Saturday, December 15, 2018

Change is Painful but It Can Motivate You

Starting to Train

“THE REMARKABLE THING IS WE HAVE A CHOICE EVERYDAY REGARDING THE ATTITUDE WE WILL EMBRACE FOR THAT DAY.” – Charles Swindoll


A good friend sent the entire reflection to me earlier this year, a friend I relied on for honest feedback, fun arguments, and helpful advice. That friend is now gone, and I’ve had to reread that reflection every day since his departure to cope with that loss.

Our friend knew life was short, and that it is best to live it as much as you can. His passing has made me reflect much on that. So, when Jarrett brought up a December Big Bend trip again, I took the opportunity to say I’d join. I’ve never been to Big Bend, and I figured training for a seven-day hike would give me the motivation I need to up my fitness.  At the same time, I feel it’s a distraction, or a way to channel the pain of the loss, or maybe both. Training the body to improve its endurance and the mind to try to stay in the present is a therapy I’m willing to try.

So, our first “training” trip was to River Place Nature Trail. It’s in west Austin and offers three trails to explore: The Fern Trail, the Canyons Trail, and the Panther Hollow Trail. The Fern Trail has plenty of waterfalls, the Canyons Trail traces the golf course, and the Panther Hollow Trail offers the highest elevation change in Austin. At least, that’s what their website says… We only made it through one mile of the Fern Trail and then walked back.


The trail is difficult. It is steep after step continuously going up or down or up and then down. It’s been raining in Austin too, so some areas were slippery. The paths are narrow, so BeeGee and Jarrett walked in the front while us slow pokes, Angela and me, walked behind them.  As you may or may not know, BeeGee and Angela are notorious pullers. It’s a habit Jarrett and I did not succeed in overcoming. Making it worse was Angela’s stops. So, she pulls and stops. Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep my balance and stay behind Jarrett, while at the same time going on the greatest physical challenge I’ve had in a long time!


So, after hiking for a little over a mile, we arrived at a stream and small waterfall. It was quiet and peaceful. You could even sit and listen as the water flowed downstream. I sat on the bench, listening to the water as Jarrett and BeeGee explored. As I caught my breath I looked around. Though the humidity was unbearable, the moisture and dark clouds seemed to add a mystical element to the moment. BeeGee enjoyed dipping her feet in the water, while Angela never lost sight of Jarrett. We hung around for a bit, taking pictures of some interesting friends, such as flowers and frogs. Then we journeyed back the mile we had come in through.


Which brings me back to the initial quote.  On the way back, I was soon in a bad mood. Growing up, I didn’t participate in many sports (which is a whole story unto itself), so I never learned to enjoy exercise or push myself through workouts. Yes, I try to stay active, but mostly through walking or learning to swim lately. But going on the Canyon Trail was very different, and a great challenge for this non-athlete. I was huffing and puffing and answering shortly to any questions Jarrett shot my way. But at a certain point, while going up a steep set of stairs, I remembered what my friend had sent me, that wisdom about attitude. It seems cliché, but I figured I didn’t lose anything by changing my attitude. In fact, I would lose the experience if I kept focusing on my anger at my perceived body weakness and lack of balance. I wouldn’t gain anything if I focused on the anger I felt for our friend leaving either.  So, I followed his advice and worked on changing my attitude.


I’m not gonna lie to you. It’s not like it was a magical epiphany that suddenly brought me peace and instant pleasure at climbing those steep stairs. But it allowed me to realize that by changing my attitude, I could change the course of this experience, this moment. I was able to turn this hike into a pleasant experience….


At least until we got to the car. Then exhaustion kicked in and I was hangry. Anyway… if you’re looking for a hiking place in Austin that can seriously kick your butt and prepare you for Big Bend, then visit River Place Nature Trail!

I ended up not being able to go on the Big Bend trip, but we are now preparing for a hike of the Inca Trail in Peru. 
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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Trip Report: Sherwood Forest Faire

First Time at Sherwood Forest

I have recently been introduced to the fun world of renaissance festivals, so Jack and I took a trip to the Ren Faire in McDade, Texas.


