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 walked around the garden viewing the flowers that are already out and it is not yet Spring. So far, even by our mild standards, we are having a very warm winter. We had two nights of frost back in early November and nothing since. It has not even rained that much as shown by the dried up ponds, streams and stock tanks. I was out walking the other day and the temperature reached eighty two degrees. Go figure…
I have taken pictures of the flowers for you all to enjoy and even posted on a Wednesday, something I rarely ever do. With the exception of the last one, they are all from my garden, several roses, narcissus, daffodil and violets.
I consider myself lucky to not have to put up with a winter after living in Upper New York State for ten years. It does get a bit warm in Texas in the summer but I prefer the heat to the cold and snow. Enjoy.
After that little episode a couple of days ago at McKinney Roughs when I got so tired I could barely finish the walk, I decided to go back out again to see if it would re-occur or it was just a one off. The only way to do that was to hit the trails and see what the outcome might be so I opted for Reimers Ranch where the trails are pretty flat with not too much in the way of major hills or upward climbs, just in case. The one major problem with the Reimers Trails are that with the exception of the Lower River Trail, they are pretty much out in the sun as there is not much tree shade along the way.
I thought that I would just go for a short hike and made the effort to get out early, (for me) while it was cool, sort of. The temperature was already around the 85 degree mark at 10:00 am and was destined to get as high as 95 degrees but I wasn’t planning on being out in it. I parked in the Mountain Bike parking lot along with the several cars already there. As I was changing into my boots 3 riders pulled in having completed their ride for the day and two other cars finished loading their bikes and pulled out.
I took the trail to Johnny’s Homestead which is really nothing more than a standing chimney with the cabin having burned down several years ago. Along the way, I managed to capture a couple of bird pictures which is pretty good for me as generally, I am much too slow.
I then took the Multi Use Trail going North. This particular trail is one big loop and surrounds the Park. My intent was to just walk half of it as the Mountain Bike Parking Lot sits midway of the loop on a trail that dissects the loop in half. However, the best laid plans etc are for nothing as I felt really good and so instead of continuing on the main loop to bring me back, I branched off heading towards the northernmost end of the Park so that I could walk the Lower River Trail all the way back to where I was parked.
This trail is a little tougher walking as it tends to wind and contours up and down quite a bit but it is not a difficult trail. This is also the same trail that the mountain climbers use to get to the various cliff faces that they use for their dangerous sport and I was able to take some pictures of them as they crawled their way up the cliff face. One gentleman had just reached the top and let out a loud “whoop” in his excitement. He just sort of hung there for a bit as though to savor the moment.
I passed several people coming towards me and we exchanged pleasantries. One young couple with a beautiful dog stopped to chat and introduced themselves as Kendal and RJ and we exchanged photos as I took theirs on their cell phone in exchange for taking my own picture.
As I walked, I could hear the sounds of a speedboat on the river below and before long, two small boats flashed by me. I managed to get a picture of them and a little while later, one of them returned going in the opposite direction.
I also passed by a guy fishing. He was standing in the water up to his waist. I should mention that the river was running pretty strong as the recent rains have if filled pretty high. He had a companion but I was not able to get her picture.
I had several lizards for company at one point. They would keep running up the trail in front of me and only when I got very close, would they dart off to one side.
I walked all the way on the Lower Trail to the River Bend Parking Lot which is the lot for the swimmers and also for canoes and kayaks. It has a long concrete road that leads down to the River which, of course, is also a long climb back up and is a pretty steep hill. I had a choice at that point of either the Multi Use Trail to the Mountain Bike Parking or to walk the gravel path located on top of the bluff that stretches all the way the length of the park. I noticed that it has now been concreted in places instead of gravel which didn’t surprise me as the last time I walked it a few months ago, there were several washouts from the recent heavy rains. It makes more sense to use concrete but it is not so pleasing on the eye.
I finally made it back to my truck and by this time the Parking Lot was empty as all of the vehicles were gone. I changed out of my wet clothes into something dryer which of course, promptly got wet again as I continued to sweat. Oh well, can’t have everything. I covered 6.5 miles altogether and am happy to report none of the tiredness that occurred the last time out.
I have put together a couple of videos of the hike. One is of the flowers that are still blooming in the park and the other is of the different views. Enjoy.
This is a beautiful time of the year in Texas. All of the trees are filling out with the prettiest shade of green and the garden and ponds are just full of all kinds of wonderful flowers.
My garden is not one of the cultivated sort and I tend to let things just grow. Nearly everything is Native Texan so I can pretty much be sure that it will grow back after each winter. I have no idea what many of the flowers are called and about the only ones I recognize are the Roses, Arun Lilies, Cornflowers, Iris and a couple of others. They are all so welcome and a sure sign that Summer is not far away. We tend to have a short Spring and then all of a sudden, its a hundred degrees outside.
With the weather as mild as it is here in Texas, it is hard to believe that technically, it is still winter. The outside temperature is at 65 plus degrees and true to form, Mother Nature is hurrying all of her charges along in an attempt to put on a show. Luckily for me, I managed to get ahead of the game and cut down all of the dead and decaying material giving the new growth plenty of room to succeed.
The Knockout Rose is really excelling and has some beautiful blooms and lots of them. Years ago, I planted a bunch of bulbs and some of them, mainly Narcissus, are flowering like crazy. I also discovered several clumps of Violets except they are of the white variety. One plant is in the waterfall on one of the ponds.
I also spotted my resident garden snake that seems to have found a permanent home here. I have watched him (or her) grow from about two feet long to almost four feet long today. He has also increased his size around the girth and is now a very plump specimen. Probably due to his frog and the occasional fish diet. This time, he was sunning on one of the pond plants in the 6000 gallon pond and when he did eventually spot me, all he did was disappear back under the cover of that plant. Below are three more pictures of him.
Since taking these pictures, the weather has got a little cooler with chances of overnight frosts. Hopefully, we will get lucky and if there is a drop in temperature it will not go below freezing. We are almost halfway through February and winter officially ends on March 21 although for us, it will be much sooner than that. It is worthwhile putting up with the summer heat and 100 plus degrees just to not have winter. I hate being cold…
I look outside and can see it is Spring
everywhere I look the leaves are green
not the jaded look of time
but the fresh green look like sparkling wine
everything new and everything green
oh the beautiful time of Spring.
Flowers are blooming all over the place
all different kinds like they are in a race
to show off their colors so bright and gay
to chase the drab days of winter away
and when a flower has had its say
another blooms to show the way.
I really love this time of year
with things so green and the colors clear
after her sleep Nature awakes
and puts on her Springtime face
so that we can enjoy her beautiful show
and bathe in the beauty of her Springtime glow.
The sun is shining clear and bright
and things are beginning to turn green
the temperature is warming up
looks like it’s starting to be Spring
early flowers are starting to show
Daffodils and Crocuses to name a few
but the one that is really brightening to all
and their flowers are a beautiful view
it seems they are everywhere on show
driving along Texas Highways and Roads
the Bluebonnets are putting on a display
to delight of all who pass that way
the Dogwood trees are in full bloom
along with Cherry and Red-bud too
making for visual delight
at this the most beautiful time to view.
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