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December 5, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Lost. And founds. A contest.

Stupid GPS. Nag. Nag. Redirect! Redirect until embarrassed radio silence after a furious whack.

Should have followed that instinct for a hard right.

Going retro for better results with predictable stars and dusting of the sextant.

West end of Galveston Island. State park. No permissions granted all rights reserved. Copy righted

Of course, if there are no familiar landmarks, it’s much more difficult. (Gulf coast)©

There’s always the option of landmarks, familiar routes, or seat of the pants navigation.

But that doesn’t always go well even for famous explorers like Rene-Robert Cavalier Sieur de La Salle.

(With a name like that, you know he’s bound to have a full wig of curls, but have it on authority that there’s no truth to the rumor that Sally’s Beauty Supplies is a descendent or derivative…)

La Salle is that French guy who explored and claimed for France all the land around the Mississippi River and its’ tributaries. Three years after that, about 1685, he once again sailed from France with four ships and 300 colonists planning to established a settlement at the mouth of the Mississippi in order to block expansion by the English, establish a base to strike Mexico and Spanish shipping, and to establish a warm water port for the French fur trade.

Only he missed it. By about 400 miles. 

Ended up on the South Texas coast.

Minus a ship that had been taken by pirates/deserters (which was later intercepted by the Spanish who weren’t happy to hear about the French being in their backyard…)

Another ship ran aground and sank.

(Hearing that theme song from Gilligan’s Island about now? A three hour tour…)

La Salle landed about 100 miles south of here. But the laAll rights reserved. Copy righted. No permissions granted.Native grasses, scrubby trees, brackish water, and mosquitoes. (This is west end of Galveston Island)

La Salle landed about 100 miles south, but the landscape is basically the same: native grasses, scrubby trees, brackish water, and mosquitoes. ©

The original “Survivor” reality show. (Without commercial breaks) 

Not to be discouraged, La Salle tried to make lemonade out of a sour situation.

(Please let us off this ship. Anywhere. Anywhere. There. That looks like the Mississippi? If it does to you, it does to me. You can go on to China without us. We’ll wait here.)

Fort St. Louis was established. In Texas.

One of the two remaining ships left for France with the frigate La Belle left behind as a lifeline to France.

La Belle was a comfort, until it sank.

Then came the water shortages, rattlesnakes, disease, and attacks by the locals.

Soon there were only 24 left. Women, children, physically handicapped, and men who displeased La Salle were left when he decided to go for help. The remaining colonists were deceived by the Karankawa and slaughtered during Christmas week. A few children were taken and adopted by the tribes. (Much later the Talon Children were rescued and their stories recorded.)

La Salle eventually attempted to hike through East Texas towards New Orleans area with a handful of men. He still thought it was just around the corner…the next one. The next one. Possibly thought the Trinity River was a tributary of the Mississippi.)

Once again, bad turn. 

Having lost faith in their leader after only two months, the men shot him, then deserted to live among the Indians.

Galveston bay waters and shore. all rights reserved. copy righted. No permissions granted

Vast open waters. Shallow saltwater and sandbars. No hope of help.©

A fascinating story that now seems more real. Real and amazing.

In 1995 archeologists realized the lumps under the waters of Matagorda Bay were more than hurricane refuge or railroad ties.

It was La Belle’s keel and large pieces of the frigate buried in six feet of mud.

The Texas Historical Commission working with Texas A&M University built a dam around the wreck, pumped it dry, and gathered the nearly intact hull. Then the timbers were stored in the world’s largest archeologist freezer-dryer to flash freeze all the wood to remove the moisture.

VIDEO of removing La Belle from the mud: Excavation and Preservation.

Now it’s time to get ready for the big reveal next spring.

The Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas is resembling La Belle.

Watch the progress on-line here. (Wed-Fri. 9-5)

Equally fascinating is all the stuff the ship was carrying:

Cooking utensils, tools, building materials, beads, bells, mirrors for trading, tons of Jesuit rings, cannons with dolphin handles, rifles, pewter plates, buttons, ruler, and even pecans.

Everything colonists would need was still in the hold.

Click here to see 67 of over 100 artifacts recovered.

Check out the rat skeleton! (Stowing away can be hazardous)

Real stuff from real people makes it more than just a story in a book.

Wetlands and water bird. no permissions granted. copy righted.

Do you have a reservation? Now by invitation only! Texas State Park©

Lost. And found.

When completed, the entire hull will be encased in a glass structure so visitors can walk just above the deck and look directly down into the hull.

How cool is that?

