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

 

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.

What is Wrong with the World?


DSC_5100What is wrong with this modern world? It is a question that everyone should be asking themselves.

The news we read or listen to every day is always about something horrible that has happened somewhere or to someone in this country or across the World. I understand that to make things newsworthy require some sort of sensationalism but it is very sad that so much of it relates to violence in one form or another that man is inflicting on each other. It is not just this country but many that are having this problem.

For better or worse, we are in an age of instant notification. If something happens that someone, somewhere deems as newsworthy, whatever it may be, it is broadcast around the world in an instant and becomes common knowledge to anybody that cares to read or listen to it. So, the question arises, “Was the world always like this and we just didn’t learn about it prior to the Internet and other forms of information sharing?” Because of the instant notification, is it creating a copycat instinct in people’s mind to be bigger and badder than the person they just read about?

When I was growing in England 70 years ago, life was so simple. There were no TV’s or computers. We didn’t even have a phone and our only form of contact with the world was by radio and the BBC. We would be glued to it listening to the news about the ongoing World War 11 and in the early years, wondering if jerry would cross the Channel and attack us. When the war ended, it took a long while before TV was introduced and with it came the first changes to a quiet way of living which would never ever again, be the same.

I came to America when I was 32 years old for the betterment of my family and myself mainly because I was given the opportunity. In the early years, life was quiet and reminiscent of the English way of life with an American twist to it and although there were personal setbacks along the way, I adopted this country as my own and became a citizen. Now, as time goes by, I am becoming increasingly aware that things are changing. Sure, I am an old man now and not much longer for this world but what I see going on around me makes me so very sad.

Parents no longer take or have the time to teach their kids about simple things like common decency and good manners and being polite and not so demanding. It is an uphill battle as the kids are bombarded from all sides with information both good and bad and they are forever to be found with their noses glued to their cell phones. I was in the doctor’s office the other day and these two kids came in probably around 16-17 years old. The girl had a recently broken nose which still included two black eyes and a huge plaster strip over it. They saw the doctor and came out with the girl leading the way. At the door leading out of the office, the girl opened the door and held it open to let the guy go out first. My immediate reaction was incredulity that she, the injured one would open the door for him and he never made any move to get to the door first or to offer her any help. Where were his manners or his concerns. Has he never been taught what manners are? I guess the bigger question may be that do the younger sexes consider themselves to be equal and things like good manners or treating the female sex in a special way are no longer important.

I see families walking around the Supermarket and the kids that are in their teens have their noses glued to their phones. There is no conversation within the family unless one of the parents asks one of the kids to get something and immediately following that, the noses are back into the phones. It makes you wonder what sort of a family life do people have nowadays.

Which brings me back to where I started. It appears that violence is on an increase and everything can become a lethal weapon. It is no longer just a gun or a knife although these are usually the weapons of choice but now the automobile joins the list of murder tools. What is really frightening is the lack of moral character that these individuals that commit these murders display. Whether the problem is drugs or alcohol or just a plain ole chip on the shoulder, this country and the world in general are becoming less and less safe.

Do I have a solution? I wish I could say that I did but I don’t. Sometimes there is a lot to be said for the good old days when life was so simple, comparatively speaking. Modern gadgets are supposed to help us and make life better and from many points, they have with the advances in medicine and man’s trip to the moon bringing with it modern technology. I guess there is a price to pay for all of this advancement and it is showing up in all of the violence. People are empowered like never before and when they feel like it, take the law into their own hands and only after do they realize the consequences.

Too bad as this country has so much potential but the quality of leadership is declining and along with it, the American Dream and the American Way of Life. If I was a religious man I should say, “God help us all” about now but I doubt that even he can do much to help a world that is turning on itself. Or maybe, that is a part of His plan given the way we treat the world. Maybe, we are reaping the rewards for all of our efforts to destroy the world through Global Warming. Are we being manipulated?

Town Lake in Austin 8-6-2017


DSC_0580I hadn’t been out for either a hike or a photographic trip in over a week and wanted desperately to get back out again. One reason was to fill my mind with other thoughts as I grieved over the loss of my little dog, Richie and I had to get my mind back onto regular things. I didn’t want to take a long hike as the weather is still so hot and very uncomfortable so a short walk on the Town Lake trails seemed like a very good idea.

