For those of you that have been reading about my exploits at Pedernales Falls State Park in my previous two blogs, know that I have managed to screw up the two times I have hiked there. Both times I missed taking crucial trails to bring me back to my car and on both occasions, ended up getting a ride back to it from kindly strangers who could see I was in trouble or at least lost.
On the drive to the park, a small brown dog dashed onto the road in front of me and had obviously just managed to escape as it was tearing up the road, running around in circles and was so happy to be loose. I swerved to miss it as did a car coming from the opposite direction. I stopped as I spotted another car coming towards us over the hill. The dog meanwhile, was just racing around delighted to be free. I flashed my lights at the approaching car as the dog was racing towards it and the car stopped. Then the dog’s owner appeared from between some parked cars and coaxed the little dog over to him who, I have to say, was just as happy to see his master. So, from what could have been a disastrous start to the day ended up the way it should have with the little dog safe and sound in his master’s arms. I knew then that the rest of the day was going to be just fine.
I continued on my way to Pedernales Falls Park as I wanted to lay this bugaboo to rest and was determined to find the right trail this time. I stopped at the desk and there was a young Park Ranger on duty who dutifully checked me in and took my $3.00. I inquired if anyone had turned in any sunglasses and he said that no one had recently. I am not too hopeful that I will ever see them again but thought I would ask anyway.
I drove down to the Wolf Mountain parking area and even parked in the same space as a couple of days before. I went through the usual procedure of boots, camera belt, water, fruit and hiking poles and was ready to go.
My plan was to hike the same trail only going in from the opposite direction than the other two times. When I had messed up before, it was at the tail end of the long Juniper Ridge Trail hike and where I should have taken South Loop Equestrian back to the parking area. This time, I started on the South Loop Equestrian until I hit the spot where the trails intersected and discovered that I had in fact, re-taken Juniper Ridge again when I made my mistakes.
Happy for discovering why I had messed up but totally mad at myself for doing so, I continued along South Loop Equestrian only this time, I was planning on heading towards Wolf Mountain. I reached the next intersection of trails at Windmill Road and followed it for a while. I was in the middle of nowhere, or so it seemed when all of a sudden, a young guy on a mountain bike came towards me. It is the oddest thing to be all alone and then all of a sudden, there is someone else on the same trail. I pulled off the trail to let him by and we exchanged pleasantries as he went on his way. I hiked onwards taking the trail towards Wolf Mountain. I hit the intersection where Wolf Mountain Trail Headed towards Jones Spring and another trail that leads around Wolf Mountain. The third trail would take me back to the parking lot. A group comprising of three young Asian women and one man passed me walking at a much faster clip than anything I could muster. They were quickly out of sight. As I got closer, I also passed another young couple coming towards me who were just heading out.
The Wolf Mountain Trail is a wide, almost two lane road that compared to some of the hike and bike trails, is a piece of cake to walk on. This is also the area where the primitive tent camping is allowed although they are on top of the bluffs above the Pedernales River. On the way back, the Wolf Mountain Trail crosses two different creeks, Bee Creek and Regal Creek. Both still had water flowing and afforded some spectacular views from the top of the bluffs. I spent some time scrambling around and getting pictures before returning to the main trail and heading back to my car.
As I took the last little bit of trail to the parking lot, the couple that had passed me going out also walked in behind me. I don’t know how far they had gone up the trail but I heard the woman say they had taken just over an hour. For them, hiking is more of a form of fitness taken in a wonderful surrounding provided by nature. I guess it is for me too but I have time to stop and smell the roses along the way.
I congratulated myself on getting back to my car and that I had managed a hike without getting lost and the best part is also getting back before it got dark. I had started out around 12:30 pm and it was now 5:00 pm and I covered almost 10 miles.
ALong the way, I managed to keep control of my camera without dropping it which was good as replacing the filter and the lens guard had cost me $115.00. For the very first time on the trails, I saw a huge buck with a big rack but was not quick enough to get the camera up in time. He was accompanied by at least two does. They were in no hurry to leave but were pretty well hidden in the trees. I got some great pictures of some spectacular views and did not get lost. Finally, the little brown dog episode had made a great start to the day. All in all, I would say that life is great…
As with all of these pictures, if you click on the first one, they become full size and you can use the side arrows to negotiate the slide show. Use the “Escape” key to get back to normal.