Monday, February 13, 2023

Another Day, Another Attempt at Old Baldy

 It's a little dryer today than it was yesterday here at Garner State Park. Although little is relative and I didn't say it was actually dry, because it wasn't. But I'm still going to attempt to make it up to the top of Old Baldy today.

This time I'll get there by taking the old entrance road out to where it hits the highway, then wind across a complex of ridges to reach Old Baldy.

Spoiler alert: I didn't make it today either.

The original entrance road as built by the CCC was abandoned after the park became so popular that traffic was regularly backing up out onto the blind curves of the highway where it descends out of the hills.

The new entrance was moved to the north edge of the park off a less-traveled FM (Farm to Market) road and the old entrance road was repurposed as part of the trail system.

It's still plenty damp and misty out here, but still, it's an improvement.  Yesterday this lay-by on the old road was muffled deep into the clouds.

The white sign is warning people to walk their bikes from here down to the river because the road is steep. Since I've just come up that way I can easily imagine the terror of hurtling down on two wheels with a T-bone intersection coming up fast.

There's an overlook along this old road, oddly enough not back there at the lay-by with all its picnic tables,

that has a pretty good view of the location of the old CCC encampment. 

The rectangular road that passed around the various offices, tool-rooms, mess-halls, and dormitories of the old camp is now maintained as access to over-flow parking where the buildings used to be.

It's interesting - to me anyway - that of the millions of visitors this park has attracted over 9 decades, the majority are Texans from the very, pretty much rabidly, red state of Texas (Today us Texans have agreed that parents of transgendered children should have their right to choose and provide the care and support they believe their child deserves taken away under threat of criminal charges) yet this park we have adopted as our own is the direct result of the socialist New Deal program, (I also despair that we are not being educated in even the most basic things like the very real and fundamental difference between communism - a form of government - and socialism - a philosophy of societal betterment. Even the politicians we elect to guide this country don't seem to know the difference.) but I shouldn't be surprised. Those same conservative, right-wingers that voted to abolish abortion, even for raped 10 year old girls in this state, see no conflict with, at the same time, being very protective of their Social Security and Medicare, two programs distinctly left-leaning, in fact downright socialist in nature.

By the way, those same conservative Texans just re-elected an Attorney General that has been under Federal incitement for corruption for several years of painful legal delaying tactics and who, just today (Feb 10) agreed to apologize to and pay 3.3 million to the former staff members who he fired when they collectively made that accusation. An act that has now been proven to be wrongful terminations. The corruption indictments still stand. Oh, and this wrongful termination settlement will be paid with taxpayer's money.

Good job voters!

Oh! Thank goodness my soap-box just broke and I fell off! Now I can get back to hiking - - -

It's understandable, given the traffic situation, but it's still kind of a shame that the painstakingly hand-crafted rock-work and nearly 100 year old wood rails of the original entrance have now been pretty much abandoned.

There's a tangle of trails near the old entrance (The 9 on the map)

Yeah. OK. What does that mean?

and some of them are not clearly marked,

but others are,

and I have my map, so it's all good

as I make my way towards the landmark of the Shady Oak.

I'm not sure if this is an original or a replica of one of the CCC trail markers. Either way, it's old.

OK, the original plan for today was to work my way across the ridges and tackle Old Baldy.

I'm about 2/3rds of the way there now but, although there were moments when the visibility was better than yesterday, those were not always long-lived. So I decided the effort to get up there to the top would return more rewards if I waited another day for better visibility. (Either that or I was just getting tired. . .)

So I decided instead to work my way back down to the river along the White Rock Cave Trail,

Now they tell me! After I'm already down.

But first that meant confronting the Bird Trail.

I'm not ashamed to admit there was some sidooching involved here (sitting and scooting) as I negotiated the combination wet scree and slick rock-ledge trail. Better the indignity of a wet, muddy ass than risk a fall.

And by the time I got partway down the White Cave Trail my river-level goal was in sight.

From there it's only a mile and a half back to The Van and maybe the weather will be even better tomorrow so I can attempt topping Old Baldy for the third time.


  1. I kinda like the appearance of Greg’s soapbox in the blog once in awhile. I hope Old Baldy gives up its views next time.

    1. Well in that case I'll go ahead and fix my soapbox, but it will be on your head!

  2. Ditto what John said.

    I had to give up following politics. As a disillusioned communist and ardent socialist, the whole thing has become too depressing.
    But it's nice to know there're a few folks who share a somewhat similar view. And pursuing one of/from Mt. Baldy seems as honorable and satisfying a pursuit as is available in these times.

    Sidooching. A new word!

    1. I think I was born disillusioned and it doesn't seem to be getting any better, so I'll just keep on hiking thank-you very much!

  3. Yeah! All is well in the world, if some of us put our thinking cap on once in a while, and see the contradictions. I love your hike, wowow Old Baldy looks good in the mist, but steep indeed.

    1. There's a series on one of the science channels called "The End Of the World". Except that, rather egotistically I think, most the scenarios they describe are the end of humans, not the world, and I see that as our get-out-of-jail-free card. Because if we completely cock it up and extinct ourselves at least the world will be able to heal from the wrongs we've done it.

  4. I can see myself even screwing "scooting" up in that situation. LOL

    1. Sidooching is fine for kids, but when old men do it it's not a pretty sight!