I’ll be the first one to admit living in the 4th largest city in the country opens doors to incredible opportunities and breath-taking experiences. Houston, Texas is amazing in many ways and it’s fast city night life leaves you begging for the sun to stay low. However, every now and then, one must detox. You can’t put up with people’s shit with only 25% of energy and expect to be a productive member of society, it doesn’t work like that. Our primal instincts beg for nature’s embrace. It silently sits in your soul only exploding in awe once consumed by it’s beauty.
Working 9-5 can be a pain in the ass. After the first few months into the routine, your mind is hooked on the mundane aspects of being alive and your being gets drained. It’s like they say, “if you don’t use it, you loose it”. It is such a wonderful and unique feeling to get lost in the little moments, in the simplest details of life on Earth. The trees, the sounds of the forest, the birds’ beautiful melody, it’s a mystical and magical event, incomparable to another. Pedernales Falls State Park located West of Austin in Johnson City, Texas provided shelter for me this weekend and helped me recharge my low battery. While I reconnected with a something so far above me, something so immense and spiritual, I was left speechless with the only purpose of admiring its endless and effortless landscape.
It can be so difficult to get out of the city sometimes because our mentality is programmed to adapt to such circumstances. Difficult yes, but not impossible. Driving to Pedernales from Houston was the escape I needed bad and it was like entering a foreign land I somehow knew and was eager to rediscover. The scenery surrounding the trip to the park was the meditation my eyes craved all along and it was easier to let go of the life behind me without hesitation. Getting out of your mind is where it gets tricky. You must mentally unwind to be able to appreciate something bigger than yourself, to embrace its simplicity and get lost within. Once at Pedernales, your mind is blown and your body knows exactly what to do, start exploring.
You have two options, for beginners, such as me, they have a campsite area where water is provided as well as electricity. Each spot is numbered with a designated parking spot where you have easy access to your car from your tent or RV. This is your only convenient option if you are bringing your fur-child along. If you’re traveling without your pet and have more experience hiking, the primitive campsite (an amazing alternative where, in basic words, survival of the fittest comes to play LOL, IJK) is the second option, here, you basically fend for your own and are left with a more raw experience. Your GPS should immediately lead you to the front desk where you have to pay for the parking and entrance fee ($20 + $6/ ea. person) and where you will receive a trail map.
My biggest tip here is, RESERVE ONLINE. Driving up to the building and seeing a huge sign saying the place was basically full and no spots left nearly gave me a heart attack! Save yourself the horrible feeling and book online, seriously!
The ride up the hill to the campsite is mesmerizing. Nature was really feeling herself when creating such wonderful place. Trees and hill country all for your enjoyment. We were assigned spot 17, AKA my new home. Being only a 5 minute walk to the trail leading to the river made this spot a paradise. As soon as my tent was set up, my curiosity of Pedernales grew and I knew it was time to start the journey. Walking towards the trail is pretty simple, follow the map (bring comfortable tennis shoes with a good grip!). The trail automatically leads you through a hike, just remember to watch your step and soak in all the old magic from this incredible piece of art. The view from this hike will make you hope you never leave, but I promise you, there’s many more surprises.
At the end of your hike, the alluring prize awaits, the breath-taking magnificent Pedernales River whose pictures do it no justice at all. I’m telling you, Pedernales has to be one of the most wonderful places I have ever visited, you won’t believe you’re still in Texas. As you approach the river, both your soul and the river’s become one. You can’t stop smiling and the side effects only get better. Please feel free to step in to the huge rock nature placed as a passage to the rest of the trail or just let loose! It’s so easy to get lost in this epitome of heaven. Your life seems so small in comparison to the land you’re discovering and your problems are so far, they stay there. All positive vibes.
A new world opens up and you can either splash in the fresh spring waters of Pedernales like a child with a new toy or hike up the hill across and walk the 4 mile trail. The view is incredible, it won’t matter what you do. You’re home.
**** A little side story: On my way to Pedernales, as I mentioned above, the landscape was phenomenal. I don’t know if it was just the incredible view or the music I was vibing to get in my zone, but I definitely experienced something amazing, something so spiritual I can’t quite put into words. I was lost in the sounds, lost in the world presented to me. The music was spiritual itself giving praises to the universe and the king of all galaxies when a billboard appeared before me saying “No Hungry Kid”. –Now, this is something really personal and I’m ashamed to say but it really hurts my pride: I knew we were pushing it by taking this trip. Money was tight so we were definitely better off staying home. Something deep inside me opened my mind and I knew instantly, life is about enjoying the simple things and what is money when you can’t enjoy it with the people you love and learn some awesome things in the meantime… — So I looked up at the billboard in the mist of all my emotions, googled the words and I immediately knew my purpose. I will give back to the world the little I have because someone out there needs it more than me. I am so blessed to be able to eat at least twice a day and I am rotten spoiled by my family and friends with endless love and support. I couldn’t imagine my life without the people that help me everyday, I wanted to be that support system for someone who isn’t as lucky as me. Lucky because I’m nothing better, I am nothing and I am everything, we are one. We have here to embrace the love and reflect it.
-Bring plenty of water, you will need it especially if you’re spending your day hiking and if you’re bringing your pet.
-If you’re bringing a cooler to store food instead of eating out, make sure you go to the grocery store outside of Johnson City because they ain’t got shit in there LOL, you will be driving forever trying to look for something.
-Bring some sort of cushion/ mattress for the tent’s floor or you will wake up with immense pain depending on how you sleep.
-Make sure you bring a thick blanket and a sweater, nights do get chilly, remember, you’re on top of a hill!
-Bring a flashlight, if you’re anything like me, you will be going back and forth to your car because you forgot something LOL, and it gets pretty dark (if you’re lucky)
-Last but not least, if you’re staying overnight at the park, DO NOT BRING YOUR ELECTRONICS, YOU DON’T NEED THEM, IF YOU DO, YOU’RE IN THE WRONG PLACE AND HERE’S THE LINK TO THE NEAREST HOTEL WHERE YOU CAN ENJOY YOUR BIG BANG THEORY (THAT’S WHAT THE GUY DIRECTLY ACROSS WAS WATCHING -SIGH-), PLEASE MAKE SURE ALL LIGHTS BELONGING ARE OFF — SOME OF US ARE STARGAZING AND IT WORKS BETTER WHEN IT’S SOLID DARK OUTSIDE! — THIS HONESTLY APPLIES TO THOSE BRINGING RVs! — I’m not sure if these are park rules, but they should be, it’s extremely rude!
Ares didn’t know whether to be excited or be excited
In my zone
He was still trying to get comfortable enough to come in on his own
When I was forced to finally get out of the water