Upon arrival, a group of characters were handing out flyers to gain attention for their show, which happened to be called Blunt Force Drama. Once we Jack and I finally made it through the festival gates, Blunt Force was of the first shows running. So of course, we stopped there. The show is a melee fighting tournament mixed with adult humor. The show starts by picking judges from the crowd and then the fighting begins. They even have adult humor commercials while you wait for the next round. I thoroughly enjoyed the fighting and the humor, but some might find it offensive (it was pretty racy). Also, I wouldn't take kids.


Once the show finished, we followed Jack's policy of taking a lap around the grounds to see what shops and shows are available. This led me to find some awesome leather armor, and I decided I really wanted it. So, we made a few trips around the grounds pricing all the leather armor stores. There are definitely some cool pieces of gear and clothing if you have the money to get fully kitted out. After looking at the prices, we decided to carry on with the experience before I rushed into buying anything.


Failing at bargain armor hunting, it was time for lunch, and Jack ate at Jerusalem Cafe, which was actually cooking and preparing food (I would highly recommend eating there) as you ordered. I ended up eating at a generic food stall where I had bread bowl soup, and I wished I had followed Jack’s lead because it was pretty basic.

After we gobbled our food, we hustled over to the jousting ring just in time to watch the action. However, it was not time to see two warriors smash into each other with lances on horseback, it was time for jousting games to break in new horses. It still turned out pretty exciting as each rider competed to place their lance through small rings or smash fruit to score points.


Next, we wandered around looking at all the various shops we missed earlier or that had items we wanted to look at again. For a moment, the Ren Faire vibe got to me and I just had to have leather armor that I found earlier. As we compared all the prices from the leather shops, I started to ask myself, “do I really need this?” The answer was no. However, I did end up with a leather belt, a belt pouch, a basic shirt, and basic pants, which I wear to all the Ren Fairs now.

After shopping, we headed back over to the jousting ring. This jousting tournament was a little weird because there were only three contestants. The riders battle and smashed into each other, but none of the contestants won by unhorsing their opponent. With the joust complete and the winner declared, the contestants were unhappy with their standings. Everything ended with a double cross and hand to hand fighting.


After some more wandering, we stopped at the Sky King: Birds of Prey show, which was hands down my favorite. The show was entertaining, educational, and amazingly corny. The handler brings out multiple birds, one at a time and has the bird do a few tricks while giving you details on each bird and making bad jokes. Then the birds fly through the crowds to land on perches spaced out in the stands, so make sure to sit on the end of a row. At the very end, a crow comes out and takes donations from your hand and places it in a donation box. They even have a small area where you can go in and view all the birds after the show.


We then ended up at the Paolo Garbanzo Juggling Fool Show. Jack is a huge fan of Paolo so we couldn’t leave without seeing at least one of his shows. As it turns out, Paolo is pretty humorous. All while juggling sharp and flaming objects, which is incredibly impressive.


After Paolo’s show, we just stuck around the stage to watch Saxon Moon with Solar Rain because it sounded cool. The show is live “period” music with fire dancers. As the songs change new dancers come out and show off their moves. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it sure was exciting.


There were no more shows after Saxon Moon and only a few shops were left open, so we figured it was time to head on home.

Overall, we had a great time and I can't wait to visit the Texas Ren Faires in the future. Also, if you like the blog or our videos, check us out on Patreon.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Trip Report: Texas Renaissance Festival

Taking Beginners to a Ren Faire

In December 2017, Jarrett our dad Bmo, and I went to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, Texas. Out of the three of us, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who has been to a Ren Faire, and I’m slowly becoming an old pro!

