A Walk at Reimers 4-4-2018


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My buddy George, who has been staying with me for a couple of days, suggested we should take a walk which I thought was an excellent idea. I chose to go back to Reimers Ranch as I like the long distance and panoramic shots that I can take there plus there is always the possibility of catching site of the Osprey.

Reimers Ranch has many trails including one that encircles the entire park, With the focal point of the Park being the Pedernales River, there are two trails close to the river that entails going down anyone of the four access points. The first one is located on the first parking lot  which is named the Rock Climbing Parking.  This is a favorite parking area for the Rock Climbers as they pursue their hazardous sport. This entrance is not for the faint of heart as it requires scrambling down a rocky trail and a certain amount of actual climbing over and around the rocks. Even when you have traversed the way down, the river trail also requires a certain amount of scrambling over very rocky terrain.

The second parking lot is known as River Bend Parking which is a lot more accessible to the river and the trails. It has a wide concrete road leading down to the swimming and lower trail area. Vehicles can drive down to unload but cannot park anywhere at the bottom and must drive back out to park.

The third parking area is known as River View Parking #1 and further along is the last of the parking areas known as River View Parking #2. Both of these have very tricky entrances to the river trails below as they are both on steep  rocky hillsides that have been crudely shaped with rocky steps. Both require considerable care in negotiating the trails and again, they are designed for the rock climbers who scale the cliff faces at this end of the Park. In the last three cases, once down on the river trail, it is a very nice walk with a little scrambling here and there and it is possible to go all the way to the northernmost end of the Park and complete the loop by taking the Wild Turkey Trail and then the Multi Use Trail back to whatever parking lot originally chosen.

There is also a gravel path that starts at the very first parking area on the top of the Bluff and leads all of the way following the river as close as possible and ends at the last parking lot.

We opted to park in the second lot, River Bend Parking, the one with the ramp leading down to the river and the swimming area and then took the lower trail heading towards the Northernmost end of the Park. We didn’t plan on walking the entire length of the trail but only as far as the last parking area.

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Both of these shots are panoramas made up of at least 5 separate vertical pictures

We passed several people, some with their dogs and exchanged greetings. Some stopped to chat with us whilst others just had a short hello as they passed. The River activity was really busy with several kayaks going in both directions and other people walking along the river bed. The weather was great and the sun was warm and it was obvious that people were just glad to get out and enjoy it all. Mother Nature was putting on a grand display as things began to burst forth. I really like the “new” green at this time of the year before the leaves and things begin to darken.

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On the opposite bank, I could see several large white shapes but could not identify them. I switched cameras and with the long lens saw they were cactus in flower. The flowers had to be huge as even at a distance, they are big. Below are the pictures I took.

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The spring flowers are beginning to show.

George suffers from vertigo and did not feel confidant enough in his ability to climb either of the two stone staircases to the last two exits to get back to the top so we decided to backtrack along the way we had come, finally making it back to the concrete ramp, which is also quite a steep climb and then back to the truck.

There is an interesting cave in the opposite cliff face and also the owners of the property across on the other side have built a stairway leading down to the river. That must have been a very interesting project.

As usual, Reimers did not disappoint and it was great to be out there walking again even on a weekend with lots of people around. Oh yes, no Osprey…

Written 4/7/2018

 

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Austin Pond Society Meeting March 2018


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The third Monday of the month rolled around as it does on a regular basis which is also the day, actually evening, that the Austin Pond Society hold their monthly meeting. There were about forty two people that showed up and they were treated to a Chinese meal from one of our Sponsors, Bamboo Bistro. The food was absolutely delicious and there was none left at the end of the night. Thank You Bamboo Bistro. BTW, as a sponsor, they offer a 10% discount on all of their food by showing your APS Membership card.

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With the meal out of the way, the Speaker for the evening was Dr Geigel who spoke to us a couple of years ago. Dr Geigel is a travelling fish doctor although he treats any and all animals and birds no matter what type they are. For the evenings lecture, he focused on fish and fish ailments. At the end of his presentation he took many questions from the floor all related to fish illnesses.

