I visited McKinney Falls which is actually a couple of miles upstream from McKinney Roughs, my last hike and not surprisingly, the terrain was very similar with the one exception of the huge granite surfaces that covered very much of ground. They were very impressive by their size and although from a distance appeared smooth, in fact on closer inspection, were covered in holes and grooves where the water over millions of years, had worn the rock away.
Such is the power of water as it continuously flows over the same spot be it rocks in McKinney State Park or the Grand Canyon. It is said that in Medieval times in England, one of the tortures in vogue at the time was an incessant drip of water onto a victim’s forehead which in the end, drove the victim mad.
The picture above from Wikipedia shows the falls when the river was much higher than it is now. Because of the ongoing drought in Texas, the water level is much lower and the falls are down to a single shute. One of the pictures in the slide show is of that single shute.
I walked several of the trails including the Rock Shelter which for centuries has provided shelter to both animals and man. Along the way, the trail passes by a huge cypress tree affectionately nicknamed “Old Baldy”. The tree is reputed to be several hundred years old and is hugely impressive.
The trail led me to a fairly modern structure named the Smith Visitor Center. It is no longer in use and as with all buildings that are just left to stand empty, is beginning to fall into decay. Such a shame that it can no longer serve any function in the Park. Buildings need people. They need life and activity in them or they quickly deteriorate.
I returned by way of the Picnic Trail which as the name implies, is dotted with clearings containing picnic tables and barbecue pits. I did not see a single family using any of the tables even though the weather was nice and the temperatures not too hot. My impression was that most of the picnic areas had not been used for some considerable time as again, there was an overall impression of neglect.
As I continued my walk, I mulled over in my mind why this Park was not very popular. Is it a financial thing that people do not want to pay the entrance fees? It cost me $6.00 and I don’t know if the kids are free so the minimum cost for a family would be $12.00. Maybe in this electronic age, nature and all of its wonders cannot compete with the bright and shiny modern toys. If this is true, then I fear that our younger generation is missing out both on learning about the joys and wonders of nature and the togetherness that camping and picnicking and the outdoor life in general can bring to a family.
I guess that I was born lucky in that respect. When I was a kid back in England, more than 70 years ago, I lived in the country. There was no television, computers and video games were a thing of the future and life was simple even with the threat of impending war. Nature and all of its beauty was my playground and I spent most of my wakened hours enjoying every minute of it.
That is why I love to hike and to be outdoors. I never stop being amazed at some of the things that I come across in my travels and with modern photographic equipment that allows me to take endless numbers of pictures or images as they are now called, I am never more at home or content with my lot than when I am outside walking the trails.
I plan on going back to McKinney Falls in the very near future especially now that the weather has cooled off, to continue on my discoveries of the Parks.