Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pedernales Camping Weekend

Friday after work, we went straight out to Pedernales Falls State Park. We knew it would be close to dark by the time we got to the primitive camping area since it's a 2.5 mile walk from the parking area. We got in, chose a spot and got the tent up just as it was getting dark.
Our tent and packs are orange because I rented them from the UT outdoor center. I wonder if the A&M outdoor center rents all maroon stuff?
We planned the camping trip as our 5 year anniversary trip. We weren't going to get each other gifts because the trip was really our gift to each other. I have been saying for at least a couple of years that I need a "fake" wedding ring to wear when I do stuff like swimming, bike riding, camping, triathlons and anything else where my real ring would be likely to get messed up or lost.
Jeff surprised me by getting me a sterling silver "fake wedding ring" for our anniversary. I wore it the rest of the weekend, since camping and hiking out there definitely qualifies as a time my real ring would be likely to get messed up or lost.

We didn't have time to hike Friday night, but we got up Saturday morning and found a place to hike down the bluffs to the river. The primitive camping area is high above the river so it won't flood, in most places there are cliffs that go 80+ feet straight down to the valley, but in a few places you can hike down into the valley and over to the river.

Pedernales River, south of the falls. Looks pretty peaceful here.
Jeff by some maidenhair ferns growing on a cliff.
The river was pretty calm when we were there, but there was evidence everywhere of flooding and fast moving water. Jeff was impressed that these big bald cypress trees had been pushed over by water at some point.
We hiked back out to the car and drove over to the Pedernales Falls area, it was raining by this time and pretty much rained all day Saturday. Good thing we brought the underwater housing for the camera!
Jeff told me to put my arms up so it would look like I am holding the big rock behind me. It was also getting windy and a little cold, but we walked and climbed around on the rocks at the falls anyway, the rocks were really slick from the rain.
Jeff found a landmark everywhere we went so we could find our trails back, specific rocks, plants, piles of rocks, etc. This broken piece of prickly pear marked our trail to climb back up the cliffs where we got down to the river.
When I was cold and Jeff was tired of being in the rain, we went into Johnson City. We found this shop with beef jerky, candy, jams, and all kinds of other stuff. As soon as we walked in the lady at the counter told us to check out the tasting table- we weren't going to argue. Some guy came in a little later just to buy some jerky and she told him she wouldn't sell it to him until he had tasted it! Too funny!
We found a little cafe for lunch, the food was pretty good, but the best part was the cinammon ice cream for dessert. Jeff loves cinammon.
At this point, the rain had slowed to just a mist, so we hiked down to the swimmng area.
Jeff figured out how to work the timer on our camera
I waded in the water
and Jeff took pictures of the beautiful river
Around 5 we hiked back into the camping area. It was still early, so after we made sure the tent was reasonably dry, we hiked around for a couple of hours. We found some way better campsites than the one we chose. Some of them were right at the edge of the cliffs and far enough out that no one really goes there.
We found a geocache, it was the biggest one we've found, in a huge ammo box.
We sat on the edge of the cliffs, it was a LONG way down and we tried and tried to take pictures that show how far it really is, but it never worked.
The view from the cliffs was great.
Jeff even tried to throw rocks down to the valley and then take pictures to try to show how far down it was, but it didn't work.
The clouds looked pretty ominous and we decided we should get back near the campsite before it really started raining again.

We liked hanging out on the cliffs so much that we decided to have dinner on a cliff near the tent. Dinner was MREs that Jeff got at an Army surplus store. I was not too excited about them, I assumed everything in there would taste like cardboard or worse.
Jeff put the "chicken fajita" into the heating unit. While we waited for that to heat up, we ate some crackers that did taste like salty cardboard and peanut butter, which didn't taste like cardboard, but didn't taste like peanut butter either.
The warm chicken fajita stuff

The "cheese" for the fajitas was salty cheese whizish stuff. That's me squeezing cheese onto my tortilla.
First taste of MRE chicken fajita, I'm obviously not too excited about it, but it wasn't bad. After a couple of bites Jeff found the "fajita seasoning packet" and we added some of that, then it actually tasted kinda like fajitas, we decided the seasoning packet was the essence of that entire meal.
Jeff drinking MRE cappucino beverage.
After dinner we hiked around some more with our flashlights, we hiked up a mountain to a viewing platform, you could see forever from up there! While we were up there the sky started to clear a little and we could see a few stars come out. A few minutes later the sky was full of stars! We walked back to our dinner cliff to watch the stars a little more, but the clouds were already rolling back in, so the stars were diappearing fast. You could only see the stars for about 20 minutes, so we were lucky to see them. I'm pretty sure we walked and hiked at least 10 miles on Saturday, maybe more, so we slept pretty well considering we were camping.
We hiked out to the truck Sunday morning. and found a couple of geocaches on the way
We went back to Pedernales Falls to hike and climb on the rocks since it wasn't raining.
Some of the rocks are huge!
climbing up on top of a really big rock
made it! look at the cool cliffs!
and waterfalls! The waterfalls were so loud we couldn't hear each other talk at all.
It's amazing how much different the river looks here than down by the camping and swimming areas.
Pretty bald cypress trees

Jeff by some cool bald cypress trees
We found this little lizard
We had so much fun and can't wait to do it again! Jeff says he might want to go back for his birthday in June.


Richard said...

I wouldn't think "camping" when I think of an anniversary trip, but it sounds like you two had a great time. Just reading your report makes me want to go there.

MRE's have come a long way over the last 20-some years, not to mention how they were in years before that. Fortunately for you, I think the Chicken Fajita MRE is one of the better ones.

Happy Anniversary!!

Ingrid said...

Congrats on your new fake (but not really fake) wedding ring and your anniversary! The blog is wonderful. The pictures of the ferns, trees, rocks, river and waterfalls are fantastic as always. You guys were constantly on the move! Can I come crash Jeff's b-day camp-out????

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Loved the pictures.

Beautiful country.