Reimers Ranch 01-24-2019


A panoramic view showing the winter brown foliage.

The weather was so nice that I just had to get out and take a walk. I settled on Reimers Ranch as it is not too far from my house and around a thirty minute drive. As the Bluetooth unit in the truck had just quit (see my previous blog) I had to rig up a different system which I did by using my portable Bluetooth speaker so that I could listen to Audiobooks as I drive.

I parked in the Mountain Bike Parking Lot and after donning all of my gear, set out across the trail that divides the main Multi Use Trail that encircles the park. This trail comes out at a place known as Johny’s Homestead where a cabin used to stand. This burnt down several years ago and all that remains is the stone chimney. It probably has a history and a story or two if there was any way of finding them.

I struck out on the Multi Use Trail heading in a Northerly direction. The Multi Use Trail is very wide, enough for the Park’s vehicles as they cover the property and very easy walking. The sun was shining very brightly and it was hard to realize that it was a winter’s day. My part of Texas in the middle of the State does not really get a winter in terms of really bad weather. Just the occasional freeze and uncomfortable drops in temperatures although it was a balmy seventy degrees as I walked enough to work up a sweat. I arrived at a spot where the main trail split, one way was a short cut that, if followed cut off a mile or so of the big loop. I chose to take the other trail which is a continuance of the main trail but is known as the Turkey Loop. It swings around for a mile and then rejoins the main trail by the last parking area. I have yet to see any turkeys but I did come across a whole bunch of their footprints so they do exist. The area had some rain and the ground was moist in places enough that the wildlife had left an assortment of tracks. I am so noisy as I walk due to using two walking poles that I am very lucky if I see anything live other than humans or horses.

Cardinal

I did manage to get a picture of a Cardinal sitting in the tree but was very frustrated by my inability to capture any of the other birds that tormented me by flying ahead and when they settled, it was always within a bush or tree and under cover.

Beautiful dogs

I met a young lady who had a couple of very large chocolate labs with her and we stopped and chatted for a bit and she allowed me to take their pictures.

I followed the main trail until I came to the signpost marking the second to last parking area known as River View Parking No 1 where I crossed the paved road so that I could walk the gravel path that overlooks the river. This pathway has been undergoing some extensive repairs and now in many places, it is a concrete path as well as the original gravel. The old pathway was subject to washing out if we ever had any heavy rains. This pathway runs the full extent of the Park from the first parking lot to the last and makes for a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.

In several places, the trail overlooks the river but in many others, trees and vegetation block the view. The scenery was a typical winter brown and that was pretty much true throughout the park.

When I arrived at the first parking lot, I ran back into the lady with the dogs and we chatted some more before going our separate ways. Mine was to cross the street and climb the hill to where my truck was parked in the Mountain Bike Parking Lot. I was still the only vehicle parked there but it was a Friday after all. As per my usual custom on any walk, I had sweat enough to warrant a change of clothes for the drive home. Unlike hiking at McKinney Roughs, there was no main office selling ice cream so I had to settle for driving home via Dripping Springs just so that I could grab a latte.

Altogether, I hiked 5.5 miles and enjoyed it immensely. It felt good to get back out on the trails again.

Written 01/25/2020.

Reimers Ranch 11-4-2019


The horse coral is on the right

At the last minute I decided that I would take a short walk at Reimers Ranch mainly because it is close to me at least, compared to the other places that I like to hike. It is about 15 miles from my house and doesn’t take me very long to get there.

It was a beautiful day, clear and sunny with the temperature around 80 degrees, far less that the 100 degrees that we have had just a couple of weeks ago. Texas weather is very strange and is hard to adjust to. The only certain thing is that it will be 100 degrees in the summer and anywhere from 60 degrees to a few degrees below freezing in the winter and not too many of those days, either.

There were several cars in the Parking Lots as other like me have been waiting for it to cool down. This on a weekday. I parked in the Mountain Bike Parking Lot as I had already decided that I would take the trail that divides the big loop and ends at Johnny’s Homestead. The big loop is labeled as the Multi Use Trail and is almost 5 miles around it and makes for a nice and easy walk for anyone interested in getting some exercise. It’s only problem is the lack of shade and probably three quarters of it is out in the sun.

A couple on Mountain Bikes passed me and we exchanged greetings. They were the only people that I saw on this particular walk. The walking was easy and I managed to work up a sweat in no time flat. I opted to take the shortcut that probably lessened the walk by half a mile or so. One thing that I noticed was the complete absence of birds either visibly or audibly. When walking out in the open, it is hard to see them sometimes as they have the annoying habit of flying on just ahead of you and not settling to where I could get pictures but this time around, there were none that I could see.

I made good time and walked past the parking lot where the horse trailers pull in but it too was empty. It was not until I had turned back into the road that leads back to my truck that I saw and heard a flock of birds. They were too far way to get any pictures but at least I got to see them as they landed on the ground to feed. They looked like quail.

There were a couple more trucks in the lot than when I left. There is a wooden veloway built by the County and I had heard these riders as they worked out on it. I could not see them from my location but they came back to their truck and we chatted for a bit.