As close as you can get until they perfect time travel.

Or maybe this isn’t exactly the destination/event you want to pick. Check out the museum video of what was supposed to be a great adventure before you decide.

shadows on beach. all rights reserved. copyrighted. no permissions granted

Molly,”Bet La Salle’s dogs didn’t have to stay on leashes.”
Staff,”Bet those dogs weren’t afraid to get their feet wet either.”©

Ready to find some adventure of your own now?

Someplace sunny and warm? Sailing does sounds nice.

Yacht racing still a bit dangerous. Watch video of recent Volvo Ocean Yacht Race shipwreck into a reef… a modern 65 foot boat , yet…at night….in shark infested waters… (Dramatic videos of Team Vestas ship and crew once day breaks. Official race site. Australian news article here.)

Maybe something with a bit less drama?

How about finding a nice spot to sit down and lose yourself in a Caribbean island mystery? 

Win a free e-book copy of Island in the Clouds from Susan Toy!

Susan has graciously offered, so here’s your chance for a lovely get-away from the frantic holiday mania and warm up from the chilly weather!

Simply leave a comment and tell me how many Easy Walk Harnesses you think Molly has managed to chew through.

Winners will be found in Monday’s post.

Meanwhile don’t get lost in the drizzle or the crowds, watch out for the land sharks in the parking lots, and hope you find wonderful adventures this weekend.

(Inserting that Jaws theme song here….)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Take the safe contest choice or you can try to guess what this is. Nobody did last time. As always, creativity encouraged here.

rainbow. no permission granted. all rights reserved, copyrighted

RC refuses to allow any hints……©















  1. easyweimaraner / Dec 5 2014 2:25 pm

    Molly I’m with you, wet feet are a no-go :o) I’m afraid before La Salle went westwards he “discovered” France too…. that would be the explanation for the worst signage ever :o)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 5 2014 5:08 pm

      That guy was determined to sail to China and the routes he took seem really funny now, but when you consider how they navigated and what they knew of the world’s actual geography, they were pretty amazing…so macho easy to assume they were exactly where they had intended to go…maybe that’s just attitude and positive self esteem.
      Salt water, a no go..but mud’s a different story – especially if there might be the possibility of a mousie or lizard going under the fence. We’ve had heavy sea fog for over 2 days and it’s soggy.
      Want to guess about how many harnesses Molly has redesigned? It took a while to convince almost feral doggy,she needed guidance in the streets….
      Thanks for splashing over a comment and exploring along!


  2. katecrimmins / Dec 5 2014 2:43 pm

    My cats are appalled that Molly has to wear a harness. Of course, they don’t get to walk the beach either. A cat wouldn’t chew it, they would find where you store it and hide it where you’ll never find it like under the refrigerator!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 5 2014 5:12 pm

      RC did a body on the ground protest when we tried a harness on her. She tends to leap up the tallest tree and ignore all request to come down if allowed out. She says harnesses mush her fur. Now, if the the idea of cat harness comes up, she tosses the item to Molly who happily shreds it. See dogs are good for something, she purrs. Thanks for splashing down over here

      Liked by 1 person

      • dogear6 / Dec 6 2014 5:47 am

        One of my Siamese was totally paralyzed when we put a harness on him. Take off the harness, the legs work fine. Put it on, paralyzed cat who couldn’t even stand up. He was quite a booger about it.


  3. pegoleg / Dec 5 2014 3:45 pm

    Thanks for the interesting history lesson. I would never, EVER have volunteered to go explore the unknown. I’m not willing to try new brands of toilet paper.

    As to the mystery picture, it’s obvious. When divers shone their lights into the buried hull of La Belle they found, along with the beads, tools and the like, a huge supply of perfectly preserved caramel corn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 5 2014 5:16 pm

      Toilet paper. The lack of it is enough to deter any exploration! From reading, it looks like countries used colonies as a place to put unruly/annoying teenagers. No wonder the locals got mad – like they didn’t have enough of their own.
      RC is stunned…you don’t know how close you actually are…
      Thanks for sailing by!


