I had called a friend who wanted to go out on a hike but at the last minute, she had to call off. I was determined to go anyway and I am well used to walking alone. Actually, this is most of the time. In some ways, I prefer it as I can no longer walk at a fast pace which I am sure irritates some of my walking buddies. I can walk forever but slowly. Not only that, I am always stopping to take pictures which only adds to my slowness. Oh well….On top of that, the ear infection that had produced the unsteadiness in my balance was still not cleared up properly and I am still subject to the occasional stagger. Thank goodness for my walking poles. Be glad when that is all gone. It’s tough when an ex-athlete like myself who could produce glorious moves on the soccer field can barely walk a straight line anymore.
I arrived at the park which is actually the closest State Park to my house, around 10:30 and although it was beginning to warm up, this being Texas in the summer, chose to walk the Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail. This is a good trail to walk as it is paved its entire length, except where the most recent floods have washed out some of it down by Onion Creek. This has been repaired with coliche which I am quite sure is a temporary thing as I saw signs of other blacktop repairs already chalk marked to identify them. Probably part of the bidding process for the local contractors and we may see repairs in the future.
I went through my usual pre-hike routine, boots, sweatband, hat, camera belt, camera and walking poles and I was ready to go. I started at the Upper Falls and there were already several people swimming and jumping off of the rocks and generally enjoying themselves and keeping cool in the process. Me, not much of a water person although I did manage to slip over in one of my ponds yesterday as I was cleaning it out. That was a bit of a surprise both to me and the fish.
The Hike and Bike trail is blacktopped its entire length. According to the map, it is 2.8 miles. According to my trusty pedometer, it was closer to 4 miles. My body wants to believe the pedometer. It is not a level walk by far as it has a couple of steep climbs and several gradual gradients. The steep grades are sign posted warning the bikers to dismount and walk their bikes down. I wonder how many actually do that? I can see walking up but down…? Yea, right.
I met several people on the trail both bikers, walkers and even runners going in both directions. I took the picture of the family after we had stopped and chatted a bit and another of a young man walking away from me. The Mother with the child on her back, wanted to know how much further to the parking lot and I guessed at a couple of miles. She cheered up a bit when I told her there was a lot of downhill in the direction she was going.
Along the way, I managed to take a picture of what looked to me like an American Kestrel and as I was doing that, one of my friends, the Great Blue Heron flew overhead. As usual, I was too slow to capture the picture of the Heron. Onion Creek is really very green. I normally would associate that with algae in my ponds but in a river?
I noticed that there are several very large and presumably, very old Oak trees along the trail with several of the Spruce variety along the river. I wonder how old they are and what stories they can tell.
There are several rock formations and old stone walls that all make for interesting pictures. Included in that are the ruins of an old cabin used by the horse trainer back in the 1800’s.
The prickly pear cactus still in flower this late in the summer and a couple of purple flowers also made for good pictures.
On the way back, I passed the Smith Visitor Center which is no longer in use. It’s a shame really as it is a nice looking building. It is beginning to fall into a state of disrepair. If you look closely at the top of the wall, you can see that the stonework is already falling down.
I completed the hike and arrived back at my car all hot and sweaty. A quick trip to the restrooms close by to change into dry clothes and I felt like a different person. I drove home, managing to find a Starbucks on the way (surprise, surprise) and listening to Stephen King and the Dark Tower. I am on book 7, the last one of that series and am beginning to dislike the Author for killing off my favorite people. Oh well, it’s only a story.
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