Reimer’s Ranch 10-28-2018


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Now that the weather has calmed down a bit first with our dreadfully hot summer followed by non stop rain, I was able to get out to take the first serious walk of the Fall season. I opted for Reimer’s Ranch as the walking is fairly easy and I wanted to work my way back into it. After such a long lay off, this old body needs some time to gradually get acclimatized to extra effort.

There were a lot of cars in all of the parking lots as others chose to enjoy the mild weather and get outdoors. The Horse Parking area had 5-6 trailers in it and I did see a couple of horse and riders as I drove to the very last parking area that is called River View Parking #2. This lot is the main one for the second of the two Rock Climbing Areas. It took me a while to get ready as I did a complete change of clothes putting on older shorts and tee shirt and of course, my boots. I tend to sweat a lot and generally get back in totally saturated requiring that I change again this time into dry clothes for the trip home. Gotta keep my truck as clean as possible and sure don’t want sweaty seats. It also took me a little while to sort out my camera gear as apart from the short walk a week or so ago, hasn’t been used for several months. Not so much the cameras as they are always in use but the belts and my Cotton Camera carrying systems have kinda sat idle for a few months.

Finally satisfied that everything was in place and opting to carry just the one camera with the 18-400 mm lens, leaving the heavy long lens behind, I set off. I was going to walk the Turkey Trail and follow it to the very end of the Park. On the way, I came across an Oriental family of Husband, Wife and a small child. After saying hello, they asked for directions on how to get back to the Parking Area and I was very happy to oblige them.

Pressing on, I came to end of the Park and chose to take the Lower Trail which would take me past the Rock Climbing Areas. It was very quiet as far as wildlife was concerned and the only thing I saw were several Buzzards floating in the sky. I didn’t see any other birds of any type nor did I hear any. As I neared the Rock Faces, I could hear the chatter and laughter of the climbers and it wasn’t long before two groups walked past me on the way out. I also passed a young lady with a large puppy which looked like a pointer. She was having trouble with it as it was still learning how to behave. I always step aside for these young people as they all walk faster than me and I don’t want to get in the way of the enthusiasm of youth.

I managed to miss the exit from the gorge and found myself walking further than I had intended eventually climbing out at Parking Lot #1. This meant that I had to walk the gravel path that connects all four parking areas adding a mile or so to my original distance that I had planned. I eventually arrived back to my truck and sat for a while before driving home. Altogether, I covered a little over 5 miles, a bit more than I had planned but I felt OK which was the main thing. Altogether, a very enjoyable walk and it was good to be back on the trails again.

The video is of the Park as I saw it thru the camera lens.

RR 10-28-18 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

 

Written 11-5-2018

A Short Walk at Reimers Ranch


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This is a 4 picture vertical Panorama taken with the 18-400 lens

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This is the same single picture taken with the 18-400 lens

During our long and very hot summer,  walking, at least for me, was out of the question so I kind of hid away inside my house in the very comfortable air conditioning. I only braved the outdoors either early in the mornings or if there was a pond emergency, and as quickly as possible. I am definitely turning into a wimp as the heat never used to bother me. Now that the temperatures are much more bearable and no longer reaching even 90 degrees, I am spending more time outdoors, sort of.

The three months of 100 degree heat has brought about a change in me due to the enforced stay inside. I seem to lack the energy and ambition to get out in the yard or hit the trails again now that it is cooler. It’s all  in my mind as I do fine when I actually get after it. So a couple of days ago, I said to hell with it and  grabbed my camera and drove to Reimers Ranch to get some pictures and go on a short walk. I had no intentions of it being anything more than just a stroll to get myself back into the swing of things. I didn’t even put on my boots or any of the usual camera paraphernalia that I normally carry. Heck, I didn’t even take my walking poles, just me and my camera. I did have the new  18-400 lens on the camera as this would be the first real work out for this setup.

I parked in the River Bend Parking Area being the only car in the lot as it was a weekday. This lot has a concrete road that leads down to the Beach and Swimming areas although it can only be used to transport items, canoes and such, as it is just for drop off and unloading. There is no parking allowed in the Beach areas.

My interest was in the opposite direction as I walked down the concrete road and then took the River Trail. The plan was to walk as far as the next parking area, Riverview Parking No 1 and then depending on how things were going, either climb up and out at that Lot and back along the gravel walk that covers the entire length of the river within the park, or back track the way I had come along River Trail.