  4. Carrie Rubin / Dec 5 2014 5:16 pm

    Hmm, I’m going to guess Molly has chewed through six harnesses. If that number is too high, my deepest apologies to Molly. If it’s too low, than she has my utmost respect.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 5 2014 5:28 pm

      Molly is so smug. At one point we’d finally manage to get a harness on overly excited almost feral dog and by the time we turned back from grabbing the leash to clip on – or from unlocking the door- Razor Tooth Molly would be wiggling with harness streamers hanging off her back. It took a well coordinated team effort to hold, wrap, and click and get out the door without incident. We are on first name basis with several harness companies…Easy Walk offers repairs…and they all have rescue dogs who come to work…and are very kind.
      She had been so abused and tied around body and neck with wire (which she chewed to free herself and hit the streets which seemed kinder at that time) that her throat is so damaged you can’t use collars to walk her. Of course, she felt she was perfectly capable of walking herself without any leash. But she’s figured it out now…unless left alone too long waiting…
      Thanks for anchoring a comment!


      • Carrie Rubin / Dec 5 2014 5:47 pm

        Poor poochie! Patient pet-owners! 😉


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 5 2014 5:56 pm

          Now you see why the last toy’s survival is significant…either it’s very tough or she’s calming down.
          Enjoy the weekend (but watch for land sharks!)

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Littlesundog / Dec 5 2014 7:15 pm

    Ya gotta love a dog who rebels the harness, and truly they get my respect for shredding it! I guess that is just the rebel in me. Looks like the back panel of an aquarium and the gravel/pebble bottom/floor.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 5 2014 8:24 pm

      Molly is wiggling and paw waving wildly. She has yet to understand why she can’t just fling the door open (she can work some door levers – the German taught her) and let herself out to run the streets at will. We do give her a chance to run crazy in fields with friends at least twice a week, but the other days, it’s walk sedately if not in the backyard. She was rescued from an area known for raising dog fighting contestants. Probably not stand a chance against a veteran pit bull fighter, but she’s powerful and smart, so they might have planned her as practice. Rescue people were watching. Once she chewed through the wire they had wrapped around her body and throat, they spent weeks trying to trap her. Finally an elderly neighbor managed to coax her into the house…where I suspect the dog ate furniture, walls, just about anything. Her trachea was so damaged, she can’t wear collars except for identification. We are well known to multiple assorted harness manufacturers – Easy Walk has had pity and repaired numerous ones. They work with rescue groups and bring dogs to work. Great company and good product. Molly finally figure out she had to wear the harness if she wanted to go in the car or go for walks. Almost afraid to hope she’s settled down/gotten less anxious.
      Oh, RC is very impressed with your guess…and nervous…so close…there is a bit of water involved now and then…
      Thanks for swimming along!


  6. Your Moderate Mama / Dec 5 2014 7:38 pm

    As a Texan I thank you for bestowing on me a bit of Texas history!!!


  7. Robin / Dec 5 2014 8:05 pm

    Fascinating story (and history). I love the landscape images, too. As for guessing the last one… hmmm… looks like a piece of a rainbow shining down on some coral.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 8 2014 3:26 pm

      We are both thinking of sunny island scenes. After 3 days of sea fog, finally sun! I don’t think I could live in Alaska with such long long nights and sunless periods. Your guess was actually pretty close. Thanks for exploring and leaving a comment


  8. dogear6 / Dec 6 2014 5:49 am

    Hmm. . . I’d say Molly has chewed through nine of them.

    Want to guess how many seatbelts the Vizsla has eaten? At $550 a crack? Guess who no longer goes for car rides with his Daddy?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 8 2014 3:29 pm

      If you count all the different leashes and harness, you are still low. Sigh. Luckily Molly hasn’t noticed the seatbelts, whew! The back seat is folded down covering those, but the front seat ones hang down….oh, my…so far she’s more worried about getting the sun roof open or nose out the front window. Knocking on wood she doesn’t discover those seatbelts! Thanks for the warning


      • dogear6 / Dec 9 2014 5:58 am

        The Vizsla chewed through three – THREE – seat belts before we grounded him. It’s too bad – my husband misses having the dogs in the car, but it’s just too expensive.

        It is fun watching their ears stream in the wind as we drive!


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 9 2014 4:01 pm

          Three? That does deserve a “go to your room permanently!”
          It’s hard to drive and watch them…and weep as you see they are at it again and you can’t reach them in time. Molly’s doing better…but when she gets overly excited like we are going too slow and she know’s the trail is just ahead, she is tempted. The sunroof distraction works pretty well. Her jowls flap…just ignore that bit of drool flying your way…Thanks for driving in with a comment!

