The return to Lost Creek

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: On Dec.05,2006, I published an article about the Mouth of Lost Creek, a favorite spot on the San Saba River for thousands of people seeking the thrill and enjoyment of overnight and weekend camping,fishing and exploring. In this article, I told of one such camping trip when two friends and I explored a deep cave in the hills above the mouth of Lost Creek in 1928. This was a year reminiscent of Floyd Collins, a lad who had a song published about his death in ‘a lonely sandstone cave.’ And, so it is, that 79 years later I am asking you to accompany me on an overnight trip through the magic of imagination to the Mouth of that little Creek that once was Lost.) * * * Once again, in the early morning hours, as I lie near the cozy edge of slumber, I am kept awake by pellets of memories that keep ricocheting around my mind seeking an outlet into a more complete form of recollection. At last, one such pellet settles down in a comfortable and well-known spot where events of the past are legend for people of this area. Now, through the travel agency of imagination, I am going to revisit a favorite fishing, swimming and weekend spot of long ago where even the name, ‘The Mouth of Lost Creek,’ has lent enchantment to the thousands who have camped there. For it is here that one can imagine the existence of other riddles of the past that might be hidden here, along with the mystery of that little’creek. And to youth, besides the fun of swimming and fishing, it held the added attraction of adventure as well as charm, beauty and the possibilities of romance. If this spot is new to you, or if you have not visited it lately, come fly with me on my magic carpet as I attempt to coax from dim recollections, some of the events so enjoyed near the place that once was lost. The way to this place will not be hard to find, for routes recently traveled are not easily forgotten, it is those long ago events that have been dimmed by the past. Our flying carpet, propelled by the witchcraft of imagination, will head for Voca following Highway 71. Soon we are passing over Ron Brodbeck’s home, railroad track and tool and machine company and we notice that his Texas Longhorn steers are doing well. (Hey Ron, the red light is on at your railroad crossing and you are backing up traffic!) As we reach the community of Voca, we reduce the speed of our craft that we might view this old township with its lengthy history, which, I have no doubt, could be obtained from one of the old timers on a very short notice. A short distance beyond this slumbering village, we pass the old abandoned homestead of Marion Deans, and shortly thereafter turn left on the road that leads back to the San Saba River and to the Mouth of Lost Creek. Hovering over this dirt road, which in dry weather allows huge balloons of dust to be towed behind each vehicle, we see the countryside that is covered with blankets of bluebonnets in early spring has now been turned to tan by the heat of full summer. Further down the lane, we fly over irrigated fields that somehow were not logged into my youthful memory book,or could it be that I have some pages missing’ Now we are approaching the low water crossing of theSan Saba, so I guide our craft over the pecan trees along the river bank and settle it down on the large sand bar at the mouth of Lost Creek. We will make campand spend the night here on the sand bar next to thewater for I want you to listen with me to the voice of the river as it ripples over the shallows speaking to the frogs and other river nightlife and hear the croak of that ole catfish we are going to try to catch in the morning. How long has it been since I lay there and listened to that river music at night; since I fished the waters from the crossing to the deep hole at the mouth of the little creek called Lost; since I swam in the deep hole and tried to find bottom’ How long since I sat in the shade of the pecan trees, baited the hook on that old cane pole with a big fat worm with the hope of catching a big catfish. Then, sit with the anticipation of seeing that cork disappear under the water with the swiftness that indicates I have hooked a big’un. Now comes the thrill of the tug and pull on the line as he darts here and there, trying to evade his capture and I hear the voice of my fishing companion as I pull him out of the water saying ‘Oh boy, ain’t he a dandy’ How long since I climbed the high bank on the south side of the river and searched for the cave that led to God knows where, yet provided thrills for youthful foolhardiness’ Would I again, given the opportunity, seek the mystery of what lay beyond the deep and narrow passageways of that cave that in my youth I feared to enter’ And the answer comes forth loud and clear: ‘ Not by the hair of your chinny chin chin, even with Aladdin’s lamp in my hand or his faithful genie by my side would I enter into that sucker again.’ As darkness falls over the camp I wonder: how long has it been since I smelled bacon cooking over an open campfire and drank coffee from that proverbial tin can; why is that little creek which joins the river at this point is called Lost; who lost it; where does it come from and why is it so oft times dry’ These questions are the same as I asked long ago and as yet do not have all of the answers. Perhaps we could find some of those answers were my magic carpet not imaginary, then we could follow the course of that creek, find it’s source and possibly discover the mystery of why it was lost’ At this point, as so often happens, my early morning dreams and fantasies are interrupted by that sometimes dreaded yet anticipated call of my roommate saying, ‘Get up, it’s coffee time.’ Now, I must say to those who accompanied me on my imaginative journey, ‘Sorry folks, but it is time to return to reality, so get off my magic carpet and get home the best way you can.’ See you next trip’ Bill Bodenhamer is a weekly columnist for the Brady Standard-Herald. Email him at bodenhamer@cebridge.net.

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