Walking McKinney Roughs April, 2015

Pine Ridge at McKinney Roughs

Pine Ridge at McKinney Roughs

I was walking out in the garden and thinking of all that needed to be done as I surveyed the piles of raked leaves that should be placed around the plants. It was such a beautiful day that I felt it should not be wasted on such mundane things as picking up leaves. So, on the spur of the moment, I packed up my camera bag, grabbed a couple of apples and making sure that my water bottle was full, headed out towards Bastrop and McKinney Roughs, one of my most favorite of hiking places. I was a little concerned as I had been having some knee problems in my right knee and wasn’t sure if it would hold up to a long hike.

I arrived at the Hwy 71 Trail-head and pulled up alongside the gate to the trails. There was only one other car and no horse trailers which surprised me as it was such a beautiful day, I expected everyone to be taking advantage of it. I changed into my hiking boots, attached my water bottle to my belt, slung my camera-pack over my shoulders and grabbed my two Monopods that I use for hiking sticks  and set out along the trail that I thought would bring me to Pine Ridge. I managed to take a wrong turn and instead of heading down the many steps as was my original plan, I ended up going in the opposite direction although still on Pine Ridge.

It was such an exhilarating feeling to be out on the trails and I stopped and took many pictures. Everything was so green with the advent of Spring and the flowers were out in abundance. I rounded a bend in the trail and came upon a small pond of which there are two or three on this trail. I was not expecting or looking for the pond and was not ready when I did come upon it as a beautiful Blue Heron that I had startled, flew up followed immediately by a second one. I missed taking pictures of them as my reaction time was way too slow. It is unusual to see two of them together as they are very territorial and generally fish alone. They must either have been a pair or maybe one of the adults was teaching a youngster how to fish. In either case, I was grateful to see them in their natural surroundings instead of trying to eat the fish out of my ponds…

Buzzzrds at McKinney

Buzzards at McKinney

I continued on along the trail enjoying every minute of it. I could not get over how green everything looked as the last time I was there, it was January and the trees were bare. As I looked in the distance, I could see two buzzards perched in a dead tree very unconcerned that I was walking towards them. They remained there as I changed lenses to a longer distance one so that I could get a couple of pictures. I watched then for ten minutes or so and they totally ignored me. Continuing on, I finally came to the end of Pine Ridge and after a bit of wandering around and backtracking, found Whitetail which I knew would bring me back to my car. I passed one other hiker heading in the opposite direction and we exchanged greetings.

As I followed Whitetail, I came across a huge oak tree that had come down in the storm that had

Rabbit at McKinney

Rabbit at McKinney

passed through a couple of days before. It was completely blocking the trail so I had to make my own detour around it pushing my way through the dense underbrush to meet up with the trail just past the obstruction. At another point in the trail, I came across a small rabbit happily munching away. It let me get to within six feet of it before it slowly hopped away and I got a couple of pictures albeit from the wrong end.

I arrived back to my car which was now the only one in the parking area. I hadn’t realized just how warm the day was until I realized that I was soaked with sweat. I always bring a change of clothing for such occasions having done this long enough to know what to expect.

On my way out, a couple more cars were pulling in and they cheerfully waved to me as we passed. I had hiked about four and a half miles and decided to reward myself by driving into Bastrop to the Starbucks located there and also to celebrate the fact that my knee had not given me any problems at all. The trip home is always so much better with a Latte in my cup holder…

Walking McKinney Roughs April 2015 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Best viewed in full screen.

As I was writing this blog and especially while I was working on the slide show, I could not help but marvel at all of the wonders of Nature. That year after year, these natural cycles of events are happening all around us and I should say, in spite of us as we are not kind to Mother Earth and take everything we have for granted. Of all of the seasons, I love the Spring the most with its re-awakening from the slumbers of Winter. It’s like having a fresh start and a new beginning.

The flowers at McKinney Roughs

The flowers at McKinney Roughs

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