Friday, April 20, 2012

Hiking South Llano River State Park

We had scheduled Tuesday, April 10, for a long hike at South Llano River State Park, about 3 or 4 miles south of Junction on US 377. We used to camp here in our folding trailer about 20 years ago when our daughter was in junior high. We spent many a summer day in the cool, clear, spring-fed waters of the South Llano River, floating down the river from the low-water crossing to a take out point farther downstream. Deer and turkey are prevalent throughout the park; in fact, a section along the river is "one of the most substantial and oldest winter turkey roosts in the central portion of the state". [TPWD website] From October to March, this area of the park is closed to visitors so the turkeys will not be disturbed.

The southern part of the park is actually the Walter Buck Wildlife Management Area. It is closed periodically throughout the year as public hunts are conducted. This section of the park consists of over 2100 acres, and most of the trails are contained in this area.

As luck would have it. a public hunt was underway the day we showed up, so we were unable to hike the southern portion of the park, which was our plan. Instead, we had to content ourselves to hike the area along the river. This section of the park has just over 500 acres, so hiking is limited. We ended up only hiking about 4 miles in all.

The park was lush after the wet winter and recent rains, so everything looked healthy. We were surprised by how much the park has changed over the years. For example, we were unable to locate the spot where we would take out after floating the river.

Below are some pictures we snapped during our short hike. Hopefully, we will return soon and hike the southern portion of the park.

The South Llano River, looking west.
Native pecans along the river, where the turkeys roost and feed
Bird blind just north of the campground

Buck Lake, north of the campground

Low-water crossing at park entrance. We used to put in on the other side of the bridge, then shoot under the bridge and down the river for a leisurely float. Good times!

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