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

Herbert the Turtle


This is Herbert the Turtle

I received a phone call today
from a lady who was wanting to give away
her turtle that had been her friend
for many long years until in the end
that although much love he received
it was not fair she believed
that the only thing in his life
was a large glass tank and without a mate
or even another turtle to spend time
which would have made life much more sublime
instead just him in his lonely life
a perfect home for him with no strife
a peaceful life to be sure
but lonely with no company to endure
and for twelve and a half years he lived in his tank
when his caregiver called looking for a place
that he could spend the rest of his days
as nature intended in natural ways
in a pond that he could swim and be free
with other turtles for company
she brought him over to take a look
as I showed her around like an open book
and even though it would be the very last game
that she and Herbert for that was his name
would spend together for in his new life
Herbert could go and search for a wife
she kissed his head and said so long
and placed him on the bank of the pond
where he slipped into the water and was gone
but before he disappeared away
he turned and looked as if to say
thank you for the years that you cared
and of the life that together we shared
then slipped below the surface of the pond
to explore his new home and he was gone
I’m sure that Herbert and I will become friends
although it has to be said that in the end
I will not see Herbert an awful lot
as with the others will be hard to spot
unless he may bask in the sun
on the bank of the pond where this new life begun
and if Herbert was able to speak
I’m sure his thanks to Alisa would be deep
especially as she gave up her pet
for the wild life of a turtle he will now get.

Herbert in his tank

Written 6/11/2019

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

Time to Start Walking Again


The blown over Cypress tree.

I was sitting at my work table looking out of the window and reminiscing about life in general and my life specifically. For the immediate future, with the Pond Tour out of the way, there is nothing major coming up on the horizon that I need to be worrying about at least, nothing that I know of. We all know how that can change in an instant especially if one is an animal lover and I have four dogs and over two hundred fish to look after. Hopefully though, Nature will be kind and not present me with any animal problems.

I did get in the big pond and spent a couple of hours trying to put the Cypress tree that was the subject of an earlier blog, into a bigger and deeper pot in an effort to stop it from blowing over. It is tall enough now that it is top heavy and with the little pot that contains the roots not being of a suitable weight to hold it secure, tends to blow over pretty frequently.

It was rather a comedy of errors as I tried to wrestle the tree out of the shallow pot but unfortunately, it would not budge. It is jammed in their very solidly and the only way is to literally cut the pot off. So, I gave up on that idea and decided to try to place the entire pot into the bigger pot. I had to weight the big pot down with rocks to keep it stable while I tried to wrastle the smaller pot into it. Remember, that this was taking place with all of us, me, the tree and the pot standing in the pond in three and a half feet of water. Nothing would keep still as the water made everything buoyant. First the new pot would float away and then after I recaptured it, the tree in the existing pot would slide off it’s block foundation and into the water requiring that I struggle it upright, once again. Even though everything was easy to move whilst in the water, when I tried to lift the tree out of the water and into the bigger pot, it suddenly became a hundred pounds heavier. After a couple of hours of total frustration, I gave up on the entire idea and placed the tree back onto it’s original set of blocks and tied it off. Talk about a waste of time. It really is a two person job and as there is only one of me….I will add an additional couple of tie-off’s to try to stabilize it.

There is still a lot of dead stuff that I raked into heaps that need to be put on the compost pile plus I really need to get into the shallow pond and cut down a lot of the growth that has happened there. I think that one reason the Heron has stayed away is because it cannot see the water in the pond it is so grown over. This has been an amazing year for overall growth. Everything and I mean everything has just grown without any limitations and I have spent more time cutting stuff back this year than ever before. The one frost that we had came early in November and we had a very mild winter making for lots of early growth and it has not slowed since. To add to the perfect storm effect, excuse the pun, we have had a lot of rain and have not had any abnormally high temperatures with the highest so far a mere ninety two degrees. That will change as eventually it will reach a hundred degrees, hopefully later rather than sooner.

At the moment it is raining and we are in the middle of some pretty heavy thunderstorms including hailstones. With any luck, there will not be too much wind and the tree will remain upright. Which brings me to the subject and title of this piece, “Time to start walking again”. I haven’t been out on a real walk for quite some time and I really need to get out there not only for the exercise but also to take pictures and have something to write about. You can probably guess by this blog, I am almost desperate for subject matter. I hope that I am not turning into one of those bloggers that writes two lines and adds a picture and calls it a blog. I certainly hope not.

Written 6/6/2019

Waiting Around


I had to bring my truck back in
for a service it was due
as I keep driving it around
and the miles they have accrued
I spend a lot of time on the road
sometimes just driving around
as I listen to Audiobooks
and the stories I have found
to be most interesting to me
and keep me all involved
trying to figure how it will end
to get the mystery solved
I sometimes listen when I am home
but it is not the same
as driving around in my truck
adding miles that I have gained
and so I find myself once more
back at the dealership
to keep the truck in tip top shape
and keep it running slick
this time it took a half a day
for them to do their bit
so I used the time to write this poem
using my clever wit.

Written 6/5/2019