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 .
This meeting was dedicated to a review of the recent Pond Tour held on June 1-2, 2019 where some of the owners that came to the meeting were presented with a plaque comprising of a picture of their pond that they had on display. Not all of the owners were available but those that were, graciously discussed their impressions that they had of the Tour with their ideas and recommendations for the future tours.
They and the other Members were treated to a quick meal of Chile and Chips plus the members brought in lots of desserts and salads to complement the meal. Following this brief repast, Barb Lenhardt, our President got the ball rolling as she had the Owners introduce themselves along with a new Member. She was followed by Ted Paone, this years Pond Tour Director who discussed the many aspects that it took to put on a tour of this size. He took the time to thank all of the many Volunteers and Committee Members without whom, none of this would have been possible and the Members gave him a big round of applause for all of his efforts. He did mention that in order to stay a happily married man, this was his very last time as Director and we thanked him for his efforts along with those of the many Committee Members and Volunteers that helped to make this a big success. So, if anyone out there wants to volunteer as next years Pond Tour Director, please contact our President at firstname.lastname@example.org
He then led everyone through the slide show that Glen had put together with each owner that was present taking the opportunity to lead us through the various aspects of their particular set up whether it was a pond or a stream or a combination of both.
I started to film these interactions but quickly realized that I could not film the screen and the person who was talking both at the same time and gave up on the idea. Glen sent me a copy of his slideshow for me to post. I did a little work on editing and added music. Enjoy
With the end of the discussions, the evening came to a close.
The next meeting will be held on July 15th at the same place, Zilker Botanical Gardens and the subject matter will be “Building Your Own Pond”. Hope to see you there.
I went outside to work today but it was so darn hot that I could not stay and had to stop the task in hand and it messed up all of my plans of things that I wanted to do which means that I will have to start anew but it is not going to cool down as this is Texas and it is renowned for the heat of the summers always so hot making the body perspire a lot when the temperature reaches a hundred degrees and too much of it makes you weak at the knees we know it will happen the same every year the summers are hot and the skies are all clear and the ground dries up and the plants need the rain and then the clouds will form and sometimes sustain long enough to bring a shower or two to cool things off just to do it anew it is no good thinking that the following day will be any different as this is the way of the summers in Texas for thousands of years have always been hot as the sun domineers so tomorrow instead I will get up at dawn and get out early to mow the lawn and do the things that I need to do and grow with the heat as I start anew of one thing you can be very sure the Texas heat is hard to endure whether you care and like it or not the Texas summers are bloody hot.
Even though time moves on and Springtime has come and gone Summertime is here to stay along with the sun and heat of the day when temperatures will rise to one hundred degrees even under the shade of the trees the sun is hot and the skies are blue with nary a cloud to obstruct the view anything to do outside needs to be done at first light when the outside air still feels cool as the heat of the sun is not yet cruel today is not one of those days as the clouds have formed and in so many ways today we have rain along with a breeze and the temperature has dropped to sixty eight degrees cool for us for this time of the year but not for very long I fear we can always use the rain as the heat will always return again of this we can be very sure which is what we have to endure would I have it any other way maybe a little cooler through the day when I like to be outdoors fussing with all of the normal chores like feeding the fish or cleaning a pond or cutting back plants that have grown beyond things that are a part of my normal life that I do everyday with the minimum of strife today I sit and look at the rain wondering when I can again take a walk and so implied and be one with Nature in her countryside.
I had the urge to get out and about and as it is now summertime in Texas, hiking in the heat is one of the joys of living here. We don’t get much in the way of a winter in Austin but we make up for it in the summertime as we can guarantee that it is only a matter of time before the temperature hits the one hundred degree mark. From then on, it is anyone’s guess as to how many hundred degree days we will get. The record was set back in 2011 when there were 79 recorded 100 degree days. That was a hot summer.