Dr Geigel Video March Meeting 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Following the Speaker, Jeannie, our President took over. There was very little official business, just a lot of general discussion. The evening ended with the drawing for the door prizes which always leads to much mirth and laughter as different and various people win the prizes. My apologies for the quality of this video. My original video camera that I had setup, the battery went dead so I grabbed a second camera and shot this without the use of a tripod. Again, my apologies.

APS Meeting March 2018 – Business from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The next meeting will be on April 16, Income Tax Deadline Day. Hope you have filed yours in time. This meeting is our Annual Plant Swap when members bring in their surplus fish, garden and pond plants to swap or giveaway to anyone that either wants them or is willing to take them. However, at the end of the evening, any unswapped plants are the responsibility of the original owner who must take them home. If you are looking for plants (or fish) bargains, this meeting is for you. This is not restricted to just pond plants. Any form of garden plant can also be swapped, The one exception are any invasive species which also applies to pond plants. This is not to be confused with the Annual Swap and Sell Meeting held later in the year which is more about material items such as used pond and garden equipment. Hope to see you there.

This is the view through the windows of the Garden outside.

Written 3/22/2018

The Second Walk of the Year


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As I had promised myself a couple of days ago, I was back out on the trail again and back at Reimers Ranch. This time I planned on a longer walk to get in some exercise as well as take pictures. It took me a while to gear up as I hadn’t used any of the camera carrying equipment for a couple of months. I finally sorted it all out but ran into a problem with one of the camera safety straps as the clip on the end was malfunctioning. I had to cobble together a temporary strap promising myself that I would fix the other one as soon as I got back home.

With everything in place, I set off along the Turkey Trail with the usual high hopes of seeing something worthwhile to photograph. Even if I didn’t see anything dramatic like a Deer or a Turkey I always had the good old standby of the trails themselves. The Parks people had been doing a lot of controlled burns on this end of the trail exposing the very nature of the ground itself. It is so rocky in a lot of places that it is no small wonder that the only thing to grow is scraggly grass, cactus and more rocks.

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As I made my way down the trail, I noticed that I was being followed by a young couple with a two fairly large dogs. I am quite sure that if they had walked at their normal speed, they would easily have gone by me but they chose to hang back. I took the River Trail just before the Park ends and cut back along the river towards the Rock Climbing Area. This is a nice and interesting trail to walk now that the Parks people have cleared it. The river is on one side and the rocky bluffs on the other making for a shady walk for most of its length.

I could hear the rock climbers on my left talking and laughing and generally sounding like they were having fun. Not quite my idea of entertainment even if I was a young man. Definitely not now. I passed a few people walking the trail in the opposite direction, most of whom were younger people although there was one older guy with a dog. When I reached the rock climbing area I managed to get a couple of pictures of three of them on the rock face.

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As I continued along, I saw the most river activity that I have seen since walking these trails. First I passed a motor boat that was anchored in the stream and a bit further up, a family of four who were fishing, standing in the water with waders on. I did not see them catch anything while walked by. A little further, I passed a Father with three kids who had some sort of contraptions that they threw into the air. The things made a loud whirring noise and were a bit like a boomerang as they were supposed to come back to the thrower.

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Next and for the first time ever walking these trails, there was activity on the opposite bank from one of the houses that sits on top of the bluff. The family were involved in several different activities from wading in the water to canoeing to just sitting around.

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As I continued along, I passed other people who were just sitting around on the river bed enjoying the beautiful day. Today was the most activity not counting the swimming area, that I have ever seen that many people actually enjoying the river. Of course the day was a Sunday which tends to bring people out. As I walked along, I noticed a square shaped rock on top of the bluffs that looks like it is just balancing in place and just had to take a picture.

