Every time we drove by those cliffs overlooking the Colorado, Daddy would say “I’d like to climb those someday. I wonder what’s up there.” The cliffs towered above the river, a couple of hundred feet at least, disappearing downstream at a bend in the river.
I was always ambivalent. I was very scared of snakes growing up and the thought of tromping through brush and trees in the Texas Hill country filled me with trepidation. I kept up a steady stream of excuses for a decade.
Alone, I parked the car at the bootleg trail head at the base of the cliffs, shouldered my pack, and started climbing the eroded sandstone. Although it had rained heavily, the ground was still cracked dry like a desert. I soon came to the vista overlooking the bridge and the river below. A trail snaked off from the viewpoint following the curve of the cliffs.
I passed a trail runner and another walker which quelled my fear of snakes. Dragonflies darted around my ankles and wildflowers bloomed in the wild grass besides the trail. I saw three different kinds of butterflies. I passed through a hole in the fence and a private property sign and kept going past rusty barbed wire wrapped around an old tree. Looks like we’re at the river bend now Dad. Can’t see any buildings from here, just the river, and the trees along the banks. It feels like old Texas.
This would have been a good vestibular workout Dad, trying to stay balanced on a steep slope. Blow downs litter the trail…no one has been on this section for a while. Can’t hear the traffic noise anymore. Look there’s the river. Wow, that cliff must be a straight drop down. Let’s take this side trail down to the wash.
That was a pretty nice walk Dad. It really felt like we walked back in time. We should have come up here sooner.
In loving memory of my Dad
Gerhard Werner, 1921-2012