The last time I was at Reimer’s Ranch a couple of days ago, I discovered that they had opened up two new trails named the Hogge Trails. I walked the first mile that led to the trails themselves but had decided that I would actually hike them on a different day which I chose to do this past Sunday.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous with the sun shining but not too hot to make it uncomfortable. Being Sunday, there were lots of cars in the Trail Bike Parking lot which is the one that I needed to start my hike. Most had bike racks on the back but there were a few that like mine, were without, indicating that we were hikers and not bikers.
After the usual preparation of changing into my hiking boots, hooking on my camera belt, loading in my fruit snacks and grabbing my hiking poles, I was ready to go. I took the trail that led to Johnny’s Homestead occasionally having to step off the trail to let some bikers come on by and after about a mile, ended up at the intersection where the main Multi Purpose trail meets with the new trail leading to the Hogge Trails. This one is about a mile and as I described in my previous blog, is a steady uphill climb giving me a wonderful view of the Texas Hill Country.
On the way out, I could hear voices behind me which seemed to be catching up pretty quickly. I turned and saw that I was now accompanied on the trail by two ladies each on a very large horse. We exchanged greetings and I asked if I could take their pictures which I did but only from the back view. I followed their tracks for the rest of the hike and contemplated how much horses seem to have grown since I had them 30 years ago. I couldn’t remember mine being anywhere near as large.
I eventually arrived at the gate which is the border of the original park and stepped into the new Hogge Preserve. There are two trails one listed as the Inner Loop of about 1.5 miles and the other as the Outer Loop which is listed as 2 miles. I wanted to cover all of the trails and as they have not yet been listed on a map, I had no idea of the actual shape. I suspected that they would be like a figure eight but did not want to go off trail wandering around and decided to walk the Outer Loop. The first thing I noticed was the very large flat rocks that were laying around which I had not seen anywhere else in the park. There were also indications of controlled burns in many different areas. The trails were very nice to walk with a lot of green everywhere I looked. The Outer Loop took me to the furthermost end of the Park and then looped around heading back to where I started.
Just as I had suspected, halfway out, there was a signpost and a trail indicating the Inner Loop. It had 3 picnic tables which I gratefully took advantage of to rest and eat an apple before continuing on my way on the Outer Loop. I continued walking the Outer Loop until I came to a point where again, the signpost indicated that the branch off to the left was indeed the Inner Loop. I chose to follow it wanting to see how far it was to the other point of entry. My guess is that it is not too much more than a half mile or so. As soon as I reached the first signpost, I turned back and retraced my steps and rejoined the Outer Loop and headed back to the gate. I completed the figure eight just as I expected.
From this point on, it was a general downhill walk heading back to Johnny’s Homestead and from there, the mile hike back to the Trail Bike parking area. On the way, a couple of young female Trail Bikers passed me going in and as we passed, called out the usual friendly greeting that outdoors people always seem to have for each other. A little further on, a grey fox crossed the trail in front of me. Of course, by the time I saw it, I had no time to even get the camera off the belt before it was gone but I do remember that it had a very bushy tail. That is the second major sighting while out walking the first being a couple of deer at Pedernales Falls. I also saw several Wild Turkey footprints, the first I had seen of the presence of these birds although the Park is known to have them. The walk was very satisfying with flowers in abundance and views of distant streams. There were many places that the entire landscape was of tiny white flowers that just carpeted the countryside.
By the time I got to the parking lot, it had emptied considerably but still had a few cars. I chatted to a couple of young male cyclists just getting ready to head out. They wanted to know if I had seen any girls on the trail and I told them that if they hurried, they might catch the two I had seen on the Hogge Trails. It was all in good fun as they had no intentions of even heading in that direction.
I changed out of my hiking boots and sat by the car for a while just enjoying the sun and the silence except for the birds and just soaking up my bodily tiredness. Directly in front of me was the little grouping of Bluebonnets. As I sat there, the two aforementioned female cyclists pedalled back into the lot and to their car. Altogether, I covered 8.5 miles on the trails and was very grateful for the fact that except for the muscles feeling a little sore, I otherwise felt good. Compared to how I felt the last time out, this was just wonderful. A lot of it is psychological probably because I really wanted to go walking today and the last time out, not so much.
I had to make a stop at HEB on the way home which also happened to have a Starbucks right next to it. So with groceries in my car, a Latte and listening to an audiobook, a very contented old man made the trip home to be greeted by two very happy Dachshunds.
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