A picture of Sulfur Creek
Photo by Mary Gibson

West of Austin, Texas, USA, the rolling hills break with steep, rocky canyons. Because of our abundant rain fall, the floors of these canyons are creased with small streams. Some are seasonal, running only in the spring when our rains are heavy or in the summer when a thunderstorm fills the hills with the sound of cannons. Some, like Sulfur Creek are spring fed. Seep springs or bubbling holes in the stream bed keep the meandering limestone creek beds damp and the banks covered with moss and ferns.

Ferns along the creek
Photo by David Gibson

Sulfur Creek is fed by many small springs that trickle almost unnoticed from the layers of rock on the hill sides. Clumps of fern and black stain on the rock are the clue that here the sulfur laden water has found a route to the surface.

If you are bold, you may cup your hands under the heavier of the drips and smell the strong, rotten-egg odor of the water. If you are foolhardy and in need an intestinal purge, you can drink it.

Sulfur Creek rises in the hills to the south of the Gibson's place. It is a short stream as streams go. It meanders through the Boondocks and Big Country subdivisions, is caught by an earthen dam or two, picks up the seepage from septic drain fields, and generally is mistreated by its human neighbors. It empties into Barton Creek near the Hays-Travis County line.

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