March 28 – April 1, 2013

by Redhorse


Misty Valdez, Delford Daniels, Ronnie Wright, Patrick Murphy, Clay, Scott & this writer converged on the Hill Country State Natural Area at Bandera, TX for a long weekend of trailriding.  About half of us had never been to this hidden mule oasis before!  A lot of the trails are fine for horses, and some are better suited for mules and mountain goats. 

   The campsites at the Trailhead are nice and spread out around a “community” round pen. The mules and horses rotated through there for some good rolls after a challenging day on the trails and some Delford clinics. A “water buffalo” tank is kept full of horse water by the park staff and bathroom facilities are centrally located.

   For those of you that enjoy scenery, but not white knuckles, take the truck route (173) from Kerrville to Bandera (the former Logistics coordinator highly recommends it).

   We had supper at the Chikn Coop on Thursday and kept our night life in Bandera to Scott running the pool table on Delford and Ronnie.

   The weather, the whole weekend, couldn’t have been better. It was a little misty early one morning, but by the time we rode out it was overcast with gentle breezes; perfect riding weather. Like most of Texas, they could seriously use some rains in that country.

We had plenty of good food; ham, lasagna, 3” pork chops, enchiladas, burrito & cowboy breakfasts and Misty’s triple-layer lemon pie. In dire need of nourishment, after exploring the Cougar Canyon from every angle possible, we happened upon Doug from Floresville at the Group Lodge.  Shamelessly, this writer grabbed a gloveful of strawberries when offered one. (I did allow Misty 3 samples). Everybody knows that sustenance was a cut-throat way of life when they were moving west!

   The terrain is exactly like the name implies; NATURAL.  The 4-6 foot drop-offs have only been slightly modified and the recommended riding position for many is with the back of your head against the crupper on your mule. Do not be surprised if you discover assorted debris in your under garments after a day on the trails. Hats seem to take a lot of abuse when trail blazing; Delford’s is completely vented on top; held together by a turkey feather.

   Not being exactly over whelmed that we own jumping mules, Misty and I had to halter our mules at 4:00 A.M. one morning. According to a nearby camper, it was a coyote’s presence that made them jump and climb out of their 5’ pens, in unison. Misty witnessed the Olympic event. Both mules left a lot of fur on the pens. They welcomed standing tied to our rigs till daylight.

   To the owner of Stitch (named for obvious reasons), you have one hell of a horse!  Patrick Murphy put that horse through an obstacle course that the Marines would probably ban. I have no doubt that this horse is going to LOVE his job as a feed lot employee! ANYTHING will be better than what he’s good at now. Stitch hung in there even when our mules tried to put their hoof prints on him!

   TETRA was having a benefit ride at the Chapas Camp during the weekend. They took in $464 from their auction for SNAP (State Natural Area Partners).

   The HCSNA offers a variety of camping and great trails. Naturally, Bandera offers everything else!  We’ll make that trip again and try to fit in some time for shopping in Bandera.






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