Altogether, I covered almost 3 miles of very pleasant walking although it turned out to be hot enough that as usual, I had to change my clothes before the drive home. I took a few pictures but there was really nothing much to photograph that I hadn’t already taken pictures of before.

It was great to be back out walking again and oh yes, I voted today…

11/5/2019

Spring Flowers 2019


With time on my hands and an urge to get out into the countryside, I drove to Reimers Ranch to take a few pictures. Even though is was a bit late in the season, the wildflowers were still showing in all of their glory. I have put them together in a video complete with music. Enjoy.

Spring Flowers

This Cypress tree is standing in a ravine that is probably 20-30 feet deep which gives you an idea of its size

Here are some of the other views that I took.

The block structure is a representation of a chimney and is there to encourage the Chimney Swifts to nest.

Written 6/4/2019

Reimers Ranch 1-6-2019


A multi picture panoramic

The sun was shining and the temperature was almost at 70 degrees which made it a perfect day, weatherwise to take a hike. This, in the middle of a Texas winter. I decided that I would take a walk at Reimers Ranch this time taking the Hogge trails that I have walked several times before. The Hogge trails are the latest addition to the Reimers Ranch Park and is made up of donated land that adjoins the original Park.

I pulled into the Mountain Bike Parking Lot with a couple of other cars already parked and went through my usual preparation. Again, I opted for a single camera with the 18-400 lens which gives me tremendous flexibility in both long range and close up shots, besides being light to carry.

I set off taking the trail that leads to Johnny’s Homestead and almost immediately came across a crow that was busy finishing a meal as it was perched in the tree in front of me. I managed to get a decent shot of it but it is almost a black and white shot with no background to provide any contrast. As it turns out, this was the only bird or animal that I saw close enough to photograph. Moving on, a Park Ranger driving a Kubota All Terrain Vehicle stopped to see if everything was OK. I assured him that everything was fine as I was just getting started. We both went our separate ways as I continued my hike.

Reaching Johnny’s Homestead, I took the Multi Use Trail that veered off heading for Hogge Trails, a hike of well over a mile or so to reach them. This particular trail crosses the stream that at this time of the year is free flowing with plenty of water. I was following fresh horse prints of at least three horses but as it happened, I never met any of them. I had noticed on the way in as I passed the Horse Paddock, there were four trailers with horses and riders in different stages of cooling down their horses after their ride.

The Multi Use Trail that leads to the Hogge trails is a long uphill climb. On the way in, it is not steep but it seems to go on forever and climbing all of the time. Gave me the chance to take some great panoramic shots from the highest point in the Park. I eventually came to the gate that leads into the Hogge Ranch and trails and chose to take the Outer loop which was the longer of the two trails. In actuality, there is one big loop which is dissected by a single trail giving the option of the Inner or Outer Loop. The Park has its winter coat on with most everything brown except for a few Live Oaks and of course, the inevitable Cedars.

Uphill all of the way.

As I trudged along on the way towards the end of the loop, I could hear the Rangers Kubota as it made the loop on the other side and figured that he would eventually catch up to me as I walked back down the hill towards the stream. Sure enough, a few minutes later, he pulled up alongside and enquired if I was OK. I had a choice at that point whether to keep walking or to hitch a ride but as the object was to get some exercise and that I was feeling good, I assured him that I was fine. I thanked him for checking on me. He drove off and I continued on my way.

I reached the stream and after crossing it, I noticed there was a trail that ran parallel to it and I figured that it would dissect with the other main Multi Use Trail that encircles the entire park. I had never walked this trail before so decided to take it. I knew where it would come out which was also close to the Multi Use Shortcut that I wanted to take. Sure enough, things worked out as I had hoped and soon I was walking the Multi Use Shortcut which would link up with the Main Trail and back to the parking lot and my truck.

A view from the far end of the Hogge Trail

I was the only vehicle left in the parking lot when I arrived back. I changed out of my sweat soaked clothes into some dry ones so as to be comfortable on the drive home. I had roughly estimated that I had walked around 6 miles but when I checked my phone and a pedometer that I always carry, one said 9.2 miles and the other 9.5. No wonder I was tired. A good way to start the New Year. So, a long drive home with a stop at Starbucks in Dripping Springs as a reward on the way. A perfect end to a perfect day made even nicer in knowing that I could jump into my hot tub to ease the aching muscles.

On the way out of the Park, I was able to capture a glorious sunset.

Nature’s Beauty
A video of the walk.
This is of several panoramic shots

Written 1/10/2019

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

Reimer’s Ranch 11-3-2018


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Now fully enthused with getting back to hiking, I took another walk at Reimer’s Ranch fully intending this to be just a short hike for a couple of miles or so. Instead, it turned out to be the longest one yet of these most recent walks. I went through my usual change of clothes routine but it was not until I had covered a half mile or so that I realized I had not changed into my hiking boots. Luckily, my shoes are walking shoes with thick soles and lots of support so it was not really a big deal. Certainly not big enough to turn around and change.

