A Short Drive 11-17-2018



Cypress Creek where it crosses RR 962

I took a drive to Reimer’s Ranch with the intention of taking a short walk and a few pictures. As is my usual practice, I drove into all four parking lots with the first and the last both very busy and loaded with cars. Both of these lots have access to the rock climbing areas.

I got out and walked around for a bit at the second Parking , known as River Bend Parking No 2, which is the one that leads to the beach area and noticed that the gate was closed and locked leading to the beach. This meant that it was not accessible for vehicular traffic, a sure sign that the swimming season is well and truly over. There were several cars and people about as it still a great place to take a hike.

Deciding that walking was not what I really wanted to do, I jumped back in my truck and took off down Hamilton Pool Road and headed past both Hamilton Pool and West Cave Preserve before getting onto Cypress Mill Road  (RR 962). I enjoy just driving and seeing if there is anything that catches my eye and luckily for me I was able to get a nice picture of the Cypress Creek crossing the road (picture above). It was getting to be late afternoon and the sun  was very low creating a very beautiful effect.

Sunset

Cypress Mill Road brought me back out onto Hwy 281 so I turned East and headed to where Hwy 281 intersected with Hwy 290 and drove back in to Dripping Springs stopping at the new Starbucks that has been installed there. I say new but I guess it must be a year old by now…

All in all, a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours, listening to a great Audiobook and enjoying the Texas countryside.

Written 11/18/2018

Hamilton Pool


DSC_0460_303I finally made it to Hamilton Pool off Hamilton Pool Road in SW Travis County. Actually, it is only about ten miles from my house and although I have been tempted to visit the place many times before, I always put it off as I don’t care to do my hiking or photographic work where there are large crowds of people. Hamilton Pool on weekends in the summer is not my idea of fun.

I chose to go in the middle of winter and just after we had some very heavy rain storms and floods throughout the area. I knew there would be some visitors but I also knew that no one would be swimming. The water is way too cold for that.

DSC_0467_293Hamilton Pool comprises of two main attractions. The Pool and the waterfall that feeds it and then a single trail that leads down the river for a half mile or so. Unfortunately, because of the very recent flooding, the trail was closed so I was limited to the Pool itself. I was not disappointed as the Pool is quite spectacular especially as the cave behind the waterfall is so large that the only way to get to the beach is by following the footpath that leads through the cave. Before that however, there are a series of steps to negotiate on the trail leading down to the pool. Some were rock, others were man made but all were easy enough to walk on.

DSC_0512_258There were a lot of people already on the beach area, in the cave and following behind me on the trail that leads to the pool. I joined the line as we clambered over rocks, up man made steps and back down onto the pebbles that comprises the beach.

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Some of the views are quite breathtaking when you look upwards to the dense overhangs of rocks and vegetation. When you stop to consider the history of the place and  that people have been visiting this pool for thousands of years, the mind boggles. The fact that the power of water carved out the cave in the first place over many millennia is hard to wrap the mind around.

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I wandered around taking many pictures and chatted to a few people who, like me, were all enamored with the beauty of the place. I looked around and the people were from all races and ages which goes to show that you are never too young or too old to enjoy the beauty of nature. I did pass one obvious exception to that statement as on the way back, I paused to let others by as the trail was narrow and difficult. A large family of several generations came down the rocky steps as I waited at the bottom. In the group was a young boy of about 12 or 14 who had brought an electronically controlled model car with him and was driving the thing over the rocks as he came down the steps. Maybe I am old fashioned, no change that, I am old fashioned but it seemed to me that there is a time and place to drive a model car and going out with the extended family to view one of the wonders of nature at Hamilton Pool was neither of them. Obviously, his interest had nothing to do with Nature or the beauty of what he was about to see. Such a shame  as he was missing out on a valuable learning experience of both the beauty of the place and the appreciation of the natural world around him. Oh Yeah, Don’t get me started on if he should have been allowed to bring the toy with him on the trip.