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I decided to backtrack rather than risk the climb back out of the gorge without my poles. There were a lot of Buzzards perched in the trees with a few circling around in the air. They must have had a good feed from something with so many of them perched as they were. I watched one of  them go through a series of wing stretches and then sit with its wings spread out as though to either dry them or catch some rays. The water level in the river was very low as our recent rains have not done enough to replenish it. I guess that with the ground so dry, most of the rain soaked in and did not run off. The foliage has not yet changed very much except that the green is now a rather drab looking color.

When I got back to the concrete road, I walked it to the Beach area. I took a few pictures and decided that I had seen enough. There were no other people around so I guess the swimming season is over. My last exertions for the day was the steep climb back up the concrete road.

Reimers Ranch 10-02-2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

I ended up walking a little over two miles which was enough for me to restart my hiking again now that the weather is so much cooler. On the way back, I stopped at Golds Gym, the one that I joined before I hurt my shoulder 8 weeks ago, to get them to show me around. The equipment is very new and much more modern than the old gym I used to belong to. They even have saunas and hot tubs. Now that my therapy sessions are almost over, I can start to exercise more at least on the treadmills as that does not require any heavy lifting. I can’t wait…

Written 10/04/2018

Nature…


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This tree is made up of 5 different pictures in order show the whole thing. I wonder how old it is?

Mother Nature, what wondrous pictures you paint
with your palette of colors so bright
each different in their own way
depending on the light
which too has its own shade
at different times of the day
from the soft tinge of dawn
to the bright skies with the sun so high
to the evening quietly closing into night
and the moon and stars to show the way.

Green the most beautiful color of all
lasting until the Fall
when the colors change to a very soft brown
as the leaves come tumbling down
and another season comes to a close
not everything giving up its glow
as evergreens show their true worth
adding color to Winters birth
which is nature’s harshest season
and only she knows the reason.

The snow and frost are soon to appear
covering everything with a blanket of white
lasting for six months of the year
hiding everything from sight
with the brave evergreens doing their best
to provide color with as much zest
waiting for the something big to appear
and the snow to melt and the cycle complete
and another Season is nigh
as Winter goes out with a sigh.

Spring arrives and with it new growth
tiny flowers are quick to appear
and soon they are followed by buds all around
with the start of painting a scene
with everything new and fresh and green
and flowers burst forth to add to the charm
and the birds and animals building new nests
and the cycle completes with every new round
as the Seasons progress until the day
as Nature has finally found the way.

Written 8/13/2018

Too Darn Hot…


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I looked at the weather forecast for my part of Texas in Austin just to see what the weather was going to be like for the following day. There appeared to be a lull in the almost incessant 100 degree temperatures with a  forecast high of only around 95 degrees. Well, I thought to myself, I can handle that and made plans to take a hike the following day.

I got up earlier than I normally do in the hope of getting to the park and enjoying an easy walk on one of the trails but unfortunately, something came up necessitating my attention and I did not arrive at the park until close to 11:30 am. I chose to walk at Reimers Ranch mainly because of the river and the hope for seeing some of the wildlife that abounds the area. On the way in, I noticed that the Park people had been doing some more of their controlled burns and many of the Live Oak tree canopy was brown and charred. I wondered if they will survive as the damage looked pretty extensive.

I parked the truck at the furthermost parking lot with the view of walking the Turkey Trail heading to the end of the Park and then coming back along the river past the rock climbing area. I stepped out of the truck and was hit by a wave of hot air as by now, the temperature was in the low 90’s. I walked around  the Parking Lot for a bit and then decided that it was way too hot to be out in this temperature and maybe I should put this off until tomorrow or another day.

The wuss in me won out and I jumped back into my truck (and the air conditioning) and found a shady spot to park and then proceeded to spend an hour listening to my latest Audiobook, The Outsider by Stephen King which I found much more enjoyable than sweating it out on the trail. I am definitely growing old if I pass the opportunity of a pleasant walk with my two cameras at the ready and choose to listen to an Audiobook instead notwithstanding the quality of the story which, by the way,  is excellent and hard to put down.

I decided to head home but to take an alternate and more scenic route back into Dripping Springs as I need to purchase fish food from the Tractor Supply Store located there. As I rounded one corner I saw what looked like some sort of a problem or maybe an accident up ahead and as I got closer, could see that one of the Telephone poles on the side of the road was broken and that the cable was hanging low across the road. I immediately pulled up, turned on my flashers and acted as a traffic cop as it was impossible to get through for about 30 minutes until the local Fire Department arrived to take over.

With my help no longer needed, I turned around and drove back the way I had come and took a different road into Dripping Springs and the feed store only to discover that they were out of fish food and to “Come back in a couple of days”. I drove the rest of the way home uneventfully.

Tomorrow, I plan on getting up early (for me) so that I can get that walk in.