Background

The Ren Faire grounds are on 55 acres and there is even more space for camping facilitates. They claim to be the nation's largest Ren Faire and most acclaimed renaissance themed park. Once inside, there are over 200 daily shows on 20 different stages. Every year they open on every weekend from September 30th to November 20th if weather permits. Every weekend even has its own theme and some nights have after dark (adult) activities. As for pricing, online it’s $26 for adults and $14 for kids. Gate prices are $29 and $14 for kids. Even better, weekend passes are available for $39

Themed Weekends

Oktoberfest -Polka music and Traditional German beers are served.
1001 Dreams - Fantasy themed with contest, such as scavenger hunts and costumes.
All Hallows Eve - Halloween themed with contest like pumpkin carving.
Pirate Adventure - Pirate themed with plenty of gold for all.
Roman Bacchanal - Spaghetti eating and toga contest for all.
Barbarian Invasion - Indulge in an eating or barbarian battle cry contest.
Heroes and Villains - Iconic figures come together for entertainment.
Highland Fling - Traditional Scottish costumes optional but be ready for the bagpipe-playing.
Celtic Christmas - Christmas decorations and music for the candy cane hunt and guess the present contest.

The Drive Out

The Texas Renaissance Festival is located in Todd Mission, which is about 50 minutes north of Houston or about 2.5 hours to the east of Austin Texas. Unfortunately, the roads to the fair are not a straight shot and you have to take multiple smaller roads and highways at least from central Texas.

The Adventure

I was lucky enough to receive a free ticket from my good friend on Facebook, so not only did I want to go, but now I had to go. I was even luckier and got another free ticket from my good friend’s friend, so it was set in stone that I had to go. On the second ticket, it was actually 2, but one was used and one wasn't. I printed them both out and was prepped to get a third ticket at the gate.


We planned on getting to the fair around 10, but that means I'd have to wake up around 7 AM and I’m not about that life. We finally make it to Todd mission and had to sit in a vehicle line for about 20 minutes. Mainly because Todd mission is a tiny town, so be ready to wait. Finally, we get to Park the car and thankfully the parking lots are surprisingly not bad, but you do have to walk a good ways to the entrance. If you don’t feel like walking, they do offer cart rides for a small price; however, we are but peasants so we had to walk.


We get to the gate and I explain to the gentlemen checking tickets that we have three tickets, but one won't work, and I will go buy one after two go in. He was kind enough to see that we are but peasants and let all three of us go in any way.


A good rule of thumb of places like this is to make a few laps and take note of all the cool places you want to see. We decided to get some food pretty early in the day, which is on the expensive side but a fun and delish time. While we were on our food quest, we ran into the daily parade and stopped to watch all the characters march through the grounds. After lunch, Jarrett and I went on a quest to try some mulled wine and some mead. The mulled wine was pretty good and the mead we got was quite sweet.


After our first few laps, we were ready to start seeing the sights and watching the shows. And first up was a walk through the Magic Garden, which was neat, but packed with kids and parents. The garden ended pretty near a musical stage, so we took a seat and waited for the next event. It turned out “Cast in Bronze” was the next show, which is where a masked guy plays a giant piano of bells, called a carillon really quickly. It was pretty impressive and loud.


Later we watched one of my favorite shows, the jousting tournament, which is one of the larger/longer shows they have. After the joust, we decided to browse some of the shops. There are hundreds of shops on the fairgrounds and they have stuff for everyone. Jarrett and I (mostly me tho) have a thing for cool/wooden mugs, so that’s where our shopping efforts were directed. Finally, If you stay to the end of the day they have a final show with lots of fire and a grand fireworks display. I unfortunately, got sick as I like to do so we had to miss the final show and head home early. I will manage to watch it next year tho!

Final thoughts

The Texas Renaissance Faire can be some amazing times and I would for sure recommend going at least once in your life. Just be prepared to bring a good bit of cash (paper money at that) with you and get ready for lots of walking and standing.

Tell us about your experience going to the Ren Fair and your favorite themed weekend? Also, if you like the blog or our videos, check us out on Patreon.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Trip Report: Colorado Bend Park

Spontaneous Trip to Watch the Super Blue Blood Moon

Having finally comprehended the rarity of the upcoming Super Blue Blood Moon, I decided to plan a quick overnight camping trip. I quickly looked at a light pollution map to locate the nearest state park with a low level of light pollution. My 2 best options were Enchanted Rock State Park and Colorado Bend State Park. I went with Colorado Bend because BeeGee is allowed every in the park (unlike Enchanted Rock), and I knew BeeGee wanted to see a crazy rare moon event.