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I kept walking and decided to go up the steep exit to the third parking area. This is quite a feat by itself as I have often mentioned before as making one’s way up the stone steps is quite an effort. All that remained was the walk back along the gravel path that spans the entire length of the park on top of the river bluffs. I passed two different Buzzards and what looks like a Sparrow perched in the trees. They all allowed me to walk right past them and made no attempt to fly off even though I was as close as twenty feet from them. Of course, they were up in a tree and they knew I couldn’t fly.

I arrived back at the Parking Lot and my truck and the lot which had been totally full when I pulled in was now beginning to empty. As usual, I had to change out of my sweat soaked clothes before taking a slow drive home stopping at Starbucks along the way to reward myself with  latte. Altogether, I covered almost five miles enjoying every minute of it. It’s great to be  walking again…

The story would not be complete if I didn’t include pictures of the trails that I walked. It is definitely the winter season here in central Texas. Everything is so brown and lifeless. Any patch of green is a welcome relief.

Plus a few panoramic views.
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Written 2/6/2018

Meandering Thoughts


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Samantha, Fats at the back, Whiskey Bean, Manfried is the Maltese in front and then Ennery. plus two cats.

I just finished writing a blog
an exercise in thoughts you might say
as I had to remember back fifty years
when the first dog came my way.

In it’s own way it was fun
remembering back all that time
and the memories of all of the dogs
stirred other thoughts of a different kind.

Of time spent in the country where I was born
and the people there that I knew
the life I lived and the jobs that I had
and the wives of which there were two.

A childhood romance when we were young
not knowing what life was all about
bringing into this world two beautiful sons
before life filled us full of doubt.

Into another’s arms her love to feel
with struggle and strife along the way
and finally making it all worthwhile
as off to America a new life a new way.

Sadly America was not the cure
for after ten years of married bliss
all of the dreams came tumbling down
my world fell into the abyss.

Another lady filled the void
with her life was full as it could be
after fifteen years of married bliss
once more back to misery.

I decided I was not the marrying kind
and spent the next twenty five years alone
except for the dogs of which there were many
everyone important as though to atone.

For the fact that I make a terrible mate
but a friend to the dogs is not very hard
and the love for a woman seemed not to be there
but I love all dogs with the highest regard.

If I could live my life again
there would be many things I would change
but there is one thing of which I am sure
my love for all dogs is stronger than before.

Wives would have no part of that life
as they only bring trouble and strife
instead my life would be full of dogs
with wagging tails and sloppy tongues.

And love so strong it is a shame
their lives are so short and sweet
but another is ready to take it’s place
with instant love as soon as we meet.

Written 1/19/2018

Link to the other blog here.

Reimer’s Ranch 11-19-2017


I went for another walk at Reimer’s Ranch and although I walked by the river, I did not expect to see the Osprey in action. Nevertheless, I was fully prepared with both cameras at the ready.

The plan was to park in the furthermost Parking Area known as River View No 2 and take the precarious entrance down the rocky stairway and then walk the lower trail in a North Easterly direction to the end of the Park. This time, I was kinda doing the last walk in reverse to the way I normally do it just to get a different perspective. Needless to say, I did not see the Osprey or any other birdlife to talk of or at least, take pictures of. As it was the middle of the week, there were no rock climbers on any of the faces that I passed.

I walked to the end of the Lower Trail where it connected with the Multi Purpose Trail and then turned South and followed it back towards the main Multi Purpose Trail. I passed the area where I had previously seen the deer but again, nothing was stirring. I took several pictures and the Park is already taking on it’s Fall and Winter coat as things change colors and the grasses turn brown. This has it’s own form of beauty as the pictures show.

I came to the intersection of the Multi Purpose Trail that I was on where it connected to the main Multi Purpose Trail that encircles the entire park. I thought about which way to go taking into consideration the distance and my own tiredness as I had no real plan in mind. I decided to head right taking the section of trail that leads past the Trailheads. I came across an area that had recently has a “Controlled Burn” where the Parks people burn off the undergrowth.