Written 8/6/2018

APS July Meeting 7-16-2018


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In keeping with the last two meetings that were held outdoors, the first at Zilker Botanical Gardens and the second at the AquaDome, the Austin Pond Society held the July Meeting at Mayfield Park, here in Austin.

This is also the same park that the APS has been helping the City of Austin clean and maintain the six ponds that are located there. Now that most of the work is finished at least for this go round,  the Board decided that it would be a good idea to show off just what the Members have accomplished these past few weeks.

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We turned this meeting into a pot luck and the food table was absolutely full up with all kinds of goodies, most of which were home made. Altogether, there were close to forty members that showed up. The Mayfield Gutsch Cottage located on the grounds served as a gathering and eating place to start the evening off before everyone moved outside to explore the grounds and ponds. Most people were impressed with the amount of work performed by the APS volunteers and commented as much. Jeannie, our President was quick to point out to the group the work that the City of Austin had done as their part of the project.

The Peafowls, both cocks and hens put on a great display and serenaded us with their loud squawking. One Peahen was proudly showing off her two babies and walked right up to me as if to say,”Make sure you get a good picture of me and my babies”.

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The first of the two videos is the Business part of the meeting conducted indoors. The quality is not very good due to the poor lighting made worse by the row of windows directly behind the camera which cast big shadows on all of the people assembled there.

The second video is a short one taken outside of the Members as they walked around the ponds.

The next meeting is back indoors at the Zilker Garden Center on August 20th. The Speaker will be Steve from Hill Country Water Gardens. Hope to see you there.

One of Those Days


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Have you ever had one of those days
when the brain doesn’t work in so many ways
to go outside to work in the yard
but the brain tells you that it is hard
as the temperature is a hundred degrees
and no comfort found even under the trees
so you try to think of things to do
and your brain will not work like it hasn’t a clue
you stare at the screen hoping words will appear
that will tell you that the time is near
and your brain will start working and words you will write
but nothing appears on the screen in your sight
you try to think of other things to do
but your brain is acting like it hasn’t a clue
maybe go for a drive in my wonderful truck
with an Audiobook as my brain runs amok
as I try to figure the story ahead
but fooled by the ending as the hero is dead
my eyes are heavy so maybe a nap
but when I awake I will feel like crap
for having wasted such a beautiful day
when I should be outside at play
I think and think but nothing appears
I hate to waste a day of the years
of the few that are remaining to me
on this earth in this life my time foreseen.
the dogs are asleep in their usual place
each has a spot so as not to displace
each other or me as they snore away
content in their world no fears to allay
sometimes I wish that I were a dog
a beautiful life to sleep like a log
whenever the urge creeps up on me
safe in the arms of my family
Alas, for I have no such luck
and my brain is still not running amok
with ideas for me to do today
so inside writing poetry I will stay
and tonight later on I will spring back to life
and my brain will lose the anger and strife
that seems to have bothered me
as my brain does not work consistently
tomorrow is another day
and my brain will switch on and I will play
out in the woods along the trails
taking pictures of whatever Nature avails
something that I love to do
I think of yesterday and I haven’t a clue….

Written 6/30/2016

The News is Bad…


redwolf1

Red Wolf

It seems to me like every day
when I check the mail in my usual way
to see what has changed in this ongoing fight
to prevent this world from disappearing from sight
at least the contents of the world
the animals and birds whose fate is unfurled
as day by day something else is news
and another species lives are reviewed
as being dispensable in the name of greed
as someone figures that to succeed
they must change the land that has been decreed
to protect an endangered species whose needs
have already been put on the list
that without protection they will not exist
and yet even though they will be gone
greed for many is very strong
and to take the land to make a buck
leaves the animals and birds out of luck
the almighty dollar rules this land
to amass a fortune things are planned
that do not consider the impact they say
too bad for the wildlife that gets in the way
and the fact that extinction for many is real
these people for animals do not relate
any empathy and they may even hate
the fact that the species was already aligned
for thousands of years in the annals of time
long before man walked on this earth
to spread his will on the land and make it his worth
Man will destroy the very world that he claims
too late will he realize that to further his aims
as he poisons the air and water and land
at the end of it all what will he have planned
what good will money and gold be then
as the Earth will be just a desolate waste
and Man a memory just drifting in space.

Prompted by the news that there are only 40 Red Wolves left in the wild in Eastern Carolina and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a 90 percent reduction in the land available for red wolf recovery in eastern North Carolina. This area supports the last wild population of red wolves. And worse, the proposal would allow private landowners free reign to shoot any red wolves that wander across their property.

Sometimes, I am truly ashamed to be born a human.

Written 6/28/2018