Super Blue Blood Moon at Colorado Bend State Park
Super Blue Blood Moon at Colorado Bend State Park

Background

Info: Colorado Bend State Park is 5,328.3 acres in the Texas hill country and contains springs, caves, trails, sinkholes, and a river. If you want to bring a pet (aka your best bud), they are allowed as well on leash.
Address: 2236 Park Hill Dr, Bend, TX 76824
Admission Cost: $5 entrance fee; $10-15 for campsites
Difficulty: Easy to
strenuous


Getting Ready

I called the Colorado Bend Park Office during my lunch to reserve a campsite and find out some general information. After work, I flew home to pack up all our gear, and BeeGee and I had quick dinners. Then we took off trying to make the best time we could with the remaining daylight. Of course, traffic was worse than expected, so it took us a while to make it out of the Austin urban sprawl. Once we were out on the smaller roads, we started spotting herds of 10+ and had to take things slower. 

Colorado Bend Trail Map
Colorado Bend Trail Map

The Adventure

Finally, inside the park, there is a 6-mile drive back to the campsites and more than a few times, I was concerned I was heading the wrong way because of the long drive. After a few map checks, we made it to the campgrounds and the park was mostly empty. We quickly set up our camp, paid for the night, and did a little exploring.

BeeGee staring down into Dogleg Canyon
BeeGee staring down into Dogleg Canyon

With setup complete, we decided we needed to hike a trail after our drive out here and settled on Cedar Chopper Loop and Dogleg Canyon Trail. The moon was so bright and we had no need for any lights on our hike. This gave me the bright idea to try and run a portion of the trail so we wouldn’t be out hiking past midnight. Overall, this was a horrible decision and took a tumble early on. BeeGee trotted back to check on me and we were back hiking to hiking before long.

The Moon was so bright out on the trail
The Moon was so bright out on the trail

Cedar Chopper Loop is a standard Hill Country trail with large exposed rocks, cedars, and oaks. We walked through one cool section with a bunch of low hanging branches growing over the trail, but mostly it was a way to get to Dogleg Canyon. When we arrived at Dogleg, it looked incredibly impressive at night, and I’d like to spend some time in the day exploring it. At the end of the trail, we found a large herd of deer and BeeGee really wanted to run wild with them, but I decided it would be best to head back. 

The beginning of Dogleg Canyon
The beginning of Dogleg Canyon

Back at camp, we took what only felt like a short nap before getting up at 4:30 and packing up camp. We set up the action cam to record the eclipse, but the action cam just didn’t have the power to take spectacular video as we found out later. BeeGee and I spent the rest of the morning watching the gorgeous moon shrink and change color. We watched the event until 6:30 before we had to head back home so I could head to work.


Tell us about your experience with the super moon and where you watched the event from? Also, if you like the blog or our videos, check us out on Patreon.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Trip Report: Pace Bend Park

Adventures with BeeGee’s First Patreon Hiking Trip

We just went on our first Adventures with BeeGee monthly hike with supporter Linda! The trip was short, but fun nonetheless, and know we know what a cool location Pace Bend is.

A rough patch of Lake Travis shoreline
A rough patch of Lake Travis shoreline


Background

Info: Pace Bend Park is a Travis County Park and sits on the shores of Lake Travis. The park has 9 miles of lake shoreline, limestone cliffs, rocky alcoves, and over 15 miles of multi-use trails. If you want to bring a pet (aka your best bud), they are allowed as well on leash.
Address: 2011 Pace Bend Rd N, Spicewood, TX 78669
Admission Cost: $10 per vehicle; $15 per night; $20 for RVs
Difficulty: Easy to intermediate


Map of Pace Bend Park
Map of Pace Bend Park


The Drive Out

Pace Bend Park is about 1 hour from North Austin, and the drive takes you through the gorgeous Texas Hill Country. If you enjoy a swerving, up, and down road then the trip will be a blast. If you get car sick easy, plan your route carefully and stick to larger roads.


