Retired from the University of Texas and too old to play soccer anymore. Now, in the twilight of his years, time is spent writing in this blog, hiking and exploring Texas Parks, photography, working out, gardening and tending to the five ponds he built .
I sat here looking at a blank screen thinking of something clever to write my head it seemed was in a dream and no words could I muster with any might I thought of what had happened that day and in previous days before this plight but nothing jumped out at me to say write about me this seems right it is not that I haven’t found things do as I very recently took a hike out at Bastrop my most favorite place and have written the words and they will be in plain sight very shortly in a couple of days posted to my blog for all to see for me that hike is a memory and the words are written as I put them down I also spent time in Wimberley taking pictures of this pretty town nestled in the Hill Country as picturesque as it can be with Cypress trees as tall as the sky reaching up and many centuries old growing in the tumbling creek that runs through the town like its very soul but wait it seems I have something to say even though it didn’t start this way but now the mind is suddenly numb and my thinking voice has gone quite dumb so maybe my chain of thought is through and I have nothing left to do but end this sorry little tale and try again when my thoughts prevail.
I went out for a drive and of course, took my camera with me. I headed towards Dripping Springs with the ultimate goal of driving into Wimberley. This is a nice old Hill Country Town founded in 1848 and most of the buildings reflect the age of the town although I don’t think any go back that far. The shops are many and specialize in arts and crafts. I was there on a Sunday and business was brisk with the sound of music coming from several different locations. The town is located on the banks of the Cypress Creek which flows through the center of the town and has many, many very old and and very large Cypress trees. One of the trees has a nameplate designating it as “Big Daddy” Circa 1400 AD which makes it well over 600 years old.
I walked around town taking pictures and one of the things that I noticed were the colorful cowboy boots at different locations. These are part of a project started in 2014 named Bootiful Wimberley and to date, there are 50 boots located around the town. You can read more about this project and see more pictures of all of the Boots at this Link. I was only able to locate a few in the area that I covered but even they are very impressive.
I spent time on the creek taking pictures but I cannot do justice to the Cypress trees as they are far too tall to include the entire tree from my position under them. Many stand 80 to 100 feet or more high.
On the way out of town, I decided to take the River Road to see the views along the Creek and the rock formations that make up the banks. I was not disappointed and got some great pictures.
I wanted to get out but was not in the mood to take a hike so I decided to go for a drive instead. I decided that I would head towards Llano as I haven’t been in that area for some time and I knew that the wildflowers would be blooming.
As I have reported many times before, I like to listen to Audiobooks as I drive as I find it both relaxing and educating at the same time at least from a writers perspective. I do not consider myself a writer but more of a reporter. I need something to write about as my mind is not sufficiently skilled enough to come up with plots and twists that leave the reader guessing. Currently, I am listening to “The Highlander” by Diana Gabaldan and am as far along as Book 4. When you consider that each book is between 40 and 50 hours or more of listening then you get a general idea of the quality of the story with it’s many twists and turns. On top of that, the Narrator is a lady by the name of Davina Porter who alone makes it so worth listening to. She has a delightful British accent and considering that the basic language and accent in the book is Scottish, she does a really wonderful job.
On the way, I managed to capture some pictures of the flowers along the sides of the road and also one particular striking piece of rocky hills. This is the start of the Hill Country after all. When I reached Llano, which I have written about before. (Use this link to view that blog) I headed towards Georgetown before heading down US 183 and back home. All in all, I covered almost 100 miles of the beautiful Texas countryside in the Spring.
Tired of sitting around indoors, I made a last minute decision that I wanted to take a hike. The next question was where did I want to go. After considerable thought, I decided that as I hadn’t been to McKinney Roughs in a while, that would be a good place. I texted my friend BJ to see if she was interested but she texted back that she already had plans.
I wasn’t about to let that stop me from enjoying the beautiful Spring day and after a short drive of about thirty miles, found myself in the parking lot at McKinney. I had recently bought a new backpack that I hadn’t yet had time to try out. I had already packed it with all of the relevant gear including the Tamron 160-600 long lens which, if I plan on using , usually carry already attached to a camera and on a waist harness. The carrying system that I have is from Cotton Carrier which enables me to carry two cameras and a pair of binoculars at the same time if I so choose. This lens adds considerably to the weight of the pack as it weighs in around 5.5 pounds when attached to the camera making it a very heavy addition. The new pack also had straps on the bottom allowing me to pack a lightweight tripod just in case I needed it. Altogether, the pack weighs in at around 25 pounds fully loaded so in many ways, this was going to be a test as to whether I could manage such a heavy load.
I stopped in at the office and paid my $5.00 and chatted to the lady behind the window and set off heading for the Riverside trail. Turns out that there was going to be a wedding and preparations were underway with the staff busy setting up tables outside and a band off to one side that was practicing and getting their sound systems just right. Another lady was preparing bouquets for each table and there was a general air of busyness.
I walked on Riverside heading out into the beautiful lush new spring growth that Nature provides us every year taking pictures as I went. I wasn’t really sure which trails I was going to take as I had no plan and was waiting to see what would guide me. On a whim, I turned off onto Valley View and followed it for a while and then took Bluff Trail Loop. This trail has a major overlook of the valley below with glimpses of the Colorado River. The river was extremely muddy colored as there had been a lot of rain very recently and was flowing quite strongly. I did not plan on walking down to the river on this particular walk guessing that the bottom trails would be very muddy and cut up.
