McKinney, On with the walk, May 2016

DSC_2062After I finished taking all of images posted in the previous blog, I changed lenses and put the 16-300mm Tamron back on again as I wanted to take more of a variety of pictures. This lens allows me to do that.

I followed Pine Ridge for a bit and then suddenly realized that I had not brought a map with me. I know the trails fairly well having hiked there so many times but did not want to rely on my failing and not too clever memory to get me back to my car. I knew that if I changed over to Whitetail, it would bring me to the main office.  Technically, those trails don’t really join but in a couple of places are so close together that it was just a matter of taking a few steps from one to the other. I had visions of being lost and darkness falling as it had at Pedernales Falls a few blogs ago.

DSC_2056I headed towards the office taking a short cut across the grounds between the dormitories and discovered a very nice pond that was constructed there and just had to take a couple of pictures of it.  I stopped in the office and chatted to the lady behind the desk and she handed me a new map to add the the several that I already have for this place. There were a few other hikers just setting off including one couple who I was to cross paths with further down the trail.

I got back onto Bobcat Ridge and took the long hike until it met with Pine Ridge taking pictures all the way. So far, this part of the hike had been uneventful and except for crossing paths with the aforementioned couple who for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how they had reached our crossing point so soon. I walk slow but not that slow. I thought about it a lot as I continued along now on Pine Ridge.

Pine Ridge deserves some special mention. For the first part, it is just the same pretty much as many of the other trails in the park but towards the middle on the way going down to the bottom of the valley, the terrain is steep enough that there are steps built into the trail to descend. It almost goes without saying that if there are steps going down then there are steps and a lot of them, to get up back onto the top of the ridge on the other side.

There was water in the small stream at the bottom and it was crossed by using a three plank bridge. For a while, there was a narrow trail winding its way upwards and before long steps, many steps which turns this particular walk into a real workout. By now, the weather had also taken a turn for the worse and black clouds were filling the sky. I felt sure I was in for a soaking and retrieved my slicker from my pack just in case and if nothing more, to cover the camera. It spattered for a bit with nothing very serious as I continued along my way until in the end, nothing at all. Just very grey skies.

On the way out back along Pine Ridge I passed one of the several towers that are under construction as they get ready to install a Zip Line. Can’t wait to try that out.

Back in the parking lot, mine was no longer the only car as several more had joined me as people made the most of this beautiful park which doesn’t close until 8:00 pm at this time of the year. In the end, I covered about four and a half miles of steady walking with a lot of huffing and puffing as I climbed the steps. As usual, I detoured into Bastrop before making my way home with a Latte to help me on the drive.

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