An ardea (a type heron) hanging out in Lake Travis
An ardea (a type heron) hanging out in Lake Travis 

The Adventure

Once we made it to the park, we quickly learned that they are CASH ONLY, so make sure you have enough on hand. We had to pool some dollars and car change to come up with $10 entrance fee. We asked the attendant the best location for a hike and she recommended the northeast corner, and that’s where we headed.

A cattle egret taking flight over Lake Travis
A cattle egret taking flight over Lake Travis


Unfortunately, the park lacks signage for parking or trailheads, so we just picked a random spot in the grass close to where we wanted to start our hike. With all our gear ready, we took off towards the shoreline, and as we walked along Lake Travis, there were multiple cars pulled up on sandy beaches just hanging out.

Taking a break for a group photo
Taking a break for a group photo

We ended up just paralleling the shoreline, which allowed us to just enjoy the lake and watch a few birds like the cattle egret and an ardea. We eventually found a nice spot along the lake for a group photo and just hung out for a bit, which was difficult because the sun was overhead.

A giant fallen tree in Pace Bend Park
A giant fallen tree in Pace Bend Park

After that, we saw a giant downed tree and I knew Angela and BeeGee would love to check the smells out around the tree. It turned out this area was full of sticker burrs and the girls were not a fan. The going was slow through this area and it ended up being easier to just carry Angela back to safety. Having hiked for a few hours, we decided it was time to go find some lunch. We didn’t explore a lot of the park, but this is now a place on the radar for a weekend trip!

Let us know about that park that is nearby, but you just haven't made it there yet? Let us know in the comments. Also, if you like the blog or our videos, check us out on Patreon.


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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Gear Review: REI Elements Rain Jacket

Long-Term Review of the REI Elements Rain Jacket

I purchased this jacket in 2012 for a trip to Peru and have used it many times on the trail or days when I need to take the dogs out for a potty break on a rainy day. The REI Elements Rain Jacket, now known as the REI Ultra-Light Jacket, is a lightweight 2.5-layer waterproof breathable coated shell that weighs 16 ounces. The jacket works great as a rain jacket, wind jacket, or for warmth as an outer layer.

Wearing my REI Elements Rain Jacket on a rainy day in Peru
Wearing my REI Elements Rain Jacket on a rainy day in Peru

Construction

The Elements Rain Jacket is diamond ripstop nylon is waterproof, breathable, and windproof to 60 mph. The seams are sealed, the zipper features a bonded placket with securing snaps, and the shell is DWR coated. In addition, the jacket has 2-way stretch for better comfort and multiple pockets for easy access to your equipment. Another set of nice features is the design to help keep heat in: the hood is fully adjustable (it can even be rolled and secured in the collar), the cuffs can be velcroed, and the waist can be adjusted with a drawstring. The most important feature, in my opinion, each armpit has a zipper to help increase the breathability.

Hood rolled up and secured in the collar
Hood rolled up and secured in the collar

Uses

I’ve used this jacket in multiple situations from rainstorms, snow, and mountain biking and it has always kept me warm and dry. While in Peru, we experienced multiple rain storms at high altitude and my torso always remained dry. In addition, hiking the Neusiok Trail, NC, I experienced a day of heavy rain and stayed dry. As far as warmth goes, hiking Mt LeConte, I experienced significant snowfall and managed to stay warm and dry wearing this jacket. Finally, there have been multiple times I’ve been out mountain biking with the sun going down, super sweaty, and a cold front blowing in and I’ve been able to throw this jacket on and remain warm.

Wearing my REI Elements Jacket on a snowy day at Mt LeConte
Wearing my REI Elements Jacket on a snowy day at Mt LeConte

Pros

One of the biggest benefits of the Elements Rain Jacket is its versatility. This jacket can be used as an outer layer to stay warm and provides wind and rain protection. Furthermore, it is useful for everyday use, light enough for backpacking, and is stout enough to survive riding through thick brush while mountain biking. Moreover, this jacket is extremely adjustable. The hood can be adjusted, removed, or rolled up and secured in the collar. Plus, the cuffs and waist can be adjusted and loosened as required by the weather. Finally, REIs lightweight rain jackets are on sale frequently and can be snagged for a fraction of the price as higher end models.

