Date: January 20, 2018
Location: McKinney Falls State Park - Austin, TX
Distance: 7.4 miles
Trails: Homestead, Flint Rock Loop, Williamson Creek Overlook
It was a Saturday morning out of town and I was determined to go hiking. I got my car out of the hotel parking garage and drove to the state park before 8 am after being out all night before - it was a slow start. I got to the trailhead parking, wandered down to the lower McKinney Falls and tried to figure out a way to cross the river. The three trails I chose require a river crossing, though it wasn't well marked, I chose a spot just above the falls. I started out, but ended up in ankle deep water and wet feet. I had my wool socks and it was over 50 degrees, so I just carried on knowing I'd likely be a little squishy.
The trails were well marked, but seemed a little off in distance. My tracking was a little higher than posted trail mileage, despite appearing to be accurate. I realized on the Flint Rock Loop seemed about a half mile short, but I could be wrong. Either way, I had extra distance by wandering along the river a bit too, so who knows. The weather was gray and mild, but there was some rain the night before that made the trails muddy. My feet were already heavy due to being wet, but add the sticky mud and it made it feel like I had bricks strapped to the bottom. I persevered, eventually reaching that reflective, head clearing state of mind that I enjoy so much.
Things to be aware of:
- This park is surrounded by industrial areas and busy roads, so outside noises are prevalent on the trails.
- You will get wet crossing the river, so plan ahead for that
- It's very close to Austin, so it can be reached by a ride share if you don't have a car available
What I learned
- I can hike with wet feet for at least 7 miles and it's all good, if it's not cold
- My need for quiet is becoming the main focus so I'm going to find some parks a little further away from main roads or bustling cities - SOON.
- Crossing a river will clean off of the mud from a long hike
All in all, it was a nice hike and it was a great way to clear my head after a cloudy night. Happy trails!