I hadn’t planned on such a long walk. I thought that maybe a short loop from the Mountain Bike Parking Lot over to Johnny’s Homestead. At that point I was going to decide which way I wanted to go as I had five different options. I finally chose to take the Multi Use Trail which surrounds the entire park and then turned off onto the Kelly Prehn Overlook. Just prior to making the turn, a young lady passed me running the Multi Use Trail. I had noticed her with her husband or boy friend in the same Parking Lot that I was in. He unloaded a bike which I supposed was for his use as she was the one running. Great way for both of their different interests to be combined to one location.

I continued along the trail leading to the Overlook where I was able to look down the gorge and see the stream at the bottom. I was a bit surprised that the stream was not flowing much heavier after all of the rain. The pictures that I took do not do the view justice as I was not able to capture the depth of the gorge from the overlook but it is probably around 150 feet.

From Kelly Prehn, I took the trail that leads to Pogue Canyon. Both views are very similar and Spruce trees are dropping their needles very fast as winter approaches. Again, my pictures do not show the depth very well. I walked back to the Multi Use Trail and kicked around which way I wanted to go. I finally decided to follow the young lady and took the Multi Use Trail which eventually brought me back to the Parking Area which had emptied considerably from when I first arrived. I was really dragging by the time I got back and my two pedometers registered around 6.5 miles. I sure wish my hot tub was fixed as I could really use it after these sort of walks.

Reimers Ranch 11-3-2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Written 11/7/2018

The Second Walk of the Year


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As I had promised myself a couple of days ago, I was back out on the trail again and back at Reimers Ranch. This time I planned on a longer walk to get in some exercise as well as take pictures. It took me a while to gear up as I hadn’t used any of the camera carrying equipment for a couple of months. I finally sorted it all out but ran into a problem with one of the camera safety straps as the clip on the end was malfunctioning. I had to cobble together a temporary strap promising myself that I would fix the other one as soon as I got back home.

With everything in place, I set off along the Turkey Trail with the usual high hopes of seeing something worthwhile to photograph. Even if I didn’t see anything dramatic like a Deer or a Turkey I always had the good old standby of the trails themselves. The Parks people had been doing a lot of controlled burns on this end of the trail exposing the very nature of the ground itself. It is so rocky in a lot of places that it is no small wonder that the only thing to grow is scraggly grass, cactus and more rocks.

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As I made my way down the trail, I noticed that I was being followed by a young couple with a two fairly large dogs. I am quite sure that if they had walked at their normal speed, they would easily have gone by me but they chose to hang back. I took the River Trail just before the Park ends and cut back along the river towards the Rock Climbing Area. This is a nice and interesting trail to walk now that the Parks people have cleared it. The river is on one side and the rocky bluffs on the other making for a shady walk for most of its length.

I could hear the rock climbers on my left talking and laughing and generally sounding like they were having fun. Not quite my idea of entertainment even if I was a young man. Definitely not now. I passed a few people walking the trail in the opposite direction, most of whom were younger people although there was one older guy with a dog. When I reached the rock climbing area I managed to get a couple of pictures of three of them on the rock face.

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As I continued along, I saw the most river activity that I have seen since walking these trails. First I passed a motor boat that was anchored in the stream and a bit further up, a family of four who were fishing, standing in the water with waders on. I did not see them catch anything while walked by. A little further, I passed a Father with three kids who had some sort of contraptions that they threw into the air. The things made a loud whirring noise and were a bit like a boomerang as they were supposed to come back to the thrower.

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Next and for the first time ever walking these trails, there was activity on the opposite bank from one of the houses that sits on top of the bluff. The family were involved in several different activities from wading in the water to canoeing to just sitting around.

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As I continued along, I passed other people who were just sitting around on the river bed enjoying the beautiful day. Today was the most activity not counting the swimming area, that I have ever seen that many people actually enjoying the river. Of course the day was a Sunday which tends to bring people out. As I walked along, I noticed a square shaped rock on top of the bluffs that looks like it is just balancing in place and just had to take a picture.

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I kept walking and decided to go up the steep exit to the third parking area. This is quite a feat by itself as I have often mentioned before as making one’s way up the stone steps is quite an effort. All that remained was the walk back along the gravel path that spans the entire length of the park on top of the river bluffs. I passed two different Buzzards and what looks like a Sparrow perched in the trees. They all allowed me to walk right past them and made no attempt to fly off even though I was as close as twenty feet from them. Of course, they were up in a tree and they knew I couldn’t fly.

I arrived back at the Parking Lot and my truck and the lot which had been totally full when I pulled in was now beginning to empty. As usual, I had to change out of my sweat soaked clothes before taking a slow drive home stopping at Starbucks along the way to reward myself with  latte. Altogether, I covered almost five miles enjoying every minute of it. It’s great to be  walking again…

The story would not be complete if I didn’t include pictures of the trails that I walked. It is definitely the winter season here in central Texas. Everything is so brown and lifeless. Any patch of green is a welcome relief.

Plus a few panoramic views.
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Written 2/6/2018