There were still a few ghosts of color on the lost maples to let your imagination visualize how beautiful it was here just a month or so ago.
A scenic road that snakes up and over and around the mountains.
We passed ranches like Siesta Valley Ranch that let you know you are "Deep in the Heart of Texas."
And a small herd of Bison.
More views of Siesta Valley Ranch...
There are other ranches that have tall fences enclosing pronghorn antelope, deer and exotic game.
I'm assuming they are associated with private hunt clubs. Feel sorry for the animals.
Those are two coyotes hanging from the fenceposts. I'm guessing they were guilty of attacking livestock.
Crossing the Sabinal River.
I was sorry that Diana was not able to make it, but it meant that Birdie was persuaded to take the 6 mile hike with me. We hiked the East Trail.
This part of the trail is rated "easy."
Western Scrub Jay
The trail continues easy for a ways.
But eventually it takes us to the top of that ridge.
Passing a primitive camping area next to a pond.
Some youth group must have made the tiles on this bench.
I like this one.
How nice, a composting outhouse, before we start the climb.
This part of the trail is rated "challenging."
Steep and rugged, with ankle-twisting rocks.
Birdie is such a good sport.
Nope...there's a switchback.
Interesting patterns in the rock....fossils or forces of water?
A little color.
Made it to the top!
The view from there. We can see the pond we passed down there.
We walked about a half mile along the level ridge, and then we started down the other side...more rock scree.
At last we reached the bottom.
And came to a cool area known as the Grotto.
Water dripping here supports the growth of maidenhair ferns and other plants.
Another water crossing.
A side trail brought us past this fungus and oak leaf arrangement.
The side trail led to this unique limestone outcrop fondly nicknamed, "monkey rock."
We were overtaken by two wolves taking this man for a run. Beautiful animals he said he got in Alaska. Glad Thistle didn't come.
Near the end of the hike.
It wasn't all about the hike. I know you won't believe it, but Birdie kidnapped me and took me here and forced me to eat an apple turnover. Good thing we did the hike.
Now I've left Birdie and other friends behind and am making my way farther west.