This jacket is durable and was able to survive the lustful attacks of this dog in Peru
This jacket is durable and was able to survive
the lustful attacks of this dog in Peru

Issues

The Elements Rain Jacket isn’t without its issues, however, as it is much heavier and bulkier than similarly marketed jackets. The jacket can be stuffed into its own pocket, but it is still cantaloupe sized. This can be a considerable amount of space if you must carry multiple pieces for a complete clothing system. Furthermore, at 16 ounces, this is heavy for a lightweight jacket as there are other options at approximately 5 ounces now. Another big issue is the breathability. While waterproof is covered, this jacket needs to have the armpit zippers open if you want it to breathe. Finally, the chest pocket is in a bad location. This isn’t a big issue unless you are wearing a pack and then the pocket is inaccessible because of the chest strap, and anything in the pocket will rub your uncomfortably.

The large zippered armpit vent
The large zippered armpit vent

Recommendation

Overall, this is a solid jacket and I’m glad its been my jacket of choice for 5 years; however, now that I have gained more knowledge and skills I’m ready to move on to a lighter rain jacket. If you are beginner backpacker or need a standard adventure rain jacket, then this jacket is for you; however, if you have advanced skills, I’d look for something relevant to your style and climate.

What is your go-to rain jacket? Let us know in the comments. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date. 

Disclosure: I purchased the jacket with my own funds. and the links contained in this article might provide a small commission.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Trip Report: Garner State Park

Crowded Car Camping at Garner State Park

Angela, BeeGee, Jack and I were all able to get 2 days off at the same time and we decided we needed to take a trip somewhere. Since it has just begun cooling off in Texas and the promise of Halley’s Comet, there was a shortage of available campsites around the state. Thankfully, we found a few spots at Garner State Park.

Angela, BeeGee, and Jarrett posing on a huge rock on the Blinn River Trail
Angela, BeeGee, and Jarrett posing on a huge rock on the Blinn River Trail

The Background

Location: 234 RR 1050, Concan, TX 78838
Admission: $8 per adult, Children under 12 are free; $15+ for campsites
Elevation: 1320 to 1890 ft.
Weather:  Sunny, humid, low 80s
Difficulty: Easy to strenuous

Garner State Park - Day 1

We had a later start than preferred but, we hustled out to the hill country as quick as we could. Making good time, we made it with plenty of time to set up the tent, realize we forgot the water, and found a backup water container. With some daylight to spare after all that, we packed up our day packs and picked a few trails for a twilight and night hike.

Rocky terrain common across Garner State Park
Rocky terrain common across Garner State Park

Blinn River Trail

The team loaded up and we drove down to a small parking lot near the Blinn River trailhead. The Blinn trail parallels the Frio River and is only .5 miles long. I figured this trail would be nice and easy but ended up tougher than expected. The trail was narrow, rocky, and root covered.

Hiking the Blinn River Trail
Hiking the Blinn River Trail

Along the way, we stopped to take pictures on a large boulder and let BeeGee spend some time playing in the river. The weather was hot and muggy and splashing around in the cold water put BeeGee in a great mood. Angela hates water, so she was more than willing to be an observer and check out all the great smells at the water’s edge. We finished up the rest of the trail and ended on the Madrone Walkway.

Angela, BeeGee, and Jack posing on a huge rock on the Blinn River Trail
Angela, BeeGee, and Jack posing on a huge rock on the Blinn River Trail

Madrone Walkway & Frio Canyon Trail

Madrone Walkway is a paved trail that parallels the main road through the park and is a little over half a mile long. The walkway passes a nice overlook but overall isn’t impressive; just a necessity to access other trailheads by walking. By the time we made it to the Frio Canyon Trail it was full dark.

The Madrone Trail Trailhead
The Madrone Trail Trailhead

The Frio Canyon Trail is almost a loop, like a big horseshoe, spends a lot of time in open fields (you can see Texas Mountains in the distance), and is 2.9 miles long. This trail turned out to be the right choice and there wasn’t anything to trip over and the stars and moon were visible. Plus, Angela is a little scared of the dark and she could see off into the distance, which helped her be less jumpy. After enjoying an easy walk and a beautiful sky, we headed back to the car and campsite, cooked a quick dinner, and piled into our 3-person tent.

