Friday, February 27, 2009
Pedernales Falls State Park is Awesome - Part 2!
It’s day two of our camping trip to Pedernales Falls State Park (PFSP) and we’ve decided to tackle the 4-Mile Loop Trail and since my brother, TJ Bustem has a temperamental back, I will hike the Wolf Mountain Trail solo on Saturday, which from our campsite is a little over 10 miles.
The first obstacle we encountered was a shallow river crossing called the Trammel Crossing. TJ removed his low-quarter hiking boots and socks and waded across, but I was able to ford the river without getting my socks wet. He remarked that it was not even close to being as cold as a river he forded in Montana.
We began catching close-up views of deer and Thursday night we spied a 9-point buck was within 50 feet of our camp. After a mild ascent of this trail, we began seeing extensive evidence of feral hogs, but no hogs. The weather was beautiful, sunny and pleasingly cool, but without wind. It was picture perfect and we were taking pictures aplenty.
It was also fairly easy and we wandered over the trail taking photographs and our time. Up on top, we tried to get a cell phone signal and we stopped by an ancient family graveyard. It was so old the stones were in disarray and their marking were faint. We also came across quite a few cairns. Cairns were used by Native Americans and Mountain men to leave messages and point directions. A cairn is described as a mound of stones piled up as a memorial or to mark a boundary or path.
The hike took a total of about 4 hours and that included many diversions, photographs and observations of this and that and since we were not on a schedule, the time was well spent.
The temperature rose into the 60’s and was quite comfortable. We cooked on our stove, drank more coffee and toured the park using their map, which is free at the welcome center and finished the day back at the Falls. This area is very rough and flood prone when it rains up north and since it is basically like God made it, kind of unsafe to those who are not agile or inattentive. There are no signs warning you to watch out or you could fall and break your bones and I liked this immensely. Go down around the rocks and you pay attention – it’s that simple. We met a number of good folks and a couple from Fort Worth/Dallas.
Back at camp, we lit off our campfire and settled in around the flames to watch the stars. Wow, there are a lot of stars visible when you are away from city lights. We saw a number of satellites too. Hitting the sack about 11:30, I was not near as wary as I was the first night and since we had already had a visit from our raccoon marauder while at the campfire, I figured the night would be uneventful. It was not to be.
Somewhere around 2 am, the raccoon was back and I got up and threw rocks at it. They are extremely adept at accessing your equipment. Yesterday morning, the little rascal had eaten about 15 Hershey mini-candy bars from my brothers container. It had reached through the carrying hole and one by one had pulled the candy out, removed the aluminum foil wrapper and left a small scattered pile of debris. Evidentially chocolate is not hazardous to raccoons.
When we awoke Saturday morning, we discovered our furry friend had opened my ice chest and removed about 3 pounds of fish fillets, ate his fill and even left a small amount on the trail leading away from the camp area. I imagine this happened about the time I got up to chase it off. The sound we heard was evidentially the noise a coon makes when it is very happy. It sounds like a bubbling warble with a few clicks thrown in for good measure. TJ Bustem wasn’t a happy camper, as he had warned me and wanted to put the cooler in his truck for the night.
In Part 3 I hike the Wolf Mountain Trail – Stay tuned.
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