Lost Maples SNA Foliage Report

Check out the foliage report at TPWD for the latest on the maples at Lost Maples.

Also a great video on the TPWD Youtube channel.

Hill Country Natural Area Pt 2

After the hike at the “falls” (see pt 1 of our trip to HCNA) we headed to the other end of the park.

This is the old ranch house at the park.

The Bar O Ranch House from the late 1800s
You can almost see the parking area off in the distance. That parking is at the Equestrian Camping Area on the map.

This hill is the same height as Enchanted Rock so it’s a pretty good climb, but worth it for the great views.

To get to this spot park at the Equestrian Camp Area. Take path 1 to 5a, to 5b. The trails are marked fairly well, but if in doubt take the path leading up. 6 goes around the hill and 5b looks like a staircase (below) so it’s pretty obvious which is 5b which leads to the top and some amazing views.

5b

Another great park in Texas and I highly recommend a visit. Like I said in my other post on this park take lots of water with you. There’s no fill station or park store to get more water. If you find yourself short on water drive back into town and get more.

Hill Country Natural Area

After a morning hiking at Guadalupe River State Park we headed out to Hill Country Natural Area for the afternoon. If Guadalupe River State Park is dry then there needs to be a new word to describe the conditions at Hill Country Natural Area.

Here are the falls at the NE end of the park.


Here…I’ll zoom in to where the water is supposed to be:

Yes, I said falls as in waterfalls. I was standing where the falls are supposed to…fall. Apparently this used to be a good catfish hole. The park ranger used the words “a couple of weeks ago,” but I think he might have been sippin’ on the hooch. There was no trace of water. Anywhere.

There is no park store and nowhere in the park to get water. You must pack it in. There weren’t many at the park so it was very quiet, but that also means you’re on your own and there may/may not be a cell signal while you’re out on the trail. Keep that in mind and stay safe.

Honey Creek State Natural Area

The picture below is a good summary of our trip to Honey Creek. We arrived at the park at 10:00 am.

from http://myfreedom2roam.com/Camping/HoneyCreekStateNaturalArea/index.html

Saturdays at 9:00 am really is the only time the public is allowed to enter Honey Creek Natural Area. Fieldtrips may be the other way, but I’m not sure.

Maybe next time…

Here’s someone else’s post about the Natural Area that is very informative.

Guadalupe River State Park Visit

We went out to Guadalupe River State Park on a recent outing. I knew this park would be dry, but when I saw the flow rate posted at the park store I knew it was worse than I thought. The sign said “0 feet/second.”

There’s no tubing, very little to swim in, and if you’re fishing, bring the small hooks.

It wasn’t more than a few inches deep on avg through this area. Upstream was a little better, but it wasn’t a long stretch of waist-high water and then back to near dry conditions.

Above you can see where the water has carved into the rock along the river. This was probably a good 25 feet lateral and 15 feet above the current water level. Did I mention the river was low?

Old Tunnel State Park

One of the newest state parks in Texas is the Old Tunnel State Park. The main attraction here is the bat emergence nightly from May to October.

Open year-round from sunrise to sunset for general use.

Bat viewing nightly May through October. The trail to the lower viewing area is closed each evening. Monday through Wednesday evenings the trail and lower viewing area are not open to the public. On Thursday through Sunday evenings, the trail will only be open to those visitors who pay admission to view the bats at the lower viewing area.

For the most up-to-date emergence information, call the toll-free information line at (866) 978-2287.”

Plan your visit ahead of time and find a place for dinner close by. It is a bit out of the way and “out in the middle of nowhere” off of Old Fred Road and Old San Antonio Road. If you spot Old Fred that’s just a bonus.

 

Pedernales Falls State Park Bird Blind

After the storms on Monday, I headed out the Perd to see if the rains had any impact on the water level. While out there I remembered that there’s plenty about this park that I haven’t experienced yet. One of those things is the bird blind at the park.

My expectations were really low because I thought “low budget and state park must mean bench and tree = bird blind.” Boy was I wrong.

If you haven’t had the pleasure, put it at the top of your list for your next visit to the park.

From the park store, head towards the main falls. Keep an eye out on the left side of the road for the parking area for the blind. It is well-marked and should be easily found.

To get the most out of your visit and to be respectful of others at the blind:

  1. Turn your radio off before you turn into the parking area.
  2. No talking unless you are able to whisper (not all people are able to in my experience)
  3. When you park, try to park at the far end of the lot away from the entrance to the blind.
  4. Close the door to your car as quietly as possible
  5. Don’t set your alarm. Lock your doors, but no honking of the horn to set the alarm.
  6. Enter the blind quietly (don’t let the gate slam)

There are two large bird blinds once you enter. The first one on the right, pictured below, has a few hummingbird feeders.

I saw several different species in just a short time in this blind.

There is another blind in this area that has a special visitor right now.

I was lucky to get there around feeding time. The volunteer, Mr. Strickland, said that the baby fox, pictured below, shows up every day around 5pm and stays about an hour.

According to Mr. Strickland, there is a mother and a couple of other young foxes. However he had not seen them in a few days and the worry is that something might have happened to them. Hopefully this little guy is not on his own so young.

The park is in the middle of a large project at the blind/surrounding area. They are building a large star gazing area. Mr. Strickland said that there would be a telescope and accompanying facility. I look forward to visiting this facility when it opens.

Pedernales Falls (again)

I made it out to Pedernales on Monday after the heavy rains. Got some great pictures with the old camera I dug out of the closet. Easy to say that this park is my favorite so far. Every time I visit I see something I haven’t seen before.

picture of rocks at state park

limestone cave at state park

old tree at state park

Doeskin Ranch – Creek Trail

map of park

The creek trail starts at the informationschool at Doeskin kiosk near the restrooms* and follows the old homestead (no longer there), school (mid to late 1800’s structure), and then continues along the creek until it meets back up with the main trail (rimrock trail).

The old school building provides a small picture of what living on the ranch must have been like.

Even though the creek trail is only a half mile from the ponds and prairies trail the landscape is completely different. You’ll also see lots of grasshoppers along this trail. Watch for snakes (depending on time of year) and keep an eye out for the many birds and butterflies. The creek will have water in it if there has been a recent rain. Otherwise you can explore the old creek bed.

The old trees on this trail also provide plenty of photo opportunities. This was one of my favorite from today.

old tree at ranch

McKinney Falls State Park Video

I found another great video on one of the parks I’ve visited a few times now. Watch the video and check out my posts on McKinney Falls State Park.