Buescher State Park – First Trip Jan 23, 2015

Pine Tree at Buescher State ParkI originally meant to hike the Bastrop State Park but arrived late in the afternoon and opted to just drive around the park to see what wonders it might hold. It is a very sad sight to see the beautiful pines mostly gone in the wildfire of 2011 and it made me feel very depressed as the view didn’t change. Miles and miles of charred trees standing like ghost statues as mementos to the fire.

I was able to drive around the loop for free as long as I didn’t get out of my car and I was under a time limit given me by the Park Ranger. I had no intention of doing anything except to view the damage but I did discover that I could drive on to Buescher State Park on Park Road 1-c. I¬†completed the loop and then took the road to Buescher Park, a distance of 11 miles. On the way, I ran out of the fire desolation and the trees and greenery were again abundant with a lot of the Pine trees mixed in with the others. I noticed a couple of trail heads among all of this greenery marking the trails that ran through the area.True to its word, the road ran right into the Buescher Park and on the way out, I stopped at the Guard Station and picked up a couple of maps and then drove home and made plans to visit the Buescher Park instead on a different day.

Two days later found me driving towards Smithville and back to the Park the entrance of which is off Highway 153 just outside of Smithville. For a nominal fee of 4 dollars and after a couple of questions to the Park Ranger, I hopped back into my car and headed back up Park Road 1-c to the first trail head marked on the map. Pulling into the parking area, the first thing I noticed was the marvellous view from the overlook that was the parking area. In the far distance, I could see the burned trees standing like statues on top of the hill, several miles away.

I opted to walk a 5 mile loop that led me up one side of Park Road 1-c and the after crossing the road, back  down to my starting point coming out at the Virginia Harris Cockrell Cancer Research Center at Science Park, just across the road from the parking lot.

It was a great day to be walking and I passed a few others who obviously had drawn the same conclusion. The hike was a mix of scenery but was nearly always under the shade of trees of different varieties. The trail was not a bit difficult and the surface changed from red rock, to pebble stones and then to plain old dirt as I changed elevations. There were a couple of new bridges and at one point a sign warning of a dangerous curve ahead. The trail is open to bikers but it did not appear that it was used by too many. I didn’t see a single one and there were no signs underfoot that any had passed recently. The recent rains had filled the very small stream in one of the gullies but it was really not much more than a ditch and presented no difficulties.

From a photographic point of view, there is a lot of monotony in the scenery and it was difficult to get much variety in the pictures. I spent a couple of hours and took well over 100 pictures some of which are shown below. There is one whimsical picture of little stacks of rocks that some enterprising, and probably young person, had taken the time to build.The class I recently attended at Precision Camera has helped me tremendously in getting things in focus and making better choices of subjects. On the way home, I was drawn by a beautiful sunset and just had to stop the car to take a couple of pictures.

I plan on going back to Buescher State Park in a couple of days to hike the long trail.

How I Love the Sun

A view at McKinney Roughs

A view at McKinney Roughs

At last, when I awoke this morning, the sun is shining
after several days of cold, dark, rainy weather
seeing the sun is like having renewed life
and as warm-blooded as we are, a necessity.

I do not do well when the weather is overcast
it is as though the dark grey clouds and the rain
are like a heavy weight upon my shoulders
and it makes me feel very low.

But, I see the sun and my spirits have lifted
I can feel the heat on my back
and my heart sings with joy
for the beauty and warmth that it brings.

The Sun and the Rain

Sun and clouds

Sun and clouds

I got to see the sun today
it shone for a while as though to say
fear not, I have not deserted you
just hiding away from your view
as in the natural scheme of things
in this part of the country where I live
the sun shines nearly everyday
while occasional clouds get in the way
which has happened for the last few days
as cold and miserable with a little rain
has dampened our spirits enough to say
you can’t have sunshine every day
this is just to let you know
we need the rain for things to grow
as the sun for all of its warmth
dries things out leaving to chance
whether enough rain is falling to help Nature’s dance.

Circle C Trails

Circle C trail

Circle C trail

I have found a new trail that for me, is real close to home. It is the circle C trails off of Slaughter Lane. The trails are not very long but are interesting enough to take a lot of pictures. They actually surround the soccer complex and include a stream which when full, does act as a barrier to one part of the trail as without getting your feet wet, there is no way to cross it. I was working on new photographic concepts and it was an ideal place to try them out.

The problem with taking pictures of the great outdoors at this time of the year is the almost complete lack of greenery with the exception of the evergreen oaks and cedars. Give it a month,and things will start to change.

The pictures are in the form of the slideshow below. Enjoy.

Circle C Hike Jan 2015 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Barton Creek Greenbelt Walk in December

I took a walk on one of the Barton Creek Greenbelt trails back in December. The walk was pleasant enough and very invigorating and it was a beautiful day and not cold at all. There was a lot of grey and not much greenery to be expected even in a Texas winter. I took a few pictures and have them on show below. Enjoy.

Another Grey Day

Another Bright and Sunny Day

            Another Bright and Sunny Day

It’s another grey and cloudy day
enough to make me want to stay
in bed with the covers over my head
and sleep till noon and hopefully then
the sun will shine through the gloom
and I will want to leave my bed.

The dogs will not let me stay there long
as their breakfast they want to eat
and they will start to make a fuss
and lick my face as I try to sleep
until whether I like it or not
they force me out to face the day.

I do not like it when it is grey
and wish the clouds would go away
and let the sun shine through on us
to feel the warmth and the shiny light
that the sun provides when it can be seen
shining down on us to make everything bright.

Winter in Texas

Gloomy Day

A Gloomy Day

Well, winter has finally arrived to us here in Texas. Not the type of roaring blizzard with 50 mph winds and inches of snow. No, we don’t have that sort of winter at least around central Texas where I live. Our winters are different.

It usually starts with the leaves falling off the trees and the temperature slowly dropping out of the summer 100’s to the fall 70’s. Then before you realize it, all of the trees with the exception of the evergreen oaks are totally bare and suddenly, the temperature has dropped into the 40’s and 50’s. These changes are subtle and have a way of sneaking up on one.

All of these changes are totally bearable with the only difference to my normal attire of shorts and tee-shirt being the addition of a jacket or warm sweater. If it gets really cold, I will have to resort to long pants.

So, I wake up one morning and the weather is dull and gloomy. Where did the sun go we are asking as the sun to Texans is like a goddess, always there and ready to keep us warm. The temperature has now dropped to the mid 40’s and dipping. The weather is cloudy and overcast. It is raining a fine misty rain and there are winter weather warnings on the television. At night, we are getting a light frost when the thermometer drops as low as 25 degrees, cold for us.

All of the succulent vegetation will die off to be replaced by new in the spring. The outside pipes have all been wrapped and everything but the essential water supply to the house is turned off. Its like being in a foreign land of which we know very little. The ponds will not freeze as the moving water prevents it. The fish have all done their fish thing and hibernated to the bottom of the pond with very little movement except for the occasional swish of a tail. Everything is grey and still with the only movement the birds on the feeders, fighting and squabbling for the seed that I have put there for them.

I find this weather very depressing. I dislike dull and grey and yearn to see the sun again and as much as I complain about how hot it will get, I will take it every time over this dull and disconsolate weather.

It will be like this off and on for the next month and then before we know it, things are turning green and Mother Nature has re-asserted herself by presenting us with new growth and sun, lots of sun. I will have less than two weeks to chop down all of the dead vegetation before the new are poking their heads above ground. Things happen fast in Texas.

I can’t wait…