Thursday, May 3, 2018

Fall or Slide?

Time for one last short hike this morning before the Friday glut kicks me out of Colorado Bend State Park. Being a mere two and half hours from that overblown ego that is Austin on most spring weekends the rangers have to close the park in the afternoon because there’s nowhere else to cram even one more car.

Any time a city makes one of those ‘best places’ lists it’s all over, the city is ruined, and Austin has been making ‘best places’ lists for at least a decade now, which explains the horrendous traffic and severe housing shortage.

But’s that’s later, right now, on this Friday morning, the question is Gorman Falls or Tie Slide?

At three miles round trip the trails are roughly the same length, and they are both down-then-back-up trails, but I’ve done Gorman Falls, there in the bottom right, before (It’s kind of the obligatory hike in these parts.) so I’m going to hang a left here just out of the trailhead parking and do Tie Slide this morning.

And just in case I’ve forgotten, here’s another of the Mountain Lion warning.

And apparently there’s no hope for me.

While the last two ‘general safety tips’ don’t apply to me, I’m often breaking the second tip, after all, dawn and dusk are when the best hiking is to be found. And, of course, I’m always breaking the #1 safety tip, the one that’s first on any list of hiking safety tips. So if this blog stops short one day it just might be that my rebel and reckless disregard of this tip has finally caught up with me!

Initially the trail wanders easily across flats populated with the remnants, or more correctly, replacements, of the resource that first brought Europeans to the area to log, first for lumber and then when the big trees ran out, for wood to be turned into charcoal.

Coming down off the flats the trail flirts with Tie Slide Creek for a while. The name hints at the recent history of this place but unfortunately the nearest, and only, interpretive signs that goes into a little of that history are at the other end of the park, just outside the visitor center, (In this park the visitor center is at the far end of the park and not up by the entrance.) and my highly un-scientific observations indicate that very few even know they are there let alone read them. . .

Tie Slide Creek soon slips under the northern boundary fence and the trail turns east towards the Colorado River.

And just in case you are having trouble following the trail, here’s a few cairns to help. . .

I have no idea who Rusty is, but at the easternmost end of the trail he has a roost.  A roost he’s apparently willing to share. At least he didn’t show up to run me off while I was there.

In addition to a distant view of Messenger Mountain off to the northeast, (I can speculate but sure would like to know for sure the story behind that name) and of  a bit of closed-to-the-public State Park land there directly across the river,

the Roost offers great views up

and down the river. It's a nice place to just lean (against the Roost's railing) and be for a while.

But eventually I hear people on the trail behind me and know it’s time to go.

This isn't the best hike in the park, but then again, to paraphrase a saying from my youth (Yep, waayyyy back then.) any hike, great or mediocre, is better than a stick in the eye.

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