          Liked by 1 person

  9. EllaDee / Dec 6 2014 6:14 am

    What a great time capsule. Nature preserving history for us 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 8 2014 3:32 pm

      That is cool isn’t it. Nature watching out for the foolish children and holding back some toys until they are ready for them? Thanks for splashing over to chat (waaay behind reading posts, but plan to head your way shortly. Stupid cold, then medical issues/doc visits with husband. barely able to get posts out. Hope you guys are merrily going along)


      • EllaDee / Dec 8 2014 6:50 pm

        And it’s that time of the year, I’ve been easing back myself… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Paul / Dec 6 2014 7:35 am

    Man those poor settlers – Whew. The early Europeans to visit just had no idea. Up here in cold Canada a bunch landed in Annaplois Valley in Nova Scotia in the mid 1600’s and they all froze to death the first year. They came again the next year and died of scurvy and such. Each group built a little more on the fort and then died. Sheesh. Not many of our European ancestors did very well here for quite a while – not the same climate or animals or plants.

    It is sad that Molly was abused so badly. One can hardlythink less of her for shredding the harnesses – surprising she doesn’t shred the humans.

    The pic looks like gold outdoor carpeting beside a door that’s open a crack with the sun shining in.

    Give my regards to RC and Molly and may your weekend be great.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 8 2014 3:38 pm

      Those were really brave people – like the space guys now. Totally unknown.
      La Salle actually made it to the Great Lakes area before this venture. He was convinced some tributary of the Mississippi was the route to China. He made a lot of trade agreements with the Native Americans there – and left a son with a tribe up there to learn the languages. Somehow the French did better with getting along with /respected the local inhabitants.
      Molly is a sunny soul – just a wild wild free one…who has decided hanging around a house isn’t so bad – we are accusing her of couch potato behavior…but it’s winter and raining a lot.
      You were so close with your guess! Thanks for puzzling along.


  11. marthaschaefer / Dec 6 2014 1:17 pm

    Mystery picture looks like a prism set near the litter box. RC appreciate a splash of color? Poor Molly, so glad she has a comfortable life now. Thanks for “directing” our attention to this wonderful tale/tail…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 8 2014 3:50 pm

      RC says you must be an interior decorator at heart to realize the importance of beauty everywhere. She sends a gracious paw wave in honor of your wise guess.
      Oops. Molly thought the RC’s paw wave was a “high five” needing her to respond in kind….not a good plan.
      Thanks for sinking the perfect guess through the hoop.

      Liked by 1 person

      • marthaschaefer / Dec 9 2014 2:31 am

        I am honored and humbled, RC

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 9 2014 3:27 pm

          RC Cat:”Of course you are. Obviously you have been trained well by some enlightened creature. Personally We have found hooves much too heavy to trot around in – although there have been times humans have tried to adopt heavy monster footwear and clump around in – as if knowledge is sold by the foot. Yet We are encouraged as such as you do show an appreciation of beauty. A gracious paw wave!”

          Liked by 1 person

  12. susielindau / Dec 6 2014 4:06 pm

    Reflection in a mirror and five!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. jannatwrites / Dec 8 2014 3:14 am

    That museum collection from the La Belle looks fascinating. After so many years, it’s surprising so much stuff survived in fairly decent shape.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 8 2014 3:41 pm

      Old stuff and relic have so many stories. Guess all that mud on the shallow continental shelf has a purpose. Wonder what else is waiting to be found. Thanks for sailing in!


  14. islandeditions / Dec 8 2014 2:45 pm

    Thanks to all who entered the contest to win copies of my novel! I enjoyed reading your comments, had a few good laughs along with you creative people, and agreed with pegoleg about the perfectly preserved caramel corn. What else could that be???


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 8 2014 3:47 pm

      Waving long distance to that warm sunny island in the clouds! This was fun and the answers are very clever. Pegoleg was awfully close: the stuff is preserved and edible…at first, Molly kept investigating saying “What? It’s wheat. All that talk about extra fiber….”
      The rainbow is simply cheerful message each day…RC smugly refuses to reveal the message content….it’s for her, you see.
      Thanks for everything, Susan (now we dreamers are all waiting for your next island novel……)

      Liked by 1 person

  15. jmmcdowell / Dec 10 2014 1:17 pm

    I’m too late for the contests, but I’d love for Molly to feel comfortable and secure enough to give up the chewing habits. That La Belle exhibit should be fascinating! You can bet there were plenty more rats aboard than just the one. The others, though, were probably successful in abandoning the sinking ship. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 10 2014 1:53 pm

      See – you appreciate the rat….must have been a slow one. I’m thinking a rock and roll travel bus (Molly and RC need room and sunny windows) to wander wherever archeologists are digging up dinos and relics. Rolling like a turtle to see it all. Now If I can just win that lottery…Thanks for picking up the party pieces!



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