Spring, the most wonderful time of the year when Mother Nature decorates the land with her beautiful paintings as she wields her brush. Enjoy the video taken of the flowers at Milton Reimers Ranch in Travis County.
Now that I am pretty much caught up with the yardwork, the ponds and cleaning all of the sheds, I have time to get back out on the trails again, just where I love to be.
I decided that I would take a short walk at Reimers Ranch and the trails were flashing through my mind after having hiked there many times before, as I drove to the location. The weather was pretty warm with the forecast to reach 90 degrees and sunny and Reimers only has limited cover on most of the trails. I thought about it and decided that I would take the recently built trail known as the Hogge Trail which as yet, is still not shown on any of the trail maps.
I chatted to the lady at the gate and she remembered me even though it has been a while and I told her of my plans. How does that saying go, “The best laid plans of mice and men…”. Well, after I pulled into the Mountain Bike Parking Lot which I had entirely to myself, and changed into my boots and gear including putting on my backpack and camera, I had a change of heart, jumped back into the car with all of my gear on and very awkwardly drove to the Pavilion Parking Area instead which was just across the road.
At the last minute, I had decided that I would hike the Multi Use trail all the way to where it hits the spot where the Pogue Creek joins the Pedernales River which is the westernmost point of the park but somewhere along the way, for reasons best left alone, I changed my mind yet again and stayed on the Multi Use Trail. I came to the signpost for the Kelly Prehn and Pogue Canyon Trails and opted to walk both of them. There is not much water in the creek at either overlook. The magnificent Cypress trees in the Pogue Canyon look taller and greener than ever. I wonder why the Travis County Parks people have not made an actual trail that connects the Pogue Canyon Trail and then following the creek all the way to its furthermost end. That would make for a nice loop. Come to that, why not a trail that follows the creek for the entire way. Oh well.
I walked back and rejoined the Multi Use Trail to where it meets Johnny’s Homestead and made my way back to the Parking Lot from where I started, taking many pictures along the way. The high spot of the day was to get a picture of a Ruby Throated Hummingbird as it drew nectar from a thistle. It was totally unexpected as I was focusing on the flower when the bird suddenly appeared. I never had time for any camera adjustments and kept snapping away in the hope that at least one picture would come out and luckily for me, one did.
Before calling it a day, I wandered over to the Pedernales River Overlook and took a couple of pictures. I met a few people along this part of the trails but none on the other trails I had walked. One couple were obviously rock climbers as they had on all the gear and were very animatedly talking about and working on climbing knots as they walked.
The wildflowers are outdoing themselves and I took nearly 80 pictures. I have one interesting shot of the controlled burn as it looked back in January to what it looks like today. Nature is amazing and apart from some Oak tree damage, it would be hard to tell there was ever a burn.
Reimers Ranch Trails and Creek 5-2-2017
Following this walk, one thing became very obvious and that is that hiking is not something that you can lay off for a while and then pick back up by just going out and taking a stroll. At least, not when you are in the advanced years that I unfortunately happen to be. It requires much more consistency of walking by going out at least a couple of times a week. My layoff from around the first of February really showed in yesterday’s walk as I found myself tiring towards the end of the 6th mile. Working in the garden is not the same as consistent walking. I no longer walk fast but pride myself on being able to walk for a long time so just like when I was younger and trained very hard for the game I love, (Football to us Brits, soccer to you Yanks), I need to walk more often. I don’t propose to get into a serious training regime but I do plan on getting out on the trails more frequently. Just gotta work those tired old muscles.
For a change, I decided to take a walk at Reimers Ranch where I hadn’t been in a while. I thought that maybe I would take one of the two long hikes but when I arrived, changed my mind. Instead, I pulled into the Mountain Bike Parking Lot and went through my usual pre-hike rituals of changing boots etc. I set off on the trail that would lead me to Johnny’s Homestead and from there, headed North down the Multi-Use Trail.
A few hundred yards down the trail, I came to the signs for the Kelly Prehn Trails which I knew branched off towards the river where I could get some good pictures. This trail splits into two separate trails, the Kelly Prehn Overlook and the Pogue Canyon Overlook.
I walked them both and managed to get some good pictures of both Overlooks. The views from above are not the greatest and it is a long way down to the water. The Spruce trees however, are in fine form and show very well on the pictures. It is a pity that this trail is not connected to the last overlook on the Main Trail as it would be a fabulous walk as it followed the river.
