Reimers Ranch 7-13-2019


A view of the Park

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.

Not much shade.

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.

The Lower River Trail

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.

RJ and Kendal

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 don’t know if he caught anything but at least he was cool.

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.

Some of the flowers still blooming at this park.
This is of some of the wonderful views in this Park

Written 7-14-2019

Reimers Ranch 6-24-2016


DSC_3147For a change, I decided to take a walk at Reimers Ranch where I hadn’t been in a while. I thought that maybe I would take one of the two long hikes but when I arrived, changed my mind. Instead, I pulled into the Mountain Bike Parking Lot and went through my usual pre-hike rituals  of changing boots etc. I set off on the trail that would lead me to Johnny’s Homestead and from there, headed North down the Multi-Use Trail.

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A few hundred yards down the trail, I came to the signs for the Kelly Prehn Trails which I knew branched off towards the river where  I could get some good pictures. This trail splits into two separate trails, the Kelly Prehn Overlook and the Pogue Canyon Overlook.

I walked them both and managed to get some good pictures of both Overlooks. The views from above are not the greatest and it is a long way down to the water. The Spruce trees however, are in fine form and show very well on the pictures. It is a pity that this trail is not connected to the last overlook on the Main Trail as it would be a fabulous walk as it followed the river.

Continuing, North along the Multi Use Trail, I came to another fork in the road with one trail leading to Turkey Loop and the other remaining the Multi-Use Trail. I opted to take the Turkey Loop in the hopes that I might get lucky and spot a Turkey or two. No such luck but I did get a picture of a sparrow which actually is more than I can usually get with any bird other than a Buzzard.

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I completed the loop and was back on the Main trail which from there was a straightforward walk back to the parking lot. I found a few flowers along the way and took pictures of them.

I arrived back in the parking lot with still a few cars in it. A couple of horses and riders passed me just as I made the turn and they were the first I had seen in a while at Reimers Ranch. Altogether, I covered around 5 miles of very easy walking underfoot. The trails are wide and flat with very little loose rock. My timing was good as the thunder clouds were rolling in as you can see from the pictures below and I drove home through the rain.

As with all of these slide shows, if you click on anyone of them, it will enlarge and you can use the side arrows to move them along. Use the “Escape” key to get back to normal.

 

Another Walk…


DSC_0936I took another walk yesterday
just wanting to get outside to play
out in Nature’s woods and trails
to breath the air and stretch my legs
and be at peace with who I am
enjoying the life that I have now
what little is left who will decide
it doesn’t matter, I don’t want to know
all I want is to put on a show.

I walked for miles is what it seems
as the wind was cold and blowing through me
to keep myself from feeling the cold
I walked faster with steps both long and bold
and covered the ground with amazing speed
as I felt I had the need
to finish the walk as fast as I could
to get out of the wind and out of the woods.

I thought about walking again today
but the air was still chilled and I have to say
that memories of feeling cold came back
enough that I no longer had the urge
to get outside, my soul to purge
instead I stayed in my warm house
and made no move to go outside
choosing instead to write away
planning instead for a different day.

“I love to hike…”

One More Trip to Reimers Ranch 1-13-2016


DSC_0927The weather was so nice and sun warm enough that I had the urge to go out on the trails again. I knew exactly what I wanted to hike when I drove back to Reimers Ranch which is only about 10 miles from my house.

I chose to hike the trails at the far end of the Park in an area known as Turkey Loop  and then hit the trail towards Johnny’s Homestead. I parked in the furthermost parking area and as is my normal procedure, changed into my hiking boots, strapped on my camera, grabbed my walking stick and making sure that I had my water bottle and a fruit snack in case I got low on energy and was on my way.

I love to get out there and walk when the sun is shining. It feels so alive and gives me the opportunity to get close to Nature. I like hiking alone as it gives me time to stop and take pictures and and I can go at my own pace.Hiking with my friends is fun as well but I always feel that I am slowing them down not only because of the picture taking but also because I just do not walk very fast. Short legs, a small stride and old age all contribute to this fact. Mind you, I can walk forever as physical ability is not the problem.

I took the Turkey Loop and walked to the very end of the trail which is actually the end of the Park property. The trail ends where another stream connects to the Pedernales making a natural barrier.

After taking several pictures, I headed back along the trail in the direction of Johnny’s Homestead as it is marked on the map. Incidentally, Johnny’s Homestead burned down and there is nothing to see except the electricity pole and blackened area where the house once stood.

