it because the oven wasn't working properly, that would be a loss of 500 dollars. 

He showed us all the different tools and explained how and why they were used.  He even gave us a little history.  Did you know the Romans created glass in much the same way we do it now?  They used hollow metal rods similar to the one below:

Hot glass falls off unless the steel rod is continually rotated:

 Work in progress.  He repeatedly heated the glass in the furnace:

Here is a video from YouTube of the team creating a vase: 

After lunch, we went on a tour of Canyon Lake Gorge:


The gorge was created during a flood in July 2002 when water flowed over the spillway of Canyon Lake for approximately 6 weeks.  The flood killed 9 people, damaged or destroyed 48,000 homes, and caused 1 billion dollars in damages.  It also exposed dinosaur footprints...

...and fossils.  These look like seashells, but they were one-celled creatures:

These are fossils of sea creatures:

Below are tiny spiral-shaped fossils embedded in rock:


I was on my knees trying to get a good shot of the dinosaur prints when I turned my head and saw this guy's camera three inches from my face. 

He was shooting footage for an episode of Texas Parks and Wildlife to air on PBS in April.  He's doing a story on outdoor groups like us (Bayou City Outdoors).  It would probably be more likely that my ultra closeup be aired if I had granted him an interview.  He said he "wanted to talk to as many people as were willing to talk to him" and even said "please" as I was leaving.  There were a lot of people and I thought it would take a long time.   I should have stayed...but I was so hungry...and was a 3 hour hike.     


kenju said...

I love colored glass, and my window sills are full of it. Blenko and other glass from WV are my favorites. That canyon is gorgeous!

Jen said...

I was almost afraid to go because I knew I'd be wanting to buy everything. The gorge was amazing. I'm glad they decided to preserve and protect it.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Loved this visit. I love colored glass and I have alwys said "one of these day" I'd take a glass blowing glass. There's a glass artis on the North Shore that works outside.

The dinosaur stuff was wicked interesting.

Jen said...

@Pseudonymous High School Teacher: A glass artist that works outside is one more reason to visit the islands again. I can't afford it right now, but one day...

Anonymous said...

It would be wishful thinking that the State of Texas would preserve the gorge, which is part of the Hidden Valley fault zone. I'll bet they will drill for oil and natural gas.
It is suggested that carbonate oil reservoirs are represented in this Hidden Valley fault zone.

Anonymous said...

The gorge was not created as recently as 2002, unless the fault that created the area moved the greatest amount in 2002. It may have been filled with water that year.

I suspect the gorge is part of the Hidden Valley Fault which is common in carbonate oil reserves. Right now the area is under study by the Southwest Research Institute.

Jen said...

@Anonymous: It was created by flood water spilling over the dam, not by an earthquake.

Jen said...

@Anonymous: Thank you for the link. That was interesting and informative. The state has yet to make it a state park, and you may be right that it never will, but there is a group of locals that have formed a preservation society. It would be a shame if the dinosaur prints and fossils were destroyed.

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