Trip Report – Garner State Park

I woke up around 9:30 this morning.  It was another dreary overcast day but the forecast was for blue sky and warm temperatures.   It was a last-minute decision but I packed some supplies and hit the road for Garner State Park which is about 88 miles from San Antonio.

I stopped in Hondo for a nosh at Pizza Hut.  After lunch the clouds disappeared and a beautiful sunny day began.

After arriving I drove through the camping areas just to see what they look like.  Pretty basic and nondescript but perhaps a good place to spend an evening camping out one day.  I found a nice shady spot to park the car near the river and after applying sunscreen, I went for a walk up the river.  The water is generally only knee-deep at maximum so walking in th water is no problem.  There were a few nice spots that got as deep as four feet and I enjoyed a nice swim among the rocks and waterfalls.  I was probably there for over an hour enjoying the solitude and the sound of the babbling water.

I didn’t mention that since today is a workday and a school day that I virtually had the park to myself.  In place of the seething masses was just a few people enjoying the park as it was meant to be.  You do NOT want to be there in the summer.  Tried that once.  Sucked!

When I got back to my car, I consulted the park map and decided to try one of the hiking trails which began right nearby.   Wearing only my short swim trunks and walking shoes I set off for the trail.   A friend and I tried this trail once before but he couldn’t handle the slope that seemed to continued endlessly up the side of a mountain.  This time I was on my own and had nobody to hold me back.  I had to rest a number of times as my heart felt like it was going to pound a hole in my chest but eventually I made it to the top.  The trail is called “Bridge Trail” or something.  I didn’t see any bridges.

The view from the top of the hill was spectacular.   At a clearing marked “Painted Rock” you could see for miles across the beautiful green valley.  I didn’t see any painted rocks so I don’t know what that was about but that didn’t matter.  Looking out across the valley and hills in the distance I saw a few nice houses all alone amongst the sea of green.  These people are sure lucky to live in such a nice area.

It’s good to be rich!

After enjoying the view for as long as my eyes could handle it I started down the trail.  The next stop was a cave. I didn’t even know there was a cave here.  Crystal Cave is a nasty looking hole in the rock that looks like it has seen more than it’s share of visitors.  All around the opening were dates and names of people who had been there.  Who carries markers with them when they go hiking?  While pondering the question and eventually giving up I wished I had brought a flashlight.  I went as far as I could go into the dank smelling abyss.  I could hear water dripping in the silence.  Next time I’ll be ready for some spelunking.  I don’t know how far it goes but considering it is open to the public and unguarded I would guess it is not very deep.

The next piece of the trail headed down the hillside.  Going down is much easier than going up.  I recommend going up first then down.  🙂   A few times I stopped to listen to the silence.  I love silence.  It is something you don’t get to experience very often in the city.  The deafening quiet was broken only by bees flying from flower to flower.  Nice!  I didn’t see one other person on the whole trail. Wonderful!

When I got back to the river I soaked my aching feet in the water for a few minutes then returned to the car for the trip home.

I had a great time today.  Getting away is something that I need to do more often.  Too bad Texas is so bloody hot and crowded all summer.  I just have to learn to hibernate during the summer and make plans for cooler weather.

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