Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Ennis Bluebonnet Trail is worth the road trip
The invasive bastard cabbage is threatening the future of Texas’ most treasured flower.
This year, unlike the drought-ridden spring of 2011, Texas has been blessed with an abundance of tiny blue and purple flower heads lining its highways and byways. We’d been itching to get a better look at the yearly event firsthand, so this past weekend, we gassed up the car, and headed out of the city on 287 to Ennis, the Official Bluebonnet City of Texas.
Our first stop was to the Ennis Visitors Bureau, where we were greeted warmly and after signing their guest book we were given a map and detailed instructions on where to find the best locations for bluebonnet viewing along the town’s back roads. Armed with our newfound knowledge, it didn’t take long to see what all of the hoopla was about. The vistas along the Bluebonnet trail were breathtaking. The map took us on three separate trail routes through farmlands and small, almost forgotten towns before landing us right where we began.
Although there was plenty to see and photograph this past weekend, we were assured that the best was yet to come. The Visitors Bureau estimates that the peak of the season will be somewhere between the first and second weekend of April.
The city’s annual bluebonnet festival is scheduled for April 21 and more details can be found on the city’s website. Don’t be mistaken, however, into thinking that bluebonnets are all that Ennis has to offer. The quaint, picturesque town is a great getaway for those looking for a day trip away from the city.
In May, Ennis will host its 46th annual National Polka Festival, and in the fall and winter months they keep the celebrations happening with their Autumn Days (October), a Holiday Celebration of Lights at Christmastime, and in February the town proudly shows its roots, with its annual Czech Music Festival.
Sadly, however, while traveling the backroads we were not only greeted by a profusion of blue and red from the bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes, but also a wide spread sea of yellow. The effect was stunning for the camera, but upon arriving home we saw a news report about the invasive bastard cabbage that is threatening the future of Texas’ most treasured flower. I am not a botanist, so I’m not absolutely sure that what we saw was the dreaded plant shown on the newscast, or a less-threatening variant, but it was similar enough that it made me take notice. It was an eye-opening reminder as to just how fragile our eco-system is, and how something so treasured as Texas’ state flower could be gone so quickly if we aren’t diligent.
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