McKinney Roughs 10-1-2016


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Nature at her best.

I decided at the last minute to take a walk at my favorite place, McKinney Roughs on Saturday, October 1, 2016. I knew that the weather forecast called for cloudy skies and a little lower temperatures so  even with a late start, I should be OK.

I arrived at the Pope Bend Trailhead and there were already several horse trailers and cars in the lot. As I was getting ready, a group of six horses and riders came out of the trails and finished up their ride, dismounting and leading their horses to the water troughs or to the hose wash downs. They were chatting up a storm and were of mixed ages from adults to kids of about fifteen as best I could guess. Quite obviously, they had a successful ride.dsc_4029

I continued with my own preparations and after a false start with forgetting to change into my boots managed to get on my way. I took Yaupon for about half a mile and then branched off onto Buckeye as my plan was to walk the lower trails. I then moved on to Pecan Bottom and passed the giant Pecan Tree and took its picture and stopped to re-arrange my pack. I looked at the two hundred plus year old tree and wondered what stories it could tell as it sat here for all of those years. It still looks in good shape and could easily last another hundred years. I met a couple of horses and riders and we chatted for a bit and I managed to take their picture.

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This is not the 200 year old tree but another just like it and growing about 100 yards apart.

From Pecan Bottom I  got onto Deep Sandy which took me by the river.There I saw a couple of White Egrets. I ran into a younger couple who very excitedly told me they were on their honeymoon and were staying at the Hilton. They were from Houston. I moved on after wishing them all of the joy in the world and to have a wonderful life together and then got back to the more mundane but highly enjoyable at least to me, task of walking and  joined up with Coyote Road. As I rounded a curve in the trail, this big deer was standing right in front of me. Of course it was much faster than me in getting my camera up to take it’s picture and was long gone before I had even dropped my hand to the camera belt. As a western gunman, I would be dead as the deer had the drop on me.

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The Honeymooners.

As I started away from the river, I could hear what sounded like an Airboat roaring up the river and breaking the wonderful silence. I was too far away to take a picture but I could see as it flashed past, that it contained passengers. It roared up and down for several minutes scaring away more than a half dozen of the White Egrets. I figured it must be from the Hilton as one of their river trip offerings.

I kept walking along Coyote Road which I knew would bring me back to the Trailhead. On the way, I met up with another younger couple and we chatted for a while. They very willingly let me take their picture. Continuing along Coyote Road and heading back to the car, I passed a whole group of men as they were setting out on their hike.

I took a turn off onto the Overlook at Meditation Point and took a couple of pictures of the view looking up the river. I finally made it back to the Trailhead after covering about 5.5 miles. I found several flowers and took pictures and even found a squirrel who was busy collecting nuts on Pecan Bottom. He was a friendly little guy and was not a bit intimidated by my presence as he went about his business.dsc_4072

As usual, a great hike and very enjoyable. I really like hiking at McKinney Roughs. It has lots of shade and real trees with the Oaks, Elms, Firs and Pecans. The trails are always in first class condition and great to walk on.

I made my usual trip to Starbucks in Bastrop to help me on the long drive home.dsc_4088

If you click on any picture it will enlarge to full size and you can use the side arrows to move around. Use the “Escape” button to get back to normal.

I have grouped together the pictures. The first is of all of the flowers I was able find even this late in the season.

 

The next grouping is of the wonderful trails that can be found at McKinney Roughs.

A wonderful place to hike.

 

Another Hike at McKinney Roughs


Bobbie

Bobbie on the trail

Along with my two friends George and Gloria with their dogs, Nina and Bobbie, we went back to McKinney Roughs this time to hike to the Pecan Tree that was outlined on the travel guide as being almost 200 years old. It was situated on one of the trails we had not yet covered.

This time, in order to find a trail that was a little closer to the Pecan Tree, we stopped by the Trail Head to the Park off Pope Bend Road. This is a very popular entry for the horseback riders and while we were there, at least four trailers were in various stages of loading or unloading the horses. Some had finished their ride and were taking care of the horses by giving them a cool down bath with a hose pipe provided for that purpose while others were in the process of saddling up.

Two of the horses

Two of the horses

I had a couple of horses in my younger days and very much enjoyed trail riding with them. It seems nowadays that the horses have either grown much bigger or my memories of my riding days have so faded into the past that the size of my horses has shrunk along with the memories. Mine were nowhere near as big. Or maybe it’s me that has shrunk along with my memory.

Trail

More of the Trail

My friends arrived and we set off along the Buckeye trail heading to the Pecan Tree which we knew was no more than a couple of miles or so in. It was very pleasant walking as it was a little overcast and the trails were all soft going on sandy loam. They contoured  up and down and even though it was only a month or so ago from last time we were there, the vegetation has already grown tall with everything so green. The flowers were out in number and it was wonderful taking in the colors.

Even the dogs had an extra spring in their step as they chased back and forth enjoying the smells. They really love it on the trails. At one point, we came across a wood snake about three feet long and the dogs didn’t want anything to do with it at all. Funny how they know what is not good for them…By the way, that is the first snake I have seen in all of the many hikes I have been on. I guess I make enough noise for them to get out-of-the-way.

Pecan Tree

Pecan Tree

We arrived at the Pecan Tree and as the sign states, it is over two hundred years old with a girth of fifty-eight inches and almost twelve feet in circumference. It looks old and a little worse for wear but I hope I look that good when I reach that age…I tried to take a picture of it and even laying flat on my back could not do it justice. I ended up changing to a wide-angle lens which did the trick and allowed me to get more of the tree into the picture. Gloria stands about five feet three to give you an idea of the size of the tree. We rested for a while enjoying the tree and then went on our way back along the trail. Turns out there are two more Pecan Trees almost of the same size as we continued along the way. Gloria climbed into the fork of one of them to give the size a bit of perspective. Just wonderful to see trees that old and big still living.

Branches of the Pecan Tree

Branches of the Pecan Tree

Pecan Tree Plaque

Pecan Tree Plaque

We followed the trail along Pecan Bottom and back along Deep Sandy to Coyote Road. These were all trails we had not hiked before until we hit Road Runner which we recognized from before. The terrain had changed underfoot and now, much of the trail was covered in pebble stones and small rocks. Much harder to walk on.

On the way back along Road Runner, there is a short branch off to the Overlook at Meditation Point which gives a good view into the valley and the river and is one of the highest points in the park. There were a couple of buzzards floating in the wind and it seemed they were directly overhead and very close. It’s wonderful to watch them as they find the air currents and swoop and glide apparently almost without effort.

View of the River

View of the River

We finally arrived back to the Trail Head at Pope Bend Road. Several of the trailers had already left and the parkway was a little deserted. Altogether, we had hiked about five and a half miles, a nice comfortable hike. We burned off almost five hundred calories and had the good fortune to have stimulating company, good weather and the opportunity to get close to Nature.

George and Gloria along with Nina and Bobby headed home while I sat for a while just enjoying the solitude before de-touring into Bastrop to the local Starbucks to feed my one and only bad habit once more. Altogether a very fun and pleasant day.