I opted to park in the lot next to the Zachary Scott Theatre Center off Lamar Boulevard and wander along that part of the trail as far as the bridge over the creek on Barton Springs Road. As it was a weekend, the trail was very busy with runners, cyclists, people with dogs, people without dogs, lovers walking hand in hand and families pushing young kids in strollers, the obvious end result of lovers walking hand in hand.

You name it and every kind was out on the trail.

Turning my attention to the Lake, I saw that it was filled with people in canoes of various types and on surf boards all paddling around in different directions as they enjoyed the Texas summer day on the Lake. Many of the metal canoes had the name of a rental company printed on them. Others were probably owned by the people paddling them. There were dogs everywhere either swimming alongside or actually in the canoes or on the paddleboards. Many of the people, especially those of the female gender were dressed in the barest minimum of skimpy bikinis with lots of flesh showing.  Many of the guys had their shirts off to catch the sun on their bodies and although I didn’t see any ladies in bikinis who shouldn’t have worn them, I did see many of the gentlemen whose portly shapes indicated to much good living and not enough exercise. Paddling a canoe around in circles barely counts as exercise and the amount of visible flab is hardly the way to attract the ladies.

I wandered along taking pictures and wishing that I had brought the camera with the telescopic lens with me as well as the one that I carried to zoom in on some of those long range shots. I reached the bridge where the trail crosses Barton Creek and took several pictures of the view into the city and back up the creek in the reverse direction. This part of the Creek was very popular with lots of people in canoes of all shapes and sizes and the inevitable paddle boards. I even saw a pair of swans who, apart from keeping a wary eye out, totally ignored all of the activity going on around them. The people were good to as most gave the swans a wide berth. Interesting how Nature eventually blends together given the right circumstances.

I passed one very hot looking policeman and chatted to him for a bit. When I said that it was a bit warm, he remarked that it was overtime so was worth getting a little hot. I agreed and moved on. I wandered back along the same trail to where my car was parked taking a few more pictures here and there as I went. All in all, an interesting afternoon.

The total trail length is 10 miles and can be broken into smaller segments by crossing any of the bridges to complete the loop and there are several different places to park to gain access to the trail. On any given day, there are always people out on this trail.

The slideshow is of the different views of the Lake  especially of the people in the watercraft.

Town Lake 8-6-2017 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Hiking on a Weekend…


DSC_0314I never really had any intent
to hike today thinking instead
I would stay inside and write in my blog
out of the sun and my thoughts to log
onto the page of the next blog I write
hoping to make it a wonderful sight
so that others can read the words on the page
and hope gain something as they engage
in reading this blog fresh from my mind
stories to share of the Nature kind.

I try not on a weekend to hike
not that it doesn’t give me delight
but I like to stay away from the crowd
as noisy and raucous as I have found
that out on the trails solitude makes
happiness when there are pictures to take
especially of animals and birds that need quiet
so as to not get their picture spoilt
a difficult time that often fails
approaching anything live on the trails
as my walking poles make so much noise
and there is no way to disguise
that something is coming and it’s time to flee
and they are gone before they see me.

As much as I like on the trails to meet
other people who are using their feet
getting around out on the path
walking and talking and so I ask
“Can I take your picture” as they walk by
and most of them give me a short reply
“Certainly” as I explain
that I write a blog but I refrain
from using their names just a picture or two
showing them smiling in my view.
I give them my card and wish them well
as I go forward on up the hill
one foot in front of the other I place
sticking to my usual slow pace
and like the tortoise who beat the hare
I reach the end of the trail that I share
with others like me who really feel
Nature’s serenity and beauty is something real.

Time


dsc_4115I think back about my life
that spans four score years and one
remembering days of long ago
when things were different and oh so slow.

Time is not measured by a clock
in hours and minutes as we know
that time in life is a different time
sometimes fast and sometimes slow.

When I was young all those years ago
time was passing ever so slow
and I could pack much in a day
and life just seemed an endless play.

