Welcome to the Beautiful Frio Cielo Ranch
Nestled in the ancient canyon west of Jim Bowie's silver mine, between the Nueces and Frio canyons is a picturesque hidden valley, the Dry Frio Canyon, also called the Seco Frio. Though its name is Dry Frio, the river is not dry. It's called that because in places the water runs under the surface of gravel so that the river appears dry there, only to reappear as a running stream where the bed rock is once again at the surface further down the canyon. It's part of the character of the Texas Hill Country - "intermittent rivers."
Miles and miles of curving road crosses the river seven times, and is often so close to the water that you worry that any dark cloud may threaten your ability to get out safely in the morning. At times some have not gotten out safely. In October of 1998 there was a flood that washed away a 4x4 truck off of the first river crossing in the lower canyon, with one death. It's beautiful, but can be powerful if we don't respect the forces of nature. Occasional floods are part of what we live with, usually peaceably. Even the floods are awe inspiring.
Over the eons, a megalith, the great Edwards Plateau has slowly risen from the earth more than a thousand feet above sea level. As it rises, the edges erode into hills and canyons called the Hill Country. The Hill Country begins in south west Texas north of Del Rio and runs eastward toward San Antonio, then curves northward before reaching San Antonio. Then the Hill Country lies west of a north-south line that passes just on the west side of Austin. The demarcation line, the Balcones Fault, is at the MoPac highway in Austin. Then north of Austin, the Hills again eventually curve westward passing near Glen Rose where dinosaur tracks can be found in the limestone creek beds. This is the Texas Hill Country--a great crescent that forms a backward "C" in the heart of Texas. In places it is breathtakingly beautiful, and the Dry Frio Canyon is one of those places.
The Frio Cielo Ranch is about a square mile of land that lies astraddle of the Dry Frio River which is not dry, but is moderately cold (frio). Feels good to walk in the river on a hot summer day and feel the spring-fed water coming out of the river bank just up-stream from the river crossing on the ranch.
Indians lived on this land and occasionally artifacts of their presence can be found. So too did early settlers, and remnants of their lives also remain here. More than the objects, there are families--the Heards, the Comstocks and others--who were canyon pioneers. Some of us remember Sid Heard who at an age well over 90 could dance a jig and tell stories of Indians in the canyon from his personal recollections.