Reimer’s Ranch 6-16-2019


Pedernales River at the end of the Park.

I wanted to walk and as I had just been to McKinney Roughs, decided to go to Reimers Ranch, again…Being a Sunday, I expected that there would be a lot of people out and about taking advantage of the beautiful weather and maybe there were earlier but not while I was there. I should correct that by saying that I parked in the very last parking lot known as River View Parking No2 and although busy, the lot was not full by any means. The other lots did look busy as I drove by. This is also one of the lots where the Mountain Climbers park to pursue their dangerous and very difficult hobby. Rather them than me. I included a few pictures of some of them in action as I had the opportunity to watch them for a while.

The entrance to the lower trails at RiverView Parking No 2 is by no means easy and it requires negotiating a set of stone stairs made out of the natural rocks laid in a pretty haphazard fashion. A young fellow was just completing the climb up and was blowing hard as he reached the top and we exchanged pleasantries. I normally do the walk I had planned, in reverse and end up coming up these stairs, not going down and I found it to be a challenge requiring a lot of effort and concentration. No handrails to help but I made good use of my walking sticks. The pictures do not show all of the steps as they go on for at least another 20 yards or so downhill.

Even with all of these rocks, Nature still has a way to make things beautiful.

Having safely made my way down to the Lower Trail which I have hiked many times before, usually going in the reverse direction from today, I started along towards the end of the Park. Going the other way, I had a whole different view of things and was able to take a lot of pictures, looking from the other side, so to speak. A couple of years ago, the Park Staff worked on the Lower Trail and completed it to the end of the park making it a nice trail to walk. I finally came out at the end and before turning up onto the Multi Use Trail which would take me back to the Parking Lot, I sat on one of the benches in the shade and admired the view. It was quiet and peaceful just to sit and become one with Nature.

Then I noticed a beer can and a potato chip wrapper and was brought back to the reality of the world and modern day people, some of whom have no concern for the beauty of Nature and can’t even be bothered to carry out their trash. I picked it up and stowed it away for later disposal and started the walk back the first part of which was up a short and sharp upward climb. This part of the Multi Use trail is wide enough for the Park vehicles to use so the trail was in good shape.

The wildflowers are still putting on a show in the middle of June.

It was a beautiful day with the temperatures in the low nineties which is bearable even when walking. Lots of sunscreen and a good hat and in my case, walking sticks and I was all set. I tend to perspire a lot under normal conditions and when I go hiking, I am usually soaked in the first few minutes of the walk. I took over seventy pictures nearly all of them of the trails which in some cases, were getting pretty grown over with weeds and vegetation. This has been an extraordinary year for growth of every variety and the wild flowers have been extra beautiful some of which were still in bloom. Reimers is a wonderful Park in which to walk and if it has any faults it is the lack of shade along the trails. It is a Multi Use Park with Horses, Mountain Bikers, Rock Climbers, Birders and regular hikers. It even has its own swimming area in the Pedernales River which is well used in the Summer months. A great place to enjoy Nature at her best.

The Trails at Reimers Ranch
The view coming out of the park.

Written 6/20/2019

McKinney Roughs 6-15-2019


Trails at McKinney Roughs

Even though the weather is beginning to warm up, I decided that enough was enough and it was time to get out on the trails once more. I debated as to where to walk and settled for my favorite place, McKinney Roughs which has a lot of shade trees on most of the trails. Another reason although it has very little to do with hiking is that there is an Exxon gas station almost across from the park entrance that sells the gas for at least ten cents cheaper than anywhere else and I always make a point of filling up when I am out in that direction.

