I spent the first part of the week doing yard work, house cleaning, and getting my car inspected.
On Thursday, March 17, I drove to Inks Lake State Park, Burnet, Texas. I had thought about stopping in Austin for a St. Patrick’s Day thing, but decided it would be best to go on to the the park to get my campsite set up rather than arriving in the dark after the park office had closed. I still had the option to drive back to Austin after getting situated, but it was a 3 hr round trip, and I just didn’t feel like doing that.
Instead, I went on a short hike. The actual trail starts down there at 247. The hike to the hike was longer than the hike itself.
That night, the weather was very nice, and I slept well.
The next morning, Friday, I rolled up my sleeping bag and put it in my car because the weather was so pleasant that I hadn’t used it.
Then I drove to Marble Falls for breakfast and to pick up some stuff from Wal-Mart. I bought an inflatable mattress and pump, a couple of towels, some propane, a memory foam pillow, some sheets … (I like to be comfortable in the wilderness.)
Park Road 4 is a nice hilly road and when I got back to the park, I decided to do my second hike. It took 4 1/2 hours to hike roughly 5 1/2 miles. I started off turning west instead of east as you can see on the map below. In my defense, I don’t think that set of trails are as clearly marked or easy to follow as they are later on. (You’ll see all the pictures when you follow the link. It was a great test of my new hiking shoes and backpack. I got a good gauge of how much water I drink (not much) and at what speed I hike. I will do future planning at 1 mile an hour. (The whole trip was to try out the shoes, backpack, tent, new camera, etc.)
That evening, around 5 or 6, a BIG storm blew in – high wind and hail. Luckily, I had staked down the front flap of my tent to make a little privacy porch. That kept the tent from being blown over and possibly away. As it was, the tent was pushed almost flat on a couple of occasions.
That little storm passed over, but it was still a bit windy. I started a fire, threw some Spam in a skillet, and started cooking dinner. But before it was ready, the wind picked up. I had just enough time to pack up the Spam and get in the tent before the rains came again.
And the temperature dropped.
As you may recall, my sleeping bag was tucked away in my car and if I unzipped my tent, rain, leaves, and more cold air would have blown in. So I huddled up as best I could on my slowly deflating air mattress (The release valve was not securely tightened.) with my new sheets and memory foam pillow. At 8:00 the next morning, it was 45 degrees and quite windy. If you told me it got into the 30s during the night, I’d believe you.
Saturday meant packing everything up for the journey to Magnolia for a wedding, but first I went to Longhorn Cavern. I like to stay at the end of the pack when on tours and I was behind a young couple who had three kids – a baby, a boy who was 4 or 5, and a girl who was just a year or so older. They told me I could go ahead of them if they were too slow, but I said I was pretty slow myself. I then told them that when my parents were their age, they would take all of us kids on adventures just like this. The tour through the cave is 1.25 miles long and the little boy was getting real tired at the end.
(I didn’t take the picture below, but here are the pictures I did take. I need to cull through these.)