My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Beautiful Pedernales Falls State Park

I think the Medina River is the prettiest river I've paddled, but the Pedernales River is the most beautiful to see from land.  Paddling is not even allowed on portions of it and I have never paddled any of it. But I crave the views of the river as it runs through the Pedernales River State Park, so this was on my list of places to visit with my friend.

Monday, I left my daughter's house in time to get to the park just after sunrise.  The day was still cloudy after big storms came through a few hours earlier but the sun was fighting to regain the field.  I had to grab my camera and run to the overlook by the ranger station to catch  the beautiful light through a few holes in the cloud illuminating the fog lining the river.

Then I stopped at the bird blinds - there are now two of them across from a beautiful garden of native plants.  But the birds were scarce and the light was getting better so I headed on down to the big falls.

Getting to the falls is part of the beauty.  You walk through a tunnel of cedar trees to an overlook and then down steps to the rocks.  After that  you have to zig- zag across the granite to make it around crevices and little pools. But you have an ever changing view of the river as it wends its way through granite.

Fog on the river

The beginning of the trail to the scenic part of the river

View from the overlook

Rocks on the other side of the river

The rocks are etched even 100 feet above the river

Some of the solid granite

One set of falls

The river has carved its way through solid rock

Rocks, river and cypress

Wildflowers and rocks

After I walked most of the possible way along the falls area, I went to the campground and checked out the nature trail, looking for golden-cheeked warblers.  I didn't hear or see any but did find another waterfall - one I had never visited. That trail makes a loop down to the river and back up.  The last leg was steeper and went through some rock falls.

A set of falls on a side stream

One of the steeper trails  - not the turn at the top - white arrow

Finally, I went to the swimming area and took the one hundred steps down to the beach.  This brought back fond memories of bringing my grandson here for the day. He carried his sand toys in a bag and I carried a tarp/poles, a sleeping pad, towels, water, lunch and snacks, and my hammock.  We would swim and play in the sand and then he would take a nap before we went home.  I would set up my hammock between the cypress right along the river and read.

This area had the most wildflowers I've seen here.  The cool, wet spring is definitely making everything grow. The pollinators were all busy collecting neter and pollen.  And the warm days had lots of lizards out and about.

A cabbage butterfly enjoying the flowers

Bees were gathering pollen and nectar

This lizard looked like he was wearing a sweater

Pedernales River at the swimming area

Underwater rocks - my grandson and I loved this spot

A damselfly

Another pollinator

The beginning of the hundred steps back up to the parking lot