OF HAMILTON COUNTY
CR617 Pony Truss Bridge
Hamilton County: I love it. Most travelers have no clue what really
lies off the paved roads of Hamilton County. My hat is off to the first settlers
having to hack a pathway for the first time before the advent of TX36 and TX22.
There is some kind of thorn
or thistle vine undergrowth that must have been quite a barrier for horse,
cow, wagon and person trying to pass through this
part of Texas. We have nothing to compare like it out west.
Its thorns are much like that of a rose bush but it grows on a vine about the
thickness of a pencil. Thankfully, I like to wear a pair of old but comfortable
pants on these trips. The thorns tore them up doing damage to my legs and arms.
Even my old boots are scarred. Only biker's leathers might survive this stuff.
Going this time of year avoids the usual crawling, flying and biting critters
that commonly inhabit the area. My problem is, going through these photos, I want
to go right back and do it all over again. - Barclay
Gibson, March, 2008
Thorns & More
A note to Barclay Gibson: Hamilton County Bridges
say, first off, that I love your site; I live in east Tennessee now but I grew
up in north central TX (rural Johnson, Hill, and Somervell counties) and your
magazine/website is one of the first places I turn to when I am feeling deeply
homesick. Please keep doing what you're doing.
Anyway, I do have a specific
reason I am writing to you today. I was looking at the series your photographer,
Barclay Gibson, did of bridges
in Hamilton County, TX, which are lovely. His comments on the thorny undergrowth,
in particular, made me smile. We just called them briars, growing up; I believe
they are a Smilax species but I'm not certain. Anyway, it is indeed a tenaciously
evil plant. He should try to remove some sometime! You can't just cut them down
and expect them not to come right back, and their root system consists of these
hard, woody tubers... heh, sorry, thinking about them got me carried away. Here
on this side of the Mississippi, we have kudzu, which is a nightmare as far as
invasive plants go, but those briars are native, and those thorns are vicious
and I'd honestly rather try to stop kudzu. :)
But yes, I suppose if you
could pass my appreciation on to Mr.
Gibson, and to your other contributors,
I'd be obliged. - Regards, Tracey A. Jones, May 11, 2009