Along with my two friends George and Gloria with their dogs, Nina and Bobbie, we went back to McKinney Roughs this time to hike to the Pecan Tree that was outlined on the travel guide as being almost 200 years old. It was situated on one of the trails we had not yet covered.
This time, in order to find a trail that was a little closer to the Pecan Tree, we stopped by the Trail Head to the Park off Pope Bend Road. This is a very popular entry for the horseback riders and while we were there, at least four trailers were in various stages of loading or unloading the horses. Some had finished their ride and were taking care of the horses by giving them a cool down bath with a hose pipe provided for that purpose while others were in the process of saddling up.
I had a couple of horses in my younger days and very much enjoyed trail riding with them. It seems nowadays that the horses have either grown much bigger or my memories of my riding days have so faded into the past that the size of my horses has shrunk along with the memories. Mine were nowhere near as big. Or maybe it’s me that has shrunk along with my memory.
My friends arrived and we set off along the Buckeye trail heading to the Pecan Tree which we knew was no more than a couple of miles or so in. It was very pleasant walking as it was a little overcast and the trails were all soft going on sandy loam. They contoured up and down and even though it was only a month or so ago from last time we were there, the vegetation has already grown tall with everything so green. The flowers were out in number and it was wonderful taking in the colors.
Even the dogs had an extra spring in their step as they chased back and forth enjoying the smells. They really love it on the trails. At one point, we came across a wood snake about three feet long and the dogs didn’t want anything to do with it at all. Funny how they know what is not good for them…By the way, that is the first snake I have seen in all of the many hikes I have been on. I guess I make enough noise for them to get out-of-the-way.
We arrived at the Pecan Tree and as the sign states, it is over two hundred years old with a girth of fifty-eight inches and almost twelve feet in circumference. It looks old and a little worse for wear but I hope I look that good when I reach that age…I tried to take a picture of it and even laying flat on my back could not do it justice. I ended up changing to a wide-angle lens which did the trick and allowed me to get more of the tree into the picture. Gloria stands about five feet three to give you an idea of the size of the tree. We rested for a while enjoying the tree and then went on our way back along the trail. Turns out there are two more Pecan Trees almost of the same size as we continued along the way. Gloria climbed into the fork of one of them to give the size a bit of perspective. Just wonderful to see trees that old and big still living.
We followed the trail along Pecan Bottom and back along Deep Sandy to Coyote Road. These were all trails we had not hiked before until we hit Road Runner which we recognized from before. The terrain had changed underfoot and now, much of the trail was covered in pebble stones and small rocks. Much harder to walk on.
On the way back along Road Runner, there is a short branch off to the Overlook at Meditation Point which gives a good view into the valley and the river and is one of the highest points in the park. There were a couple of buzzards floating in the wind and it seemed they were directly overhead and very close. It’s wonderful to watch them as they find the air currents and swoop and glide apparently almost without effort.
We finally arrived back to the Trail Head at Pope Bend Road. Several of the trailers had already left and the parkway was a little deserted. Altogether, we had hiked about five and a half miles, a nice comfortable hike. We burned off almost five hundred calories and had the good fortune to have stimulating company, good weather and the opportunity to get close to Nature.
George and Gloria along with Nina and Bobby headed home while I sat for a while just enjoying the solitude before de-touring into Bastrop to the local Starbucks to feed my one and only bad habit once more. Altogether a very fun and pleasant day.