The Bandera Courier
Bandera Courier
Thursday December 14, 2017
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2016-01-21

Spanish trails, cairns

Feather Wilson

Early Spanish trails in Texas were marked by rock cairns.
One Spanish trail did come through Bandera leading from Hondo to Hunt or Jumano in Kerr County through Bandera.
Another trail led up the Rio Hondo to Hondo Cañon near Tarpley and on to Jumano.
There were trails that began in San Antonio and led to the Llano region.
The most well known trail in South Texas was the Camino Real Trail. This trail had two branches that joined near present day Castroville. One branch extended from Laredo and the other from Guerrero across the Rio Grande. Guerrero is located between Eagle Pass and Laredo and was the site of San Juan Bautista missions and military garrison. This crossing was known as the gateway to Texas and San Antonio. It is the trail that Santa Anna took in 1835 to defeat the Alamo participants.
An early Spanish trail extended from Florida across Texas and toward California. This trail was known as the Old Spanish Trail or OST.
The Bandera OST restaurant was established in 1923 and named after the trail.
The OST Trail did not pass through Bandera. The Texas portion split into two routes. One route ran roughly parallel to the present Texas State Hwy 21 from East Texas to San Antonio. At San Antonio it split with one branch leading west along the present day Hwy 90 and the other up IH-10.
Spanish rock cairn trail markers have been found across Bandera County, primarily on top of high hills. Most had a hole at the top of the cairn to support a flag or bandera. Other rock cairns may have been present in the valleys, but they have largely been destroyed in fields and turned into rock fences.
If you find a rock cairn on your property, you are encouraged to report the location to this columnist, who is preparing a Bandera rock cairn map.


Weekly Rainfall = 0.18" Cumulative Rainfall = 0.86"
Departure From Normal = -0.87"
Tarpley Glen Rose WL = -32.15'
Bandera Hosston WL = -440.55'
Hondo Creek Flow = 13.00 cfs
Medina (USGS) Flow = 102.00 cfs
Medina (USGS) Lake = -17.11'
High (F°) = 74º
Low (F°) = 28º
01-12-16 @ 8:00 am