Continuing, North along the Multi Use Trail, I came to another fork in the road with one trail leading to Turkey Loop and the other remaining the Multi-Use Trail. I opted to take the Turkey Loop in the hopes that I might get lucky and spot a Turkey or two. No such luck but I did get a picture of a sparrow which actually is more than I can usually get with any bird other than a Buzzard.
I completed the loop and was back on the Main trail which from there was a straightforward walk back to the parking lot. I found a few flowers along the way and took pictures of them.
I arrived back in the parking lot with still a few cars in it. A couple of horses and riders passed me just as I made the turn and they were the first I had seen in a while at Reimers Ranch. Altogether, I covered around 5 miles of very easy walking underfoot. The trails are wide and flat with very little loose rock. My timing was good as the thunder clouds were rolling in as you can see from the pictures below and I drove home through the rain.
As with all of these slide shows, if you click on anyone of them, it will enlarge and you can use the side arrows to move them along. Use the “Escape” key to get back to normal.
I looked at the temperature and it said that it was 92 degrees and the high would only be 97 for the day. So, I thought to myself that it would be a good day to explore a couple of new (to me) sites that were comparatively close.
I promised myself that I would only go and scope out the first one, the Milton Reimer’s Ranch off Hamilton Pool Road. I packed my cameras just in case there would be some decent pictures even though I promised myself that I would spend most of my time in the car.
I had passed this site several times on my drives around the countryside and knew exactly where it was located. Turns out that it was only 15 miles form my house just the other side of Bee Caves. I spent an interesting ten minutes talking to the Travis County Parks guard lady that was manning the booth as she explained to me the layout of the park and the different trails. This park caters for hikers, horses and mountain bikers. I told her that I was just going to explore with a view to coming back at a later date to actually do some hiking and she thought that a great idea as it was so hot. The park has a total of 500 acres and is set along the Pedernales River which has cut quite a deep gorge through this part of it’s long and winding course. Incidentally, the entry fee is waived for people over 62.
I took off along a windy two lane road for about 4 miles until I came to the first of four trail-heads. This one is the biggest of the trail-heads and has access to trails, swimming in the river and rock climbing along with restrooms and pavilions for picnics and gatherings. It also has three separate scenic overlooks which I plan to visit at another time. This was the busiest of the trail-heads probably because it has swimming facilities.
I pulled out of this stop and on to the next one which was a smaller than the first but had more or less the same conveniences. All four of the trail-heads have access to the River although the trails are designated as Primitive meaning that they can be a little difficult with the rocky terrain and the steepness of the slope.
At the third trail-head, I got out of my car for a look around and sort of half got ready to walk just a little bit. I put on my hat with the neck protector and grabbed my camera bag and walking staff and decided to climb down to the river to get a few shots. The trail was decidedly primitive and I had to take a considerable amount of care as I clambered down the rocky terrain. I wished that I had changed into my hiking boots but I was not about to go back as I was nearly at the bottom. The river bed is fully fifty or more yards wide but there was not much water flowing and I had to walk a bit to get to it. I took pictures of everything and there were some impressive rock faces all around me. Another couple passed by and like most hikers, acknowledged me with a wave which I returned.
I looked at the lower trail and decided, what the heck and started walking along it following the flow of the river. The trail was pretty easy most of the way although by now, the temperature was probably close to 100 degrees but I felt good and was really glad to be out, walking. There are some very interesting rock formations and caves along the way. I followed the trail until I came to a spot where another stream flowed into the river. This stream was dry and it looked liked the trail went in two different directions. One was to continue along the river bank and the other went up the hill on a pretty steep incline to bring me back to the upper trail. I opted to go upwards and again, it required taking a lot of care as I literally scaled the rocks to go upwards. When I reached the top, it brought me to a gravel path which was the upper trail and I headed back in the direction of my car taking pictures along the way as I went. This trail as with the lower trail, has information boards about the local scenery, animals trees and other interesting information. It was much easier walking as I eventually reached the parking lot and my car. I changed out of my sweaty clothes and sat a while resting from my exertions. At one time, the Park Ranger drove by checking the lots but as my car was the only one in this lot, moved on quickly.
I drove to the next trail-head which was the last one and similar to the one I had just left. This one also has a climbing area for those willing to risk their necks. I probably covered about three miles in the hike that I took. So much for not hiking because it’s too hot…
Altogether, there are about 18 miles of trails of various kinds including Primitives, Hike and Bike and Multi-use which includes horse riders. The scenery is a mix of typical Texas hill country grassland dotted with trees and shrubs. After all. it is designated as ranch land. Some evergreen oaks close to the river are of a good size.There were signs of fire although none of them recent.
I plan on going back to hike one of the longer trails and this time, I will remember to change into my walking boots.