I completed Bluff Trail Loop then headed back up Ridge to the Main Campus. I passed back alongside the wedding area taking care not to get too close as I didn’t want to interrupt anything. As it happens, the guests were just starting to arrive looking somewhat out of place with the men all dressed up in suits and ties and the women in dresses with summer hats. It would have been more fitting if they had on shorts and tees to go along with the scenery. Oh well…Still a beautiful place for a wedding. Lets hope that the lucky couple can copy nature and make their marriage last forever. Hard to do in these modern times but I wish them the very best. Guess I am a cynic.
Altogether, I covered 4.5 miles and I’m happy to say that the pack rode very well. I only noticed it a couple of times and if it had become too heavy, I could have always pulled out the camera and long lens and attached it to one of the carrying straps on my waist belt. I got some great pictures and everything is so wonderfully green with lots of wildflowers in bloom. Here’s looking forward to the next walk.
The weather was a balmy 75 degrees so I decided that I would go for a walk at Reimers Ranch which is about 15 miles from my house. The drive alone is very pleasant and gives me more opportunities to listen to the current Audio-book that has me very much engrossed. Being a week day, I knew that there would not be very many people lucky enough to take the time to enjoy the wonderful weather and get in some exercise to boot.
I had no specific plans except to start walking from the very last Parking Lot known as River View Parking No 2. I headed of along the Multi-use Trail in the general direction of the Turkey Trail and then at the last minute decided to stay on the Multi-use Trail heading back to River View Parking No 1.
The Spring flowers are blossoming in all of their glory and I got some great pictures. As usual, I also took pictures of the trails and the surrounding views which are bright with new growth as Nature has painted things with her green brush. I spotted a couple of birds that looked like the same type in both pictures . I believe they were Cowbirds and of course, the sky was dotted with the ever circling Buzzards. If I don’t see any other birds, I can guarantee to see a Buzzard or two.
I passed a couple of young ladies on the upper gravel trail on my way back to the Parking Lot where I had first set out. We greeted each other as is the ways of trail hikers and exchanged a few pleasantries. I headed back to my truck and altogether, managed to cover 5.2 miles which also included walking around the grocery store. A very successful afternoon.
I decided to go to Dripping Springs to the local Tractor Supply to buy more food for the ever hungry Koi and Goldfish. Even though we are in late February, they didn’t stay dormant for very long and I have been feeding them for all of this month. We have only had one frost and it has not been a very severe winter for us. We will make up for it in the Summer when the temperature will reach 100 degrees or more for days on end.
While feeding the fish this morning, I noticed that the Urn that sits in the middle of the 5000 gallon pond and has done ever since the pond was built 27 years ago, had stopped working. I suspected that the feeder hose had sprung a leak as prior to its stopping, it was bubbling out very slow. I will have to get in the pond to repair this but will wait a bit for the water to warm up.
After purchasing the bag of fish food and spending time wandering around the store looking at things that I wish I needed, I left the store intending to drive home. I decided at the last minute to take one of the side streets to explore the countryside for a bit. Dripping Springs proper as a city is not that big with around 5000 residents but its jurisdiction takes in a lot of the surrounding countryside which is inhabited by farms of all descriptions.
I had no idea where I was going and just kept following the road. It was a beautiful day and not much in the way of traffic but enough to keep me focused. I was listening to an Audiobook which is my most favorite pastime. This time, it was the first book of the Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. The narrator was a lady by the name of Davina Porter and she has the most delightful voice and is exceptionally good at telling a story.
I came across a stream which I thought was probably Onion Creek. It had a lot of water in it which is not surprising for this time of the year with it still technically the Winter Season. The road I was on followed the stream for several miles and I crossed it least on four or five different occasions stopping to take pictures wherever I could. Interestingly enough, several of the vehicles that passed me when I was parked, also stopped to enquire if everything was OK and did I need help. I quickly explained that I was taking pictures and they drove on. Only in the country does this sort of thing happen where other people are still concerned for your wellbeing.
Towards the end of the drive, I rounded a bend and spotted a Zebra in a yard. It was a bit skittish but I managed to get a decent picture of him. I decide that it was time to head home and turned to my GPS system for directions and discovered that I was miles out of my way and heading in the totally wrong direction. I was, in fact, almost into Wimberley which is 17 miles from Dripping Springs. I followed the GPS directions and had to backtrack for several miles before finding the right road back to Dripping Springs and made the most of it by stopping at the Starbucks located there to satisfy my insatiable thirst for coffee. I finally made it home after spending a very enjoyable couple of hours.
I have made a slide show of the pictures that I took.
I decide to drive over to Reamers Ranch just to take a few pictures and see what the winter foliage looked like. There were a few cars in the parking lots but as it was fairly late in the afternoon, I was not surprised at the small number.
I parked in the second parking lot that has road access to the river and took just my camera with me as I knew that I was not planning on walking very far on any of the trails.
There were a couple of families with kids exploring the river at the swimming area but being winter, no one was in the water. There was another group that were fishing but I didn’t get close enough to them to see if they had caught anything. Further down river was a motor boat with a couple of people on board just drifting in the current. Such was the nature of the day with the temperature in the lower 70’s. Not bad for wintertime in Texas.
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