Believe it or not, life still goes on even with all of that heat. We make adjustments and do things like hiking earlier in the day which is usually several degrees cooler. As the temperature rises, the body adjusts with it making it possible to hike. Most of us though, choose not to hike in the extreme heat of the day. I am one of those fortunate or unfortunate guys, depending on your point of view, that perspires a lot and at the end of any heavy physical exertions, am thoroughly soaked through requiring that I change my clothes before jumping in my truck to drive home. I don’t notice while I am walking as I wrap a bandana around my forehead and wear a wide brimmed hat with a neck cover that captures most of the sweat and stops it from dripping into my eyes. I take heed of my Dermatologist and slap on vast amounts of sunscreen otherwise she lectures me at my next visit. Like everything else, if we want to do stuff, we have to make the necessary adjustments.
Such was the case in my most recent walk at McKinney Roughs. It was already ninety degrees when I started out and I chose to hike a trail that is named Yaupon. One reason that I chose it is because it has a lot of tree cover giving me a plenty of shade which really helps. The guide says that Yaupon is two point seven miles long and I knew that it was an out and back hike as the trail that completes the loop has been washed out in a couple of places and is no longer connected. I don’t normally like to cover the same ground twice but as someone pointed out to me, you get to see the same view from two different directions which is true as several of the pictures show the same view from both directions.
The trail has had a lot of work done to it in several different places due to washouts and there were still a couple of wet areas requiring one to carefully pick the footing. Generally speaking though, it was good walking. I passed one gentleman who was heading back in. We chatted for a bit and he tried to convince me that there was more breeze up ahead but somehow, I doubted him although I just nodded my head and passed some remark. I had been following fresh horse tracks and wondered how soon before I would see the horse and rider as I mentioned before, this trail is an out and back trail. Sure enough as I rounded a bend, there was the horse and rider approaching me. Following the trail etiquette, I stepped off to allow them to pass calling out to the rider and asking her if I could get their photograph. As with most people, she was only too willing to pose and the horse just took it for granted that of course he should be in the picture. The horse’s name was Troy but I didn’t get the riders name.
They moved on and I continued until I reached the water tower which is about a half a mile or so from the trails end in Pope Bend Trailhead. I figured that I had gone far enough and turned back to retrace my steps. As with most hikes, those same hills were much steeper going back and the distance much further but I eventually made it back to the parking lot and my truck. I must have taken longer than I anticipated as when I got back, the Office was closed and the parking lots were pretty empty. That was a shame as on the last trip here, I had discovered that they carried chocolate ice cream on a stick and I had been promising myself I would treat myself to one. Oh well, I am probably better off not eating the stuff but darn, it sure would have gone down very nicely.
All in all, I covered seven and a half miles and was really dragging by the time I got back. I carry both an Iphone and a pedometer and they both said close to the same thing. I wonder how the Map makers measure the trail distances as I always walk more than the map says. Normally, I use the park’s restrooms to change but as they were closed, I had to get out of the soaked clothes so ended up doing a strip tease in the Parking Lot. Luckily for me, it was empty and there was no one around which was probably a good thing as if anyone had caught sight of my eighty three year old body, it would have turned them off the opposite sex for the rest of their life.
I drove back and was warmly welcomed by four anxious and excited little dogs. At least, they love me sexy and sweaty body and all…
I got to thinking the other day after many long years of living alone just what is it that makes us this way with nobody else to share our home history shows that things went well in the first few years of married bliss but then as time did tell things started to come amiss and all of the love of those early days could not withstand in so many ways the pressures that life brings to the fore and loved walked out of the open door leaving behind a broken heart and the price to pay is living apart three attempts at trying to find love in a marriage and a happy home each one ending just like before with me being shown the door and finally choosing to live alone rather than try to do it again as a broken heart is not easy to mend and it’s much easier to just be friends after twenty five years of living alone with many pets that I chaperoned I do not wish to share my life or have any other form of strife and the remaining dogs get along just fine and the quiet life is so sublime they give me love and affection too and sense when my moods are blue they cheer me up with cuddles and wags and lots of kisses if I get too close these are things that I like the most so instead of a wife my life to share I have the love of my pets that are in my care there have been a lot of pets in that time as their lives are short beyond compare new ones fill the holes left behind each special in that moment so dear they ask for nothing and in return I give them love and caring too and together we will see the end when that final moment comes due…
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.
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.
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.
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