Another hike at McKinney


Gloria and George (holding Nina).

My friends, Gloria and George called me to see if I was interested in a short hike at McKinney Roughs. The weather was cool and very clear and the sun was shining although it didn’t have a great deal of warmth in it. The temperature was around 50 degrees, pretty good for a winter’s day in Texas.

I jumped at the opportunity to go out with them and we all met at the Hwy 71 Trailhead entrance. The sign said that the trails were open to hikers and closed to horses and it would be muddy in places. Both George and I changed into our hiking boots ready to brave whatever the Roughs could throw at us this fine day. I grabbed my camera and hiking stick and we set off with both dogs, Nina and Bobby leading the way. There were a couple of other cars in the parking lot and others were pulling in as we set off. This is a very popular place to hike with well kept trails, tall trees and great views.

I didn’t expect to take many pictures as there are no blooming flowers and the birds and wildlife are pretty scarce. The buzzards were flying overhead and the usual pair were perched up in one of the dead trees as they rested. McKinney Roughs as with all other places in my part of Texas, has its winter cloak on with not much in the way of greenery except for the grass which was exceptionally green.  We have not had any frosts yet which accounts for the very green grass. The rest of the vegetation was many shades of brown.

When we go out walking, I seem to be the one deciding which trails we should take. I guess it’s because I have walked most of them before and I act like I know where I’m going. This time, I took them on a couple of trails that they had not walked before and we found one that I had not been on (Woodland Ridge) which judging by the gravel path and the number of benches parked along the trail, must be the principle trail for walkers just looking to get exercise and fresh air without braving the longer and more difficult trails.

We started off walking Whitetail and then branched off onto Foxtail for a short distance before hitting Riverside which is one of the main trails in the park. This led us downhill towards the river but I didn’t want to go all the way to the bottom as I knew that trail would be pretty wet and muddy. As it was, we ran into several muddy areas on Bluestem and Bluff Trails Loop. George commented that we were carrying around another 5 pounds of mud on each foot which would strengthen our muscles. Me, I thought it would make them more tired than usual. We lost the mud when we got onto Woodland Ridge which is the well finished gravel path I mentioned earlier. This brought us back to the Main Office area and parking lots of the main complex but as we were not parked in this area, we stayed on the trails taking  Foxtail and then Whitetail back to our cars.

MonarchWe covered about 7 1/2 miles by my trusty pedometer and burned a little under 400 calories, which as Gloria pointed out, is equal to one piece of pie. We passed a few walkers all going in the opposite direction and all mentioned the beauty of the weather and the surroundings. At one point, Gloria who had on a bright yellow windcheater stopped and an Monarch  butterfly landed on her. It stayed there long enough for me to take pictures before flying onto her hat for another photo session.

The dogs, Nina and Bobby had a great time. It was interesting as Nina, who is a small Chihuahua, wanted George to carry her early in the walk but as we walked on, seemed to get more and more energy and towards the end,DSC_0780 she and Bobby were racing ahead, chasing each other and generally having a fine old time. As you may have guessed, we were on the homeward trail when Nina came to life.

When we arrived back at the Trailhead, there were many more cars in the lot. Not surprising on such a beautiful day and one of the groups that we had met on the trail, walked in behind us. We chatted for a bit and they commented on how much they like this park, as we do.

My friends went home with two very tired and happy dogs. Me, I headed into Bastrop for my usual stop at Starbucks and with a Grande Latte in my hand, made the drive home. Gloria’s comment about the calories we burned measuring up to one piece of pie got me thinking so I just had to make a small detour to Whole Foods and picked up a couple of Cherry turnovers for my desert. It was as though my car has a mind of its own and like the way it can’t pass a Starbucks without stopping for a Latte, I am afraid that it now will not go past Whole Foods without stopping for turnovers.

All in all, another very enjoyable walk out with my friends enjoying the beauties of Nature. What more could a man ask for…..

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