McKinney Falls 6-28-2019

This is the Falls when it is not flooding.
A Panoramic view of the falls.

I arranged with my friend BJ that we would meet at McKinney Falls which is a State Park and not very far from our other hiking spot, McKinney Roughs which is an LCRA Park. Both are on the Colorado River. She texted me to say she was running late and I used the time to put on my boots and make other preparations.

Inviting on a hot day.

McKinney Falls has several trails some of which are on the other side of the river and with the latest rains, it looked to be a tricky prospect wading across the slippery rocks while fighting the flow of water. Several people were doing just that when we arrived but we had no intentions of taking that particular hike. The big swimming hole below the falls had a mixture of people and turtles some of which were pretty big. The turtles that is.

Looks like fun.

Instead, we opted for the blacktopped trail that encircles the park and is, according to the map, almost 3 miles around. We have hiked that trail several times before but it has been a couple of years since we were here. One of the things that we noticed was that the blacktop is rapidly deteriorating and if they intend it to remain as a hardcover trail, is going to need some major work.

The temperature was already in the low nineties so it was warm Luckily, most of the trail we were walking is in the shade which helped a lot but even so, hot is hot. We passed a few people going in the opposite direction and as is usual on the trail, pleasantrees were exchanged. Everything was green and beautiful and there were still a lot of flowers although most were coming to an end.

The pool below the Falls.
We spotted this unusual flower. No idea what it is.

We got back to the parking lot and I decided to go back to the Falls which was only a few steps away from where we were parked and take a couple more pictures. BJ left for home and I stopped at the nearest restroom to change out of my clothes which as usual, were totally soaked. I noticed that I had an eight inch crack in my windshield which was not there before. Probably a rock thrown up by a passing car. It is very low down and does not interfere with my driving so I can probably get by until the next inspection due later this year.

There are still flowers at the Park
This is of the blacktop main trail at this Park

All in all, a great hike. A couple of years does make a difference as it felt like it was a fresh place and of course, having great company helps as well especially to one that normally hikes alone. Now where to next….

Oh yes, both of my pedometers that I carry showed we walked 5.3 miles and as that number looks much grander (and bigger) than what the map says, we will go with that.

Written 6/30/2019

McKinney Falls Hiking Trip

The upper falls at McKinney Falls State Park.

The upper falls at McKinney Falls State Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I visited McKinney Falls which is actually a couple of miles upstream from McKinney Roughs, my last hike and not surprisingly, the terrain was very similar with the one exception of the huge granite surfaces that covered very much of ground. They were very impressive by their size and although from a distance appeared smooth, in fact on closer inspection, were covered in holes and grooves where the water over millions of years, had worn the rock away.

Such is the power of water as it continuously flows over the same spot be it rocks in McKinney State Park or the Grand Canyon. It is said that in Medieval times in England, one of the tortures in vogue at the time was an incessant drip of water onto a victim’s forehead which in the end, drove the victim mad.

The picture above from Wikipedia shows the falls when the river was much higher than it is now. Because of the ongoing drought in Texas, the water level is much lower and the falls are down to a single shute. One of the pictures in the slide show is of that single shute.

I walked several of the trails including the Rock Shelter which for centuries has provided shelter to both animals and man. Along the way, the trail passes by a huge cypress tree affectionately nicknamed “Old Baldy”. The tree is reputed to be several hundred years old and is hugely impressive.

The trail led me to a fairly modern structure named the Smith Visitor Center. It is no longer in use and as with all buildings that are just left to stand empty, is beginning to fall into decay. Such a shame that it can no longer serve any function in the Park. Buildings need people. They need life and activity in them or they quickly deteriorate.

I returned by way of the Picnic Trail which as the name implies, is dotted with clearings containing picnic tables and barbecue pits. I did not see a single family using any of the tables even though the weather was nice and the temperatures not too hot. My impression was that most of the picnic areas had not been used for some considerable time as again, there was an overall impression of neglect.

As I continued my walk, I mulled over in my mind why this Park was not very popular. Is it a financial thing that people do not want to pay the entrance fees? It cost me $6.00 and I don’t know if the kids are free so the minimum cost for a family would be $12.00. Maybe in this electronic age, nature and all of its wonders cannot compete with the bright and shiny modern toys. If this is true, then I fear that our younger generation is missing out both on learning about the joys and wonders of nature and the togetherness that camping and picnicking and the outdoor life in general can bring to a family.

I guess that I was born lucky in that respect. When I was a kid back in England, more than 70 years ago, I lived in the country.  There was no television, computers and video games were a thing of the future and life was simple even with the threat of impending war. Nature and all of its beauty was my playground and I spent most of my wakened hours enjoying every minute of it.

That is why I love to hike and to be outdoors. I never stop being amazed at some of the things that I come across in my travels and with modern photographic equipment that allows me to take endless numbers of pictures or images as they are now called, I am never more at home or content with my lot than when I am outside walking the trails.

I plan on going back to McKinney Falls in the very near future especially now that the weather has cooled off, to continue on my discoveries of the Parks.

McKinney Falls Video 9-21-2013 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.