Now that my race is almost run
even though life is still much fun
days that used to be so long
pass by so fast just like a song.

When I get up to start the day
not knowing what I will do to play
maybe a hike or write a blog
or out in the yard to work like a dog.

Whatever it is I will have fun
knowing my race is almost run
no more worries and no more cares
just live the life and see what fairs.

Of one thing I can be sure
life is not a revolving door
I only get one chance to shine
to make the most of my allotted time.

When my time is up I will be sad
there is so much living left to add
to the years spent on this earth
when each day brings a miracle of birth.

And Nature brings forth and shines
new growth new life each welcoming times
making a brand new cheerful day
for those that remain behind to play.

Life is an ever changing thing
in this magnificent universe
to get share whatever the strife
is worth the time we span our life.

 

Love and Promises…


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With so much rain these past few days here in my part of Texas, I have been able to catch up on a lot of the things that I had been putting off or had not gotten to. I’m talking blog work and such that requires a lot of my attention. I’m definitely not talking about cleaning and dusting my house. It would need a long winter socked in by about ten feet of snow to even come close in giving me enough time to complete that task. As we very rarely get snow in Central Texas around Austin, I am quite safe in predicting that my house will not get cleaned any time soon. The floors get mopped because I have three dogs but absolutely no dusting even though the  dogs do contribute to the layers of dust that covers everything. If I could just teach them to dust…

Maybe I need to get one of those, whatchamacallits, darn it, what are they called? I know, they are called wives. Wait a minute, I already tried that, three times in fact and they didn’t work for me. Anyway, the modern wife doesn’t know anymore about cleaning and dusting than I do and has even less inclination to do that sort of work. It would be a lot cheaper to hire a maid service than to get another wife which is what the modern wives do anyway. I am too old and set in my ways to share anything with anybody unless I don’t want it for some reason or another and then I will gladly give it away. Besides, at eighty years old, what could I offer anyone besides my unbounded selfishness, my dirty house and inept and decrepit old body.

The one thing I am still good at as age begins to take away some of my finer points is the ability to recognize a beautiful woman as I pass them in the streets and in the stores while I am out and about. This is to the extent that I stare straight at them with no subtle sideways glances and no attempt to hide my obvious delights in their beauty. Some of them probably think of me as a “dirty old man” and in retrospect, I probably am but what the hell, what else is left? I think I might enjoy a slapped face or a biting remark just because it would remind me that I am still alive and bring back memories of when I used to “love” others. It’s true, I fall in “love” with every beautiful girl I see.

Which got me thinking about “love”. What is love anyway other than being a four letter word?  It has got to be the most used word in the English language at least between two people. The guy says it to get in her pants and the girl says it to get into his wallet. Or maybe she has bigger designs and wants to take the whole thing, house, car, bank account…I love my camera but it is not capable of responding. I love my dogs and cats and all animals. Well, most of them. They do not have to give me anything in return but they do. I wonder if in their little brains or their nervous system, they have anything close to love. I know they have affection but is that the same thing? Probably is for them.

I “love” to hike but how can love be returned from such a static environment. I love the English Premier League and watching Wayne Rooney play, I love audio books and listening to a good story, I love my car and on and on and from anything that I love, is it returned to me as love? I don’t think so. It’s like watching a show on television where the couple are running for their lives and it looks hopeless and he tells her, “I love you AND I promise to get you out of this”. How the heck is he going to do that when all the odds are stacked against him and yet he makes a “promise”? I guess if they are both dead, technically, he didn’t really break or keep it and of course, a good screenwriter will save the day for him but even so, “promise” is another overused word with very little meaning. Those three wives all “promised” and they are all gone…

Don’t get me wrong. I like most people and as far as I can tell at this late age in my life, have no known enemies. All of those that wanted my head in my early days have either died or at the most become senile enough they can’t remember that I chased after their wives. Some people I like much more than others but the truth is, I don’t love any of them and neither will I promise to save them from the end of the world.

There are some exceptions of course, most notably sons and daughters but I was not including them in this particular conversation. But, I promise to leave each of them a million dollars. Now that one is easy to break.  Such is life.

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