I knew what trails I wanted to explore and parked at the Pope Bend Parking Area. I was the only vehicle parked there so had the choice of the shadiest parking spot. I went through my usual routine of boots, backpack, poles and camera belt along with the camera and set off along Roadrunner which would bring me to Buckey which is like a lowlands area with Pecan trees and fairly level walking at least after the first half mile which is either uphill or downhill depending on if you are on the way out or heading back in. Towards the end of any hike, everything seems uphill…I came to the Giant Pecan Tree which is the largest and maybe oldest tree in the Park and is almost twelve feet in circumference. I hadn’t seen the tree in a couple of years and to me, it seemed that it was deteriorating. Maybe that was just my imagination. I sure hope so. Continuing on, I soon was on Pecan Bottom which is a very shady area and great walking and then I hit Deep Sandy which as the name suggests, the trail is of a sandy nature and easy to walk on. Deep Sandy runs right alongside the river which was flowing strong and was very dirty from the recent rains. I had heard the very noisy sounds of a motor boat on the river which I knew to be the Hyatt Regency Hotel’s boat which is next door to the Park. They use it as an attraction to give their guests a trip on the river. I don’t know why the boat is so noisy but maybe that is a part of the fun. I had seen the boat before and was ready for it when it came across my line of vision and was able to get a picture, well actually two pictures of it before it was gone taking with it the sounds of the motor.

I noticed a group of three or four people sitting in the water trying to cool off. A bunch of friends I surmised enjoying the cooling river even if it was dirty. As long as you don’t swim in it, I guess cooling off is OK.

With that excitement out of the way, I got back onto Coyote Road and eventually backtracked onto Buckeye for the walk back. As I mentioned before, it is an uphill slog walking back out of the park and I was glad when I reached the Parking Lot and my truck. I passed one young gentleman on the way into the Park and we chatted for a couple of minutes. As usual, I heard a lot of birds but was not able to capture any of them. I did get a picture of a wooly caterpillar.

I even saw three deer but they caught me by surprise and my camera was in its carrier on my waist. I walk with two walking poles which I find to be of considerable assistance when it comes to the rough ground. As old and wobbly as I am sometimes, I need all of the safeguards I can get which means that unless I am actually taking a picture, the camera is on my belt and not in my hands hence never ready for those surprise shots.

I have learned that In order to be comfortable and not ruin my truck seats, I need to completely change my clothes before driving home as I tend to sweat a lot and am totally soaked by the time I am through. The camera belt and backpack all add to the sweat factor plus add additional weight. I did take the tripod and the really big long lens out of the pack which made is lighter by at least seven ponds but is still weighs in around fifteen pounds.

All in all, I covered around five very enjoyable miles and even decided to rewarded myself with an ice cream, purchased from the LCRA Office on my way out which was thoroughly enjoyable on the drive home.

The pictures are taken in sequence and are mostly all trail pictures. They do give a you an idea of the changing terrain from the first picture all the way through to the last one.

The Beauty of Nature

Written 6/17/2019

McKinney Roughs 6-10-2018


The Trail Home…

I took a walk at McKinney Roughs as I hadn’t been there for a while. It is one of my most favorite parks mainly because it has so much tree cover which here in Texas, is a definite bonus. The temperature wasn’t too bad just in the high 80’s but was beginning to creep up.

The parking lot was full when I pulled in due mostly to an OSHA Seminar going on in one of the many classrooms available for such things. Great place to hold a seminar. I checked in at the office to pay my $2.00 and write down my particulars as requested. I noticed that under the heading of Vehicle Plate Number, nearly everyone with the exception of one person, had written a short description, in my case Green Ford Truck. As vehicle plates are not used much for ID’s, no one remembers them. I have custom plates that I have had for many years always the same one used over and over and I have real difficulty in remembering it. By the way, keeping the same custom plate in Texas does not mean that you don’t have to pay an annual fee. You do and the plates are changed out every 2 years which also costs money.

Colorado River at McKinney after recent rains

I had already decided that I would walk the Coyote Road Trail down to the River and then walk along the River Trail and return back using the Riverside Trail. We have had quite a lot of rain lately and the trails definitely showed it with trail washouts and very uneven surfaces including standing water and mud, lots of mud. The sort that builds up on your boots until you feel that each foot weighs 20 pounds.

Coyote Road is a wide trail and leads down to the River. It is not steep but with the wet surface needed care to negotiate in some spots. It is about a mile long. I didn’t get to see much in the way of wildlife or birds but could hear them in the trees all around me. Probably laughing at my feeble efforts to take pictures of them.

Trails at McKinney after the rains

When I reached the Colorado River, it was obvious that the trail had flooded in places which is not surprising as it is only 20 or so feet from the water which incidentally, was still high and running very fast. It was a real dirty brown color as it carried along dirt and debris from the recent rains. I negotiated the trail along the river sometimes walking through water and always in the mud, lots of mud and then turned up Riverside to head back to the parking lot. Riverside is another main trail and it too is pretty wide and in need of repair due to the recent rains. Lots of washed out areas but not much mud. Riverside is about 1.5 miles long and in my case, at least a mile of it going uphill with only the last half mile anywhere close to being level ground.

