Fun way to end the year!
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Distance: 5.00 Miles
Not a cloud in the sky, temp in the low 70s, light breeze from the north. What a beautiful day. I took the Riverside trail and walked alongside the river - there was one area with lots of rocks that extended out into the river, and we could walk out on the rocks and stand in the middle of the river. That was fun.
Then I took a right on Coyote Road, and looped through Deep Sandy and Pecan Bottom trails. Saw two armadillos, one white-tailed doe, and two hawks that made a noisy take-off when I turned a bend in the trail. Thwack! Whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh! Scared the bejesus out of me. I sat on a log and looked out on the shimmering river, and time just stood still.
I walked back onto Riverside and ascended on Bluestem trail to get up to Bluff Trail Loop. The trail was steep but short here, but well worth the effort. Bluff Trail offers lookout points over the Colorado River every few yards. I was standing directly above where I had walked on the Riverside trail - a fun perspective. There was a huge patch of cactus on the other side of the river, and patchwork pastures to the east - varying shades of tan and gold. The rest of Bluff Trail was dry - there was plenty of cactus and the brush was scraggly. Two big black vultures just sat on their branch, watching me walk by them (waiting for dinner?!!).
I made it to Ridge Trail. There is a great lookout directly to the right at this intersection. Don't miss it. It's a nice place to rest. Ridge trail leads back to the Visitor Center - it is easy, very level, lots of forest.
I chose McKinney Roughs because it was only a 2 hour drive from Houston, and I was looking for something that I could do in one day or less. The actual hike took about 4 hours with plenty of stops to soak in the scenery. I am a beginner hiker - this is a good park to build confidence. I felt safe the entire time. I encountered some people on horseback - which was not a problem at all. They called out before approaching me from behind, so I would know that they were there. I just stood to one side to let them pass. We actually crossed paths a couple of times.
The facilities are very nice and clean. Kudos to LCRA. I read that kayak lessons are offered in the summer...hmmm!