My two friends George and Gloria and their dogs, Nina and Bobby and myself went back to McKinney Nature Park to hike a couple of trails that we had not yet covered. As it was Sunday, the Office is not open with the main gate remaining closed and the only way into the Park is through the two trailhead entrances, Hwy 71 Trailhead and Pope Bend Trailhead that are set up on either end of the Park. The one we used is only about a mile down from the main entrance on Hwy 71.
As this was the first time we had used this particular entrance, we parked by the first gate and after a brief discussion about which trails to take, we headed down the dirt road towards the trail we had selected. It turns out that we could have driven through the first gate which would have brought us closer to the trails from the second parking lot we found there. This lot had several horse trailers parked in it along with a bunch of cars indicating the popularity of this Park.
We had chosen to hike Whitetail which would eventually bring us into Bobcat Ridge and from there, to Pine Ridge which would bring us back to our starting point. Whitetail was very uneventful with the normal trails that we had come to expect in this Park. We met several other hikers along the way and a couple of riders on their sweaty steeds, signs of some of the hard riding they had enjoyed.
I took many pictures as we marched along trying to get a feel for the beauty of this Park even in the middle of this Texas winter which has been the roughest in terms of frost since I emigrated here from New York State almost 40 years ago.
The terrain started to change from Bobcat to Pine Ridge for as the name implies, we were walking along the top of a ridge with many wonderful views. The trail was also harder to walk as it was much hillier than anything we had walked in the previous hikes. We dropped deep into the valley and came across a small stream with running water and followed it for about 500 yards before branching off and starting the long climb back to the top of the ridge.
This turned out to be the most interesting part of the hike as the Park Maintenance people had literally built stairways to assist in the climb. I took several pictures of these man-made ladders and a few are in the slide below. We eventually arrived back to the top of the ridge and had a wonderful view of the Colorado River. I personally enjoyed this walk more than the others as the terrain was so varied and it presented a different challenge and even without the normal greenery that the trees provide, was very colorful.
We plan to go back to hike a trail called Pecan Bottom as it has the largest tree in the Park. It is the furthermost point from both the Hwy 71 Trailhead and the Main Office so depending on the mood of the day will determine if we choose the closer Pope Bend Trailhead to undertake this walk. Altogether, we covered five and a half much more difficult miles and the best thing, I never lost my sun glasses this time.