Pedernales Falls State Park 2-11-2016.
I stopped into the office to pay my $3.00 and as I do nowadays, asked the usual question of, “Has anyone handed in any sun glasses”. The young Ranger behind the desk came back with 8-10 pairs and my heart leaped as I thought I saw mine among them but no, mistaken identity and again, mine were not there. The only way mine will show up is if the people that gave me a ride that night would bring them back to this park and it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.
I had already made up my mind after the last hike at Pedernales Falls State Park that I was going to wade the river and hike the Trammell’s Crossing Trail. The only way to get to the other side of the river is to get your feet wet or drive and as private vehicles are not allowed to drive across, it looks like it’s the get the feet wet routine. Trammell’s Crossing is a single slab of granite that spans the river in this particular spot. It is wide enough that the Park Personnel use it to ford the river when they need to drive their vehicles to the other side. It is quite possible to walk across and although the water is about mid calf, enough to get wet feet and socks, very easily wadeable. The only concern is the flow of the water which is quite strong. I found the best and easiest way is very slow steps almost like an ice skater sliding the foot across the tops of the rocks. This keeps the water pressure on the leg down to a minimum.
I tried to cross in a couple of other places a little further upstream but could not find enough rocks to step on and had to turn back both times. I noticed another hiker crossing at the real Trammell’s Crossing and made my way down the trail towards her. She was drying off her feet when I got to her and we stopped and chatted for a while. She sounded like she was a very experienced hiker and mentioned a couple of places I should try. She told me that she had come in from Waco and was camping at the park.
Immediately on crossing the river, my first thought was to stop and dry off my feet and change socks. Then I realized that my leather boots which were also soaked would quickly make the fresh pair of socks wet so I opted to keep walking. It actually was not a bit uncomfortable and did help keep my feet cooler.
The first part of the trails is on a badly decomposing asphalt hill which is pretty steep until it begins to level out near the top. From that point on, the trails were a mixture of grass, rocks and plain old dirt and like all trails had both ups and downs. All of the trails on this side of the river are wide enough for the Park vehicles and made for easy walking. I opted to cover the whole set of trails and to do this, I had to hike figure of eights covering the middle trail twice each time. Using this method, I covered all of the marked trails on this hike.
At the northernmost end, there is a short trail that leads to the Scenic Overlook Trail. Although the view was spectacular, it did not show much more than the other side of the valley along with the thousands of Juniper trees. You could not even see the river from there. I rested for a while before heading back. On the way back, I followed a little used trail which opened up to a view of the river. Quite spectacular.
In one place, there is the remains of an old stone wall and I can’t help thinking of the hours of hard physical labor that went into gathering the rocks and then stacking them into a wall. At another place on the 5.5 Mile Loop Spur Trail, there are remnants of an old corral, I guess used to hold the steers and cows after they were rounded up.
Back on the main trail, I followed down the 5.5 Mile Loop Spur Trail and by hiking the short dividing trail for a second time, I was able to get back to Trammell’s Crossing where I cooled off my feet one more time as I crossed the river. The climb up the wide trail back to the car was again pretty steep or maybe at that point, the old body was getting tired. I made it back and spent some time drying off and this time had a dry pair of socks and shoes to change into. it was already 5:20 pm and I had been out hiking since 12:30 pm, almost 5 hours of walking. I covered about 11.5 miles by my pedometer which got me thinking. According to the map, this trail is 5.5 miles long so somehow, I managed to double its length. I can account for some with covering two trails twice (on purpose this time) which according to the map, adds up to almost 1 additional mile and then walking down to the crossing from where the car was parked has got to be almost 3/4 of a mile so add on another 1 1/2 miles but the sum total is still only 8 miles and somehow, I added an additional 3 miles to that.
My walking distance is based on a 29 inch step so if another taller person took say a 33 inch step, based on the pedometers readings, would cover more distance than me over the same number of steps. No wonder I am always bringing up the rear on every hike I take with my friends. I could take this a bit further and say that because I take more steps, I walk further than my friends do. Probably though, if we all had our own pedometers as I do, then the end mileage should be the same although the number of steps would be different.
There are not many trails left for me to cover at Pedernales Falls. I can take a look at the Twin Falls Nature trail and Warfie’s Trail and that just about wraps it up.
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