Along the way, there is a turnoff that leads to two separate overlooks. One is called the Kelly Prehn Trail and I can’t remember the name of the other one. Both are very similar as they both show the stream below and the large Cypress trees growing out of the water.

Someone had gone to the trouble of stacking  rocks on top of each other in the form of markers but as they were all located just fifty or so feet apart,they didn’t seem to have any bearing on anything important.

Heading back to the trail, I took what I thought was the main trail that should have brought me back to the Mountain Bike Parking area but somehow,  I got hopelessly turned around and had to backtrack for a while and find a different route. In truth, I think the trail I was on was a Bike trail and not the one I was looking for. I wandered around for a bit and finally arrived back at Johnny’s Homestead. At that point, I decided to backtrack along the way I had come and headed back to Turkey Loop where I managed to get turned around yet again. I finally figured it out but only after walking an additional couple of miles to get back to my car.

If I have any complaints about hiking these trails is the fact that the ones on the main property which are mostly a combination of Hike, Bike and Horse trails are not very well marked. Most of them just say “Multi Use Trail” with an arrow pointing in the direction. it would be nice if they had names like McKinney Park does or even a better system of signs.

I still have one more trail to cover at Reimers Ranch and that is the one that follows the road starting way up by the Maintenance Facility and ending by the furthermost parking area. I can use the main gravel trail to its start and then cross over the road  and find the multi use trail on the East side of the road and walk it back to my car. Look for my blog on that in the next few days.

The pictures are very similar to the other ones of this park and can be viewed below. Remember, if you click on the first picture, they become full size and you can use the side arrows to advance. Hit Escape to get back to the blog.

Friday 1-8-2016, Milton Reimers Ranch


DSC_0895DSC_0898I was feeling good after the 8 mile hike that I took yesterday and the weather was still so nice that I decided to re-visit Milton Reimers Ranch in SW Travis County only this time, the plan was to take just a short walk and concentrate on taking pictures.

DSC_0829Well, with the best laid plans and all of that, I ended walking the entire length of the river trails bottom and top. I drove to the furthermost parking area with the intentions of exploring the trails around the “Wild Turkey Sightings” although I was not expecting to see any of them. This is also the entrance to the “Expanded Rock Climbing Area” on the very Northernmost  end of the Park.

DSC_0832The climb down into the gorge was a little tricky and I debated as to whether I should even try it. The little boy in me kept urging me on saying, “You can do it. Forget how old you are, you can do it”. So, I pushed ahead and carefully climbed down the rocks until I was on the trail. Once there, the trail was just fine and very walkable as I headed along it towards the Existing Rock Climbing area which is right at the very start on the Southern end of the park.

DSC_0887For most of the walk, the trail was very pleasant as it followed the river and I took several pictures of the wonderful views. There was one place as I was getting close to the Rock Climbing Area where the rocks had fallen right into the river making a very difficult climb up and over to continue on the trail. Once past that point, I headed up the gorge that was the way out with some trail very walkable and the other part a venture in rock climbing. The towering cliffs above me is where the young and foolhardy enjoy their sport of rock climbing. I could see the pitons that had been hammered into the rocks for all to use. That is not for me. I am not afraid of heights but I am afraid of falling or rather the heavy bump at the end of the fall. My frail old body just couldn’t take one of those sort of falls.

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At the base of this “Rock Climbing Area” is a large cave where the water over many thousands of years had washed out the softer rock from that above. See the picture below taken from inside the “cave”.

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I continued on up the gorge with several people passing me going in both directions. Some had finished their climb or their walk while others were just starting. Me, I was halfway through.

DSC_0906I finally made my way out of the gorge area which I have to confess, this part is one of the most difficult trails I have ever encountered for some time and is not for the weak of heart. I arrived onto the top trails, passing several people all trying to decide if they really wanted to go down that difficult trail.

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The upper trail back was a piece of cake compared to what the other trail had been like. It was a gravel finished trail and several other hikers were enjoying it. I finally got back to the furthermost parking area where I had started after covering another 6 miles and enjoying every minute of it.

DSC_0909I still didn’t get to explore the trails on the Northern end of the park and have that to look forward to.

