I Just Can’t Stop Hiking…

DSC_1032I did another couple of hikes over this past weekend.

On Saturday, with the weather so nice out, I decided at the last minute to go back to McKinney Roughs, one of my most favorite of hiking places. I pulled into the Pope Bend Trailhead and apart from a large horse trailer that was loading up several horses getting ready to leave, mine was the only car in the lot. This surprised me somewhat as with the weather as nice as it is for winter in Texas, (60 degrees), I would have thought that more people would have been out.

I knew exactly what trails I wanted to hike and the plan was to take RoadRunner, then on to Coyote Road and finally Yaupon which would bring me back to my starting place. I love the names that LCRA has put on these trails. Definitely adds to the flavor of the hike.

I set off at a good pace which I have to say, my new walking poles help provide taking a few pictures along the way. The Park still has on its winter cloak of brown except in some places where the the grass was already growing up nice and green, a real contrast to the browns. I took several pictures but they are mostly all of the different trails, interesting enough but pretty repetitive.

At the bottom of RoadRunner where it meets up with Coyote Road, there has been a major washout of the main trail with just enough of a walking trail to get around it onto Coyote Road. Maybe this is why the “No Horseback Riding” signs were posted at the gate as the trails that I was on were all very dry. Coyote Road is a steady up hill climb to the top of the park but the walking was good.

When I hit Yaupon, this trail eventually follows Pope Bend Road for a lot of its length. It is a very pleasant walk with a lot more trees and a trail very suitable for walking. I was accompanied for a part of the walk by the sound of two very large dogs fenced in one of the houses on Pope Bend. Occasionally we caught glimpses of each other as the woods opened up but mostly I think they knew I was there by the noise I made. I passed one other young couple going in the opposite direction who were hiking holding hands. Me, I was holding walking poles and needed them to maintain my balance. Oh to be young again and experience the joys of romance and not to mention the ability to not require arms to maintain balance.

I wandered back into the parking lot and mine was still the only car in the lot. My trusty pedometer put me at 6.0 miles. Following my usual custom, I headed back into Bastrop to claim my free drink from Starbucks for my recent birthday and then made it for home.

On Sunday, my friend Gloria called to see If I was interested in going hiking. I felt pretty good even after the  day before’s excursion so I was more than willing to go along. I wanted her and George to visit Reimers Ranch as they have not been there before and the main trails are just right for Nina and Bobby, their two small dogs to walk on.

We met at my house and they followed me to the Ranch which is about 17 miles from my house. There was a large trail bike race going on so there were a lot more cars and people there than normal. I opted to go to the southernmost end of the park out of the way of the crowds and the bikes as I wanted to take the Multi Use Trail towards Johnny’s Homestead, taking in the two overlooks, Pogue Creek and Kelly’s Overlook. George, who suffers from vertigo sometimes brought on even when climbing stairs, could only take a quick glimpse and then he retreated from the edge to a safe distance.

From these two overlooks, I led them to Johnny’s Homestead and explained where the trails led so if they decided to come back again, then would know where to go. We then back tracked until we reached Turkey Loop and I convinced then they should take it as it was much more picturesque. We walked pretty much to the furthermost point and sat and talked for a while. Looking at the map, it showed a lower trail that would lead us back. It was a new one to me as I had never taken it before so we decided to try our luck and set off along what turned out to be a very primitive trail. It was obviously not too well travelled at our end but as we moved along it, we came to the second Mountain Climbing Area and there were several people enjoying themselves at this hazardous sport, hanging off the cliffs and stretching for the next foot or toe hold. We passed another couple who wanted to know if there was a swimming hole back along the trail. They were inquiring for the future as the water would have frozen them really quickly if they had chanced it at this time of the year.

Our trail gradually opened up to a well used trail probably mostly by the mountain climbers and it reached upwards towards the top of the cliffs. The last part of the trail turned into our own mini mountain climbing expedition as it comprised of rocks stacked pretty haphazardly together to form steps. We made it to the top to find both dogs looking down on us as if to say, “What took you so long”.

This had brought us out to the parking lot where we had left the cars. Altogether, we covered 6.0 miles, another grand day of hiking the trails. I did not take any pictures as not much had changed from the few days earlier and on the new trail, it was so difficult, it took all of my time just to walk it.


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