A Walk at Pedernales Falls State Park 5-30-2016

DSC_2333I haven’t been on a walk in several days and I noticed that holding my weight seems to be directly correlated to the walking that I do. No walks and the weight goes up, walk and off it comes. With that thought in mind and with the reminder that my weight had increased by 3 pounds, I told myself that it was time to get up of my fat(ter) ass and get out there.

In truth, I have been busy with the blog site and with the other site I maintain for the Austin Pond Society and it has been very wet (for Texas). Visions of mud packed boots each weighing 20 pounds or more was a bit of added deterrent. So, with nothing immediately pressing, I packed some fruit and filled my water bottle and jumped into the car for the hour long drive to Pedernales Falls listening to Stephen Kings Dark Tower Book 4 on the way.

We had heavy rain last evening and I expected the trails to be muddy in places but I know the Pedernales Trails are also well covered with rocks so I was hoping for a happy medium. The place was booming and it seemed that everyone and his brother and their family was pulling up and wanting to get into the park. Of course it was a Holiday, Memorial Day which probably accounted for a lot of the traffic.

I paid my $6 and showed my State Park card, grabbed a fresh map and went back to my car. I had already done some research before I left the house and had more or less decided that would hike the Madrone Trail. I drove back out of the Park and parked my car in the lot off Pedernales Falls Road, 201. There was one other car in the lot but it was late to go hiking as it was already 2:00 pm. Most avid hikers usually get out early to beat the heat of the day which incidentally, was beginning to warm up to about 85 degrees.

After the usual process of putting on boots,  strapping on the camera belt, packing the fruit and water and grabbing my hiking poles, I was ready to be off. The weather has now turned humid with the recent rains and it wasn’t long before I had worked up a sweat.

I hiked East along the Madrone Trail heading towards the East Boundary of the Park. The trail was a bit muddy in places and there was water standing and running in places that was not there on previous hikes along this trail. It was remarkably quiet with only the occasional bird song or call, kind of eerie as I was expecting more bird noises. I did not see any animals or other hikers and hardly any flowers as the Spring flowering season had moved along.

I crossed the Pedernales Falls Road with the intent of continuing along the Madrones Trail although I was not planning on covering it all of the way. Having not been walking in a while and with the weather warming up, I did not want to overdo it. I reached the intersection where the Madrone Trail met with the Wheatley Trail which would bring me back to the Pipeline ROW. From there,  I followed the Pipeline until I hit Windmill Road which I knew would bring me back almost to the Parking Lot. The Pipeline is not really a part of the trail system but it is walkable, with lots of loose shale and a couple of steep up and downs. One has to be careful not to slip and fall ass over tip on the loose material especially going downhill. Windmill Road takes you right through a parking/camping area set up for horses and trailers although there were none in it as I walked through.

I got back to the car a very happy walker. It had been a thoroughly enjoyable hike although the summer heat will take a bit of getting used to. It had affected me more that I liked and I probably should make sure to start out early next time. Altogether, I covered 16,870 steps which translates to 7.5 miles on my step length and burned 343 calories. Hard to burn those things off. With the exception of a few birds, I never saw another living thing, animal or human. I took a few pictures but was not able to capture anything really dramatic. The cedar (Ashe Juniper) is persistent throughout the Park and there are not too may Live Oaks so the scenery is very repetitive.

On the way home, I made my usual stop at Starbucks, a nice way to finish off the day.