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Thursday 1-7-2016, Another trip to Reimers Ranch


DSC_0792I have been to Milton Reimers Ranch in SW Travis County a couple of times before and on both occasions, covered the trails alongside of the Pedernales River. This time, I wanted to walk the longer trails on the uplands which are designated for horseback riding, cyclists and hikers. Generally, this means that the trails are not as developed as the ones purely for hikers and walkers and the one I took on Thursday also proved to be the case.

As with many cyclist trails on the grassy areas, in places the actual trail worn down by the bike tires are a rut not much more than a foot or so wide and varying in depth. It is possible to walk in this narrow trail but sometimes easier to walk alongside it. Where the trails get rocky, there is always some difficulty covering that sort of terrain whether you are walking or riding.DSC_0803

I started out from the Mountain Bike Parking area heading east towards Johnny’s Homestead but somehow I managed to deviate and went in the complete opposite direction to what I had intended. I was planning on taking the long trail that would have taken me in a northerly direction and then back around to my original starting point. Instead, at the intersection of a couple of trails, the one I took headed south and took me around that loop instead.DSC_0788

The end result was the same as I still got to go on a glorious walk on trails I had never been on before covering a little over 8 miles. The upland trails are a mixture of grassland and small areas of oaks and cedars with some rocky areas in some sections of the trail. The trail winds upwards to the highest point but it is a gradual climb with no steep hills. I met one cyclist going in the opposite direction but other than that, had the trails to myself.DSC_0790

The recent rains had left the soil damp and I was able to photograph several different animal tracks as they either crossed or followed the trail I was on.

If I have any complaints is that the trails are not too well marked at least by some of the other Parks standards which is why I ended up going in the opposite direction than I wanted. The only reason that I knew this was the sun was on my right side instead of my left which meant I was travelling east. I will know to be a little more careful next time out. The pictures are typical winter scenes with a lot of brown with some green grass and the ever present Junipers and Oaks.

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A Trio of Hikes – Milton Reimers Ranch – Travis County


Reimers Ranch Park – A Travis County Park.

DSC_0302This was the second of the trio and I have been here once before and taken a short hike, mainly to explore the park and to see just what it might offer. That was back in the summer and the temperature was hovering around the 100 degree mark, not conducive for long hikes. This time, I was determined to do some walking and take a few pictures. I chatted to the Guard at the gate as I drove in, which by the way, is free for those 62 and older and he told me that there were a few Firemen down by the rocks on some training exercise but that I could walk there as long as I didn’t get in the way.

Reimers Ranch is very different than McKinney Roughs. For one thing, most of the vegetation of the tree variety comprises of cedars with a few Live Oaks here and there except in the first Mountain Climbing Area that has a couple of huge and probably very old Cyprus Trees growing in the valley at the bottom of the cliffs. It turns out that the firemen were training on erecting a rope bridge across the valley between the rocks, a distance of about 100 hundred feet. I wished them luck as I walked on by and told them not to count on me to make it across.

There are 3 trails that sort of run parallel to each other as they follow the flow of the Pedernales River. The middle trail is situated on the top of the bluff that overlooks the river and is a man-made gravel path that is very easy to walk on. It is designated as the Hike and Bike Trail on the map. The bottom trail runs right alongside the river and is more undeveloped and marked on the map as “primitive” and is quite tricky in a few places.

I made my way down to the riverside via a path strewn with rocks and boulders. At the bottom, there was no defined trail as I walked alongside the river. In places, it was possible to see where the trail was supposed to be but the grass was long and had covered most of it up. I pressed on and after a mile or so, saw the path led upwards  to the top of the valley as we were approaching the second of the climbing area’s. This one is known as the North Shore Climbing Area. The upward climb was pretty steep but as I reached the top, it brought me back onto the Hike and Bike trail that I talked about earlier.

I took this back to my starting point which was the first of the three parking areas on the West side of the paved road. I passed a few people on the Hike and Bike Trail and as is usual for people out taking walks and enjoying the fresh air and countryside, nearly always exchange greetings and maybe stop and chat for a bit. My own personal belief is that those of us that like to be close to nature, have a great deal of respect for our fellow-man as we have this mutual bond that we share.

I covered about 5 miles by my trusty pedometer and burned a few calories along the way. Again, I put my new camera to good use taking a lot of pictures of whatever caught my eye. On the way home, I drove through Bee Caves which incidentally, also has a Starbucks. A perfect ending to a great walk.

I plan on returning to this park and this time, I want to hike the entire Mountain Bike Trail which includes the “third trail” and looks to be pretty long if I walk the entire loop.

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