The day began at 7:30am, a very early Monday morning rise on the 26th of January as I exited my car after arriving at McKinney Falls State Park. The temperature was just cold enough for me to be able to see my breath as I began my exploration. I walked to the nearest hiking trail and just walked–no map, no guide, and no one telling me where to go. I followed the trail for approximately half a mile or so. The sound of the roaring water got louder and louder as I approached the powerful waterfall.
There must have been a buildup of rain because the water was overflowing the hiking trail. I could not continue hiking because I would have to jump from rock to rock to get to the other side. Although one part of me wanted to take that risk, I knew that because I was by myself that it wouldn’t have been the greatest of ideas so I stopped and took in the beautiful scenery. The water roared so loudly as it fell from above into the pool below. The water was letting out a fog because of the cold air and the sun came in at just the right angle to make the fog shimmer and glisten.
At this point in time, I decided that it would be best if I made my way to the upper falls about a mile or so from my current location. As I walked from the lower falls to the upper falls, I came across two Odocoileus virginianus (white-tailed deer). They were eating grass in the children’s playground. They seemed to be pretty docile because I was able to get fairly close to them before they decided to slowly turn around. They meandered through the playground as if it were nature itself. These white-tailed deer seemed to find human technologies quite commonplace. This makes me afraid for their future. Even going out into the environment to try to enjoy nature it seems impossible to stay away from technologies of all sorts. After pondering about this, I made it to the next location.
The water was much stronger here. I’m not quite sure how fast it was moving, but I am sure that it could have taken me very far downstream if I were to fall in. It was such a sight, I just felt like sitting down and taking it all in. The sun slowly came over the horizon of the tree line as I relaxed on my cold, rocky surface. The burdens that I had to face in the upcoming week seemed trivial as I watched nature take its course in front of me. As I watched the water disappear and rejuvenate, I thought about how completely encompassing the environment is. I don’t have to escape my life and venture to find nature, nature is and forever will be outside my doorstep.
“Our ability to perceive quality in nature, begins, as in art, with the pretty” (102).
With this quote from Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, I conclude my first blog entry with the hopes of visiting many more beautiful quality nature places.