I got up early so that I could beat the Texas summer heat but even so, it was still 10:00 am by the time I arrived at Pedernales Falls State Park. I already had an idea of where I wanted to hike this time and after buying my ticket and chatting to the friendly Park Rangers for a bit, drove back out onto Pedernales Falls Road to park in the area across from Windmill Road.
My plan was to walk down Windmill Road past the Equestrian Camping Area, cross the pipeline and head towards Jones Spring. Walking on Windmill Road was easy as it was a park road although I am not sure how much traffic it gets. I branched off onto the Jones Spring trail and followed it for about a mile and a half. Some of the trail was easy walking but in many spots, it was really rocky which made walking difficult.
I arrived at the old building first where I took a few pictures and then wandering over to the Spring which was bubbling away and releasing a lot of water.
As to be expected, the area surrounding the spring was lush and green and it really is a pretty little site. Amazing to think how long people have been using this Spring as their source of water and what stories it could tell if only it was able.
I had just bought a new vacuum bottle to keep my personal water cool as it had been heating up in my aluminum bottles as I walked and was nearly undrinkable. The vacuum bottle was so efficient that I had consumed more water than I normally drink and it was half empty. I should have re-filled it at the Spring but like I said, my brain had stopped working… It could have been a costly mistake as I ran out before I got back to my car and if it hadn’t been for the two apples that I had brought with me, I would have been in serious trouble as hot as it was.
But, I get ahead of myself. I wanted to hike back by taking the East Boundary Trail but was unable to locate where it started from Jones Spring. The map shows that it is close to the Spring but I could not find it. I backtracked to Windmill Road and then branched off onto Juniper Ridge Trail going East and followed it until I came to the pipeline. I could have continued on the Madrone Trail but it was beginning to warm up and I knew my water situation might become critical.
Below are pictures of the Pipeline and of Windmill Road. See how open they both are. No shade anywhere…
I only had one other choice at that time and it was to walk the pipeline back to Windmill Road, a distance of about a mile and a half. I dislike walking on the pipeline as there are no real trails as it is not included in the trail system. The walking can be tricky and the hills are really pronounced probably because you can see straight up and down them with no trees to block the view. There are no meandering trails that wind back and forth to take the edge off the direct ups and downs. And there is no cover at all. It is direct sunlight all the way and yesterday, it was bloody hot.
By now, all of the water was gone as was one of the apples. I walked up Windmill Road after getting off the pipeline and came to the Equestrian Camping area that I thought might have water. They did but I could not figure out how to turn it on. I could not find the shut off valve even though I knew it had to be very close. There was a trough full of the cool clear stuff and for a moment, I was sorely tempted to take a drink out of it but instead, sat under a tree and ate my remaining apple which I knew would sustain me as I was now less than half a mile from my car. Physically I felt fine except for dry lips and Vaseline Lip Balm took care of that but I certainly did not want to push my luck.
This is a picture of Wolf Mountain taken from Windmill Road
I finished the walk and broke out onto Pedernales Falls Road which I only had to cross to get back to the car. I used my new found remote starter trick that BJ had shown me to get the car running so that it would cool a bit as I walked towards it. I was sitting on the tailgate and two more cars pulled in. I try to always bring a change of clothing as I sweat a lot and am usually totally soaked by the time I finish a hike. Even my leather belt changes color with the moisture it picks up from my shorts. Sorta has that wet look.
I toweled off and changed into drier clothes and headed back inside the Park to the Headquarters to buy a bottle of Gatorade to replace the electrolytes I had burned up. I have absolutely no idea if the stuff does any good but it was really cold and went down very smoothly.
I really enjoyed the walk and covered almost 9 miles, 8.6 to be exact. There is something about being out alone with Nature on the trails surrounded by the greens and browns of the Texas countryside. Back in civilization, I stopped at Whole Earth Provision Company and purchased another vacuum bottle, this one a little bigger than the first. Now I have two which should carry me over for future walks and I can even bring hot coffee in the winter time.
As with all of these pictures, you can click on them to make them bigger and then use the side arrows to move them along. Use the “Escape” key to get back to normal.