As I walked along, a couple on horseback approached me and they stopped when they drew opposite. The lady, who just happened to be the lead rider, stopped to say hello in the thickest British accent that I have heard in a long time. We chatted a bit about the old country and she told me that they lived in Dripping Springs. I took a couple of pictures and we bade farewell as we each went on our respective ways in opposite directions.

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As I continued along the trail, I came across a young lady who had stopped to take a picture. I waited for her to complete her work as I thought she might be taking a picture of a bird and didn’t want to spoil her shot before continuing on until I came level with her. She told me she was taking a picture of the grass which immediately lead into other questions, Grass? Really. Turns out, she described herself as a Farmer which led to more conversations as she told me that she and her husband farm acreage at Pedernales and work on a rotating system of moving the stock every couple of weeks which allows the grass time to recover and regrow. I had read previously about this type of farming so had an idea of what she was talking about. She introduced herself as Carina and I gave her one of my cards. We walked the trail together as she told me all about her farming and the meat they sell at the local Farmers Market. She reached the turnoff to the last exit River View No 2 where she wanted to take the river trail back to her car in River View No 1. I warned her about being very careful climbing down both of these exits before I continued on the Multi Purpose Trail until I reached the River View No 1 and then followed the Top Trail back to my car. The Top Trail is a reconstituted granite path that runs on the top of the Bluff all the way between the first and last parking areas. I passed one other family on the Top Trail who were just heading out and stopped to chat to them for a bit before moving on to my car.

Reamer’s Ranch 11-19-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Altogether, I covered a little over 4 miles of very enjoyable walking with the weather cooling down a little and no crowds. Come to think about it, if you have been reading my previous posts, no young ladies in mini bikini’s either. Oh well…

Written 11/30/2017

End of Life Crisis…


End of life crisis just what is that
not what you would expect it to be
this one comes when someone is old
and still has dreams the truth be told.

We are born, we live and then we die
is the normal way of things
but in between are a lot of years
each a reflection of our fears.

When we are very, very young
our life is spent on an upward swing
as we wend our way through life
learning a part of everything.

All of a sudden we are middle aged
with responsibilities galore
kids to raise a mortgage to pay
and worst of all our hair turns grey.

Then the kids are gone and just the two
living in a house that’s much too big
shall we move into a smaller house
with all of this room what do we do.

Now we are old and no longer play
and go for long walks every day
just to keep the muscles free
in the hope to extend eternity.

Alas it is a losing game
as things can never stay the same
time marches on and there is no wait
to stand outside those Pearly Gates.

All of a sudden there comes the end
along with a multitude of friends
as we reach the age when we all die
and everyone knows the reason why.

Time Marches On…

Written 11/16/2017

Follow Up with My ENT Doctor…


DSC_1169Just as I had arranged
a follow up for me to see
my doctor a friend of mine
following my surgery
I guess that is not the right word
as he did not cut into me
instead he went in through my nose
to clear it and make it free
“Your sinuses are diseased”
are the words he used to me
which I immediately took to mean
there was something serious he had to see
the surgery went as it should
of course I was fast asleep
probably dreaming of a hike in the woods
waking up when he said I could
now back in the office for him to see
the results of his work in the surgery
he took a look and got out his tools
knowing this could painful be
as he stuck the end up in my nose
and sucked till my sinuses were free
“You should feel much better now”
as the tears rolled down onto my knees
not because he hurt so much
more that the nose has sensitivity
“Come back in a week and we’ll do it again”
were his parting words in deep refrain
“You will feel much better now
and be able to breathe again”
I stumbled out wiping my eyes
cussing and swearing at the pain
do I want to come back in a week
and go through this all over again
of course I will be there at the allotted time
for my Doctor to inflict more pain
although I will have another week
in which to heal and strength to gain
and as somebody once said
there is no gain without the pain.

Written 11/14/2017