Walking down the Madrone Trail just before dark
Walking down the Madrone Trail just before dark

Garner State Park - Day 2

It ended up being a much warmer and more humid than expected and no sleeping bag was needed. Once all the families went to sleep everything was pretty peaceful, and just a little sticky/humid. We woke up had a breakfast of fresh eggs and salami, and readied our daypacks.

White Rock Cave Trail & Old Baldy Trail

The next morning, we decided to make the Old Baldy Trail our first stop as it is one of the highlights of the Garner State Park. When we made it to the trailhead, we saw that we found White Rock Cave Trail and decided we needed to see this cave first. White Rock Cave Trail is only .3 miles, but it has some steep elevation change and you walk up some extremely eroded areas.

The rugged trail to White Rock Cave
The rugged trail to White Rock Cave

After some hard climbs, we made it to White Rock Cave and it was a little underwhelming. The cave may have been 10 ft. deep and looked a little gross inside. We decided it wasn’t worth climbing into the cave, so we just took a few pictures and headed back down to start our trip up Old Baldy Trail.

a quick glance in the tiny cave
White Rock Cave - a quick glance in the tiny cave

Old Baldy trail is a strenuous hike at only half a mile, but there are steep climbs up water eroded trail, which means scrambling over big rocks. BeeGee loves that kind of terrain and hopped around like a mountain goat while the rest of us struggled to keep up. At the pinnacle, Old Baldy is approximately 1890 feet tall. Unfortunately, it is also a popular destination and was swarming with people, dogs, and kids.
Overlooking the Frio River
From Mount Baldy - Overlooking the Frio River

Foshee Trail to Crystal Cave Trail

With Old Baldy conquered, we headed back down about a fifth a mile to the Foshee Trailhead. Foshee Trail is 1.7 miles and was the easiest hike that morning. Foshee Trail passes a century old rock wall shrouded in mystery and intersects many other trails in the park, which makes it an important connection trail.

a .75 mile long rock wall on Foshee Trail
Old Rock Fence - a .75 mile long rock wall on Foshee Trail

On Foshee Trail, we walked to Painted Rock Overlook and took a look back at Old Baldy. However, the sun was out in full force, so we didn’t stay long. We then linked up with Bridges Trail, which connected us to Crystal Cave Trail. Crystal Cave is the other premiere site at Garner State Park and we had to wait in a short line before we were able to head down.

the view of Mount Baldy
Painted Rock Overlook - the view of Mount Baldy

Crystal Cave is about 30 feet deep and one small chamber. In addition, it is supposed to be cooler, but it was so humid all I wanted to do was escape. We spent a little time exploring and made our way back out to let the next group enjoy.


Campos Trail & Old Entrance Road

The next leg of our trip had us wandering around a bit lost as attempted to take Wilks Trail to Campos Trail. We ended up on Bridges Trail, Foshee Trail, Bell Trail, and Rim Trail as all these trails intersect and weave together in a small area. There wasn’t anything memorable about this section as our view was blocked and we were just waiting for our next scenic view.

these have been guiding hikers for over 70 years
CCC Horseshoe Footprint Bollards - these have been guiding hikers for over 70 years

Along the way, we passed the CCC Horseshoe Footprint Bollards and the Campos Trail overlook, but it was well into the afternoon and too hot to just stand in the open and enjoy the view. Campos Trail eventually led us to our last section of our hike, the Old Entrance Road, which was an old paved road that used to be the entrance to the park. It was a neat experience, but more importantly, it was last, easy walking, and shaded.

a view across the hill country
Campos Trail Overlook - a view across the hill country

Heading Home

After hiking for most of the day, we finished a few small tasks for breaking camp and decided it was time to eat. We headed over to the Garner grill (food trailer) and had some amazing chili cheeseburgers, which I highly rate. My one issue with the Garner Grill is the price of a drink. They only have expensive Garner State Park commemorative cups. After we had our meal, we said our goodbyes to Garner State Park and began the 3-hour drive home.

Let us know about your trips or experiences in Garner State Park. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date. 
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