McKinney Roughs, Bastrop – An LCRA Park
This was the first of the trio and I have been to McKinney Roughs many times and have yet to be disappointed. The trails are generally in good shape and provide different vistas with the river bottom trails all the way to Bobcat Ridge and Pine Ridge. I called ahead to see if the Park had re-opened after the recent heavy floods and was told that there was a race going on but I was more than welcome to come and enjoy the trails, even the ones used by the athletes.
I packed my new camera, refilled my water bottle and selected some fruit for energy and arrived at the Park about 45 minutes later. I chose to go in the Hwy 71 Trail Head where to my surprise, I found several primitive campers. I hadn’t realized that they allowed camping but it certainly makes a lot of sense especially with the weather as nice as it is and there is plenty of room at this Trailhead. I had previously mapped out a route to take that would get me onto some of the smaller trails that I had not hiked before. As with most trail systems, there is always some redundancy and to get to new trails meant covering the old ones. I took the Whitetail Trail which would take me past a couple of ponds. On a previous hike, I had encountered two Blue Herons that had been feeding at one of them but had been too slow to react to take any pictures. It is unusual to see a pair of Herons in the same place as they are very territorial. The might have been a pair, male and female or one of them may have been a younger bird being shown the ropes. This time I was ready and tried to approach the pond as quietly as I could. However, I was out of luck as there were no Herons or any other bird life at either of the ponds.
From Whitetail, I took Pine Ridge to Foxtail and then to Riverside which is one of the main trails. As I was hiking along, several runners were passing me and except for those out of breath, the majority said hello as they raced on by. They appeared to be of all ages and both genders and a couple passed me more than once. The trails were all marked by blue tape so that the runners would know which ones to take. One of the runners, passed me for the second time only this time, he was walking. We got into a conversation and he had a strong British accent, much worse than mine. Turns out, he was from Bristol which is in the West of England. I asked him about the race as it was not making any sense to me. He said that he had finished his run as he was doing the 5K. Apparently, there were several different categories in terms of length 5K, 7K, 12K, 80K and one that was based on time, 12 hours of running. We chatted on for a bit and then went our separate ways, him to the Main Parking Area and me to continue with my hike.
I branched off Riverside onto a new trail (for me), Bluff Trail Loop which proved to be very interesting as it was both high and low so the views were both of panoramic vistas and valley trails. Bluff Trail Loop led me back onto Riverside and then Coyote Road, a long, steady up hill climb heading back to the main Parking Lot.
I turned off onto Bobcat Ridge and then back to my car via Whitetail. I covered around 8 miles altogether and arrived back to my car a tired and very happy hiker.
Along the way, I stopped to take pictures of anything that I thought might be interesting. The leaves are changing color and the long grass is turned brown. There are only a few flowers brave enough to still be blooming and they were in the very last stages. Even though I have taken many pictures of this Park, I can always find something new that I find interesting enough to raise my camera.
I think one of the reasons that I like McKinney Roughs is the short drive into Bastrop to the Starbucks located there and this hike was no exception. It was one very happy and tired hiker sipping on a non fat Latte that made the long drive of 45 miles back to my house.
If you click on the first (or any) of the pictures, it will enlarge the pictures into a slide show that you can scroll along by using the side arrows. Use your escape button to get back.