Some of the flowers still showing at McKinney Roughs on 6-10-2019

I passed a couple of guys with a big old Ridgeback Dog heading down towards the river and we exchanged greetings. This was followed by a lady and a young boy, Mother and Son I guessed. She asked how far it was to the river and I told her about a mile and half. Her response was that it was all downhill but I gently reminded her that she still had to come back and it was uphill all the way.

I arrived back at the Parking Lot and cleaned off my boots and changed my clothes before heading back home. Altogether, I covered a little over 6 miles and my old aching body was letting me know that we hadn’t been out on a walk in a while and we needed to do something about it.

Written 6/14/2019

Nearly a Mistake


Still running strong from all of the rain.

I got up fairly early (for me) and decided that it was time to take a walk as I haven’t been walking in a couple of weeks. By the time that I got out of the house, it was almost 11:30 am but I headed off towards Bastrop having already decided that McKinney Roughs was probably the best place as it had a lot of shelter from the sun.

I had not been following the forecast for the day knowing that it would be hot anyway I looked at it. It was not until I texted my friend BJ asking her if she wanted to accompany me did I realize just how hot it was going to be. She texted back to say that I really shouldn’t walk today as it was going to be almost a hundred degrees and the temperature could easily top the current record high of 97 degrees with Heat index values of 108 to 114. She couldn’t make it anyway which meant walking alone which is probably not advisable with the temperatures going that high.

That did it for me and as by now, I was already almost in Bastrop, I decided instead to drive around for a bit and as usual, listen to one of the stories from Audiobooks. So, I took off turning onto country roads that I had never driven before with a view to different scenery although to be sure, in Texas the scenery does not change very much over a short distance even if it is several miles. I did discover a lot of different areas around Bastrop that I hadn’t seen before before ending back up at my house. Along the way, I filled my truck at the gas station in Bastrop that is always quite a bit cheaper than anywhere else around and of course, a stop at Starbucks for the inevitable Latte.

In all of that, I only found one place that was putting on a show and worthy of parking. I got out of my truck and took a couple of pictures and then started to walk towards the center of the stream but almost fell ass over tea kettle as my feet slipped out from under me on the slippery surface. Luckily, my athletic reflexes came into play and I was able to stay on my feet but I gave up on walking to the center of the stream preferring instead to get back in my truck to take the pictures.

Written 6/9/2019

Austin Pond Society 25th Pond Tour for 2019.


Yellow Crowned Night Heron nest with three babies.

The Austin Pond Society held their annual pond tour over the weekend of June 1-2 returning after missing out on having a tour last year, 2018. The size of the tour was also cut back to a more manageable number easily covered on each day, Saturday for the South Side of the Colorado River and Sunday for the north side.

The tour had a few of the spectacular favorites plus several new ponds which have never been on the tour before. All, regardless of the size, had something to offer in the way of beauty and in some cases, originality. One of the highlights included a nest of Yellow Crowned Night Herons complete with three babies that appeared to almost be ready to fly the roost. Ironic that one of the pond owners natural enemies could hold so much fascination when babies are involved.The night pond that has been on the tour several times before was just as spectacular as it has always been.

If you click on a picture, it will enlarge and you can use the side arrows to move along. Use the “escape” key to return to normal size.

I have put together two slideshows which takes about twenty minutes to view but is well worth it as it shows the spectacular beauty of ponds of different sizes and types and all of the accompanying work that has gone into the landscaping and plants and flowers that make up the whole garden. One pond even had three live donkeys which attracted as much attention as the ponds for the younger members on the tour.

All in all, the tour was a resounding success and even though smaller than previous tours, has probably set a new standard in both number of ponds and quality.

Written 6/5/2019

Thinking of Things to Write


Cypress Creek in Wimberley

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.

Written 4/25/2019

A Spring Walk at Reimers Ranch 3-27-2019


A pano of the top trail

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.

Multi Purpose Trail

Written 3/30/2019