Trying not to waste my vacation days that I am using up at the end of the year, I went hiking out at Colorado Bend State Park (Texas) on Wednesday. There were some trails out there that I had not been on and I also had an idea about sunset.
The park was actually quite crowded and I had to wait in a long line at the park head quarters to sign in. But where I hiked, I only saw a couple of other people. I went up the Windmill Trail which you can find on the map below and then came back on the Lively Loop trail. I had never been up this way and wanted to check it out.
The Windmill Trail leads to an old windmill and water tank as well as a primitive hike-in camping area. The trail is mostly level and an easy hike. The abandoned windmill structure mostly remains standing next to a large concrete water tank. These sorts of things dot the landscape around here and you can’t drive out in the country without seeing dozens of them off in the pastures.
Below is a close up of the windmill blade assembly as it lies on the ground as I thought it interesting.
The Windmill Trail is mostly a hike through the long grasses and trees and gave me ideas for the future. I do have a strange obsession with the long golden grasses that I find while hiking and a desire to photograph them on windy days. But there was no real wind on this day so I took a few snaps with my phone and kept hiking.
My main plans for the afternoon had to do with the high clouds you can see in the photo above. At sunset I planned to shoot down the Colorado River from near the day-use area as the sunset would be straight down the river and canyon from this perspective. See the image below from Photopills showing my position with the pin and the red-orange line pointing at sunset.
My plan was to wade out in the river a little as it is usually shallow and I figured I could go quite a distance before it got up to my knees based on previous experience. But this part of the river actually drops quite sharply down from the bank and I couldn’t really get more than a few feet out before it got too deep to keep my shorts dry. So, not having a swim suit and having little desire to be in the river in late December anyway, I tried to make the best of shooting from the bank.
As you can see from the image above, if I was to have the river pointing toward the setting sun, I was going to be shooting through trees along the river bank. I sure would like to have been out in the center of the river, but upstream where it is shallower the river doesn’t face the sunset. Perhaps I need chest waders.
The sun went down and the clouds stayed gray, but I waited and watched. Eventually by about 10 minutes after sunset the entire sky turned orange. I shot my photos and enjoyed the wonderful colors. I tried to keep the mud and grass on the right hidden in the shadows.
The picture is OK, but not really what I had imagined. But at least I had a good hike. The light in the sky persisted late into the evening and I enjoyed it while driving back as well.