DSC_0440_323I made the climb back up the steps following the trail until I reached the starting point with what seemed like an endless stream of people going in both directions. Quite obviously, the place is very popular as it should be. Can’t imagine what it is like in the middle of summer when it is 100 plus degrees out and the water is so cool and inviting. One difference being the girls are in bikinis and the men in swim trunks or shorts and I can understand why people come and visit this beautiful place.

Below is a slideshow set to music of all of the pictures that I took on this visit.

Hamilton Pool 12-19-2015 (Enhanced) from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Computers, Audio Books and Hamilton Pool.


It was a little chilly outside so I sat indoors this morning and worked on my computer trying to locate some audio books that I had downloaded but not yet installed onto my smartphone. I was concerned that they were on one of the audio programs that I have just cancelled due to the expense of that particular service. I listen to books from several different sources and the cost can be expensive, depending on your choices.

It took me a couple of hours of fiddling around and getting sidetracked here and there as I found things to read or others things that caught my eye but I finally located the books and am happy to say, they are not on the service that I have just discontinued.

It occurred to me just as I was about to shut down just how much times have changed. Fifteen or more years ago, a retired person like me would not be messing around with a computer spending time on trivialities. There may have not been such thing as Audiobooks and the only books available were those that required sitting still and reading and although I still do that when I need to, I much prefer to listen to someone else read me the story especially if I am in the car and even more so if the narrator happens to be good at imitating voices and dialects. I have a 2015 car that I bought January 1 this year and I have managed to put 26000 miles on the clock  a lot of which I spent on just driving around and listening to good stories. I’ll bet I have put several thousand of those additional miles by doing that.

I enjoy working out at the gym and do so pretty regularly every couple of days just so I can listen to whatever book I happen to be on at that particular time. The time flies by and I don’t notice it and in the meantime, I am either on the treadmill walking 3-4 miles or exercising my muscles. I use a set of Bluetooth earphones when I am in the gym.

The one thing I have not done and never will, is to listen when I am outside either working on the house or on the ponds and garden. I much prefer the solitude of nature or the sound of the running water. Neither do I listen if I am out hiking for the same reasons. In my mind, there is a time and a place and for me, it is mostly when I am driving although if I happen to be at a very interesting or exciting place in the story, I may listen while I am in the house where I use a Bluetooth speaker. I can often be seen sitting in my driveway after arriving home and not making any attempt to get out. If anyone happens to be watching and wondering, they are not to know that I have arrived at a very interesting part of a story and just have to know how it plays out.

Like I say, times have changed. Whether it is for the good or not is a very debatable subject. One thing is for sure, there is no stopping progress and what I did as a kid to keep me amused is nothing like what today’s younger generation has. For me, it was the great outdoors and sports.

Who knows what it is for today’s kids…For example, I visited Hamilton Pool in SouthWest Travis County yesterday and as is often the case, paused to let others by as the trail was narrow and difficult. A large family of several generations came down the rocky steps as I waited at the bottom. In the group was a young boy of about 12 or 14 who had brought an electronically controlled model car with him and was driving the thing over the rocks as he came down the steps. Maybe I am old fashioned, no change that, I am old fashioned but it seemed to me that there is a time and place to drive a model car and going out with the extended family to view one of the wonders of nature at Hamilton Pool was neither of them. Obviously, his interest had nothing to do with Nature or the beauty of what he was about to see. Such a shame  as he was missing out on a valuable learning experience of both the beauty of the place and the appreciation of the natural world around him. Oh Yeah, Don’t get me started on if he should have been allowed to bring it with him on the trip.

You could say that I have the best of both worlds. As a child, I grew up with a much simpler life with none of the modern day distractions (as long as you don’t count World War 11)  as compared to today’s kids whose very existence is governed by computers in both their personal lives and in everything that goes on around them. Today’s world is computerized and even old men like me have had to at least learn enough to get by.

The truth is, I like computers and what they are able to perform and I am lucky enough to have a good working knowledge of how to make them operate.

 

And I like to spend a couple of hours just checking things out that I randomly come across. Like I said, times have changed…