I went hiking with my friends, George and Gloria and their two dogs Nina and Bobby yesterday at McKinney Roughs. I was busy working on the latest renovation to one of the bogs (more on that later) and George wanted to watch the local football team, UT play against Oklahoma Sooners and as we didn’t want to hike for long, decided that 4:00 pm was a good time for a very short walk.
We made our separate ways to meet at the West Trailhead at the appointed time. I arrived early and busied with payments and grabbing a map, then putting on my boots and generally making my preparations for a walk. We hadn’t walked in a while as the weather had just been too bloody hot but with it cooling down, we had decided it was time to get out there closer to Nature.
I picked a route that would take us about 2 hours to cover and would be between 3-4 miles long. The map actually puts the walk time at 1-1/2 hours but with my much slower walking plus stopping to take pictures, I knew it would be closer to the 2 hours I suggested. We set off along Roadrunner and the first thing we noticed was the trails were so dry and there had been so much horse traffic that they were mostly sand and very nice to walk on. As we walked, the effects of no rain was very apparent as the plants were wilting and I didn’t see any flowers. Many of the trees were also showing signs of stress.
From Roadrunner, we took Coyote Road and then Deep Sandy which as the name implies walked us along the river as it flowed slowly and sedately along. Again, from the photographic angle, there was not much that caught my eye or that I had not already photographed on previous trips. Still, the walk was very pleasant and with the dogs be-bopping along and good conversation, it was very enjoyable.
We joined up with Pecan Bottom which brought us past the 200 plus year old Giant Pecan tree. That tree is huge and I could not help wondering what, if any, stories it could tell. In two centuries of life in this world, it just had to have seen some memorial moments.
From Pecan Bottom we moved onto Buckeye heading back to the point of origin. Buckeye turns out to be a very hilly walk and had us puffing and breathing hard for the last 400 yards. If we do this walk again and I am sure that we will,we need to do it in reverse and have the heavy climbs become downhill instead of up. Buckeye eventually brought us back to Roadrunner and to the parking lot. Gloria pointed out that the best parts of any hike is the beginning when you are fresh and excited about the walk and the last part when you know that the parking lot and the cars are very close at hand.
My friends and the dogs jumped into their car first making an offer of stopping for burgers and fries, an offer I had to decline as I knew that it would take me an hour to get home and I needed to be there in time to give my diabetic cat his insulin shot. After they drove out, I finished changing my boots, stowed my gear and decided to check my pedometer that I always carry just to see how far we had walked that day. Including whatever I had walked in the earlier part of the day when I was working on the bog, the pedometer showed that I had walked more than 7 1/2 miles. I figured that the hike probably accounted for at least 4 miles of that.
I ran into my usual problem as I exited the parking lot with the car making its own way East towards Bastrop and Starbucks instead of West towards Austin. I really need to work on that…
The trip home was uneventful and enjoyable as I slurped my latte and upon arriving back to Murmuring Creek, I stripped off and jumped into the hot tub to sooth the aching muscles and joints. It occurred to me while I was luxuriating in the 100 degree hot water that I could not remember taking the pedometer out of my shorts pocket and when I dressed in clean shorts and tee shirt, started looking for the thing. It was not in the house so I went to the car and did a quick search but could not find it anywhere. I remembered taking it out to look at it in the Parking Lot at McKinney and the thought struck me that I had probably dropped it and it was laying on the ground. I considered going back that night but common sense told me to wait until morning.
Just to be sure, I checked the house, the clothes I had taken off, the car, the back of the car and the camera bags but it was nowhere to be found and I was convinced that I must have dropped it. So before going to bed later that evening, I set my I-Phone’s alarm for 6:30 ready to wake up early and drive back to McKinney. I was afraid that if I didn’t get there early and it being Sunday when a lot of people like to hike or ride, someone would either find it or worst case scenario, run over it.
The next morning, I awoke and it was daylight so I knew something was wrong. Sure enough, I had set the alarm for pm instead of am which accounted for me waking up at my usual time of 7:30 am. I threw on some clothes, dashed cold water on my face and brushed my teeth, put the cats in their room safe from Richie, promised the dogs I would feed them when I got back and flew out the door. First though, I checked the car again just in case the tooth fairy or some other kind spirit had shown up in the night with the pedometer but to no avail. Big sigh and backed out of the garage.
Forty minutes later, I pulled into the McKinney Parking Lot after having taken care to not break too many speed limits in my haste to get there. I was in luck as there was only one horse trailer and one other vehicle before me. I hurried over to where I had parked the day before and started to methodically search the ground but to no avail. I searched several times as I have this bad habit of seeing through things even when they are really there in front of me, but no luck.
Dis-heartened, I slowly climbed back into the car and before driving off, happened to glance down at my seat belt and there in front of my eyes laying in clear view, upside down and resting on both seats, was the pedometer. I could not believe it. How had I not seen it before in the many times that I had searched the car. It was not like it was under the seat or even fallen between the seats. It was laying in clear view for all to see. All that is, except me.
I sat there for a while happy that I had found it but a little disturbed that I had not seen it sooner. How could I have missed it? Is my eyesight so bad that it didn’t register or is my brain not functioning in the recognition department. Shaking my head in utter disbelief, I started the car and took a slow and leisurely drive home. I managed to not stop at any of the Starbucks along the way preferring in fact, to drive home to my usual coffee and breakfast.
There is probably a moral to this story but I have no earthly idea what it may be. I searched several times with no luck. I woke up late but still managed to beat most of the early hikers, I finally found the pedometer right where I should have expected to find it and I even managed to get the car home without it finding its way to Starbucks and as an added bonus, I got to listen to more than an hour of Kathy Reich’s story of Deadly Decisions, read by Lorelei King.
So, I guess, all’s well that ends well…
Now where did I put my I-Phone…