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Short Hike – Bird Refuge, Doeskin Ranch

Click for larger pictures.

There’s a few areas in Austin designated as the Balcones National Wildlife Refuge. The area isn’t necessarily completely connected. We’ve hiked on some of it before, but not all of it is open to hikers. Some of it is reserved entirely for birds and whathaveyou during breeding times. I’m all for preservation, but I do believe these places have to allow hikers and people. How else will anyone learn to appreciate nature?

Anyway, we went to hike one of the areas known as Doeskin Ranch. We’ve been before. It’s not all that large and this time we didn’t see much wildlife–not a single deer or even a rabbit. I think we saw a total of two birds and one was while we were driving! It’s a nice hike with some trees and a lot of open spaces. It used to be a cattle ranch. Before that, looong before that, settlers used to harvest the trees and grow cotton.

There’s still an old house that has been restored near one of the creeks. As houses go, it’s not plush. It’s one room for however many people had to squeeze in. Note that it has a lot of gaps. Built-in air conditioning, but that’s okay because there were no windows.

We used to have something similar out on our ranch in NM that my grandfather built when he was young, but all that was left by the time I was a teenager was an old metal bed frame. There was no restoration going on for Grandfather’s cabin, but you could still see a few of the cut tree planks scattered around. There was bits of wire that possibly held some of the wood together. Down one of the ranch roads just a few feet from it, an old tub was perched against some rocks as though a huge explosion had just delivered it to the middle of nowhere. I am not sure the tub had anything to do with the one room house. I think it was hauled out there to hold water or feed the cows.

I took a few pictures from the Doeskin Ranch hike to share with you. We walked about four miles total, maybe a little less. It wasn’t very strenuous other than near the top of the one ridge. Still, even that wasn’t more than a few feet, so we were able to haul ourselves up quite handily. I walked in regular sneakers; my hiking boots are at the ranch!

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Posted: October 12, 2017
Filed in Texas, Walks in Life


  1. Very cool! Love the cabin. I’ve been very interested in “tiny houses” lately. I do need my a/c, though.

    Comment by Margaret Lake — October 12, 2017 @ 10:21 pm

  2. Margaret, from what you’ve told me, I don’t think you’d fit into a tiny house. Maybe ONE of your decoration collections would fit… 🙂

    Comment by Maria — October 13, 2017 @ 7:58 am

  3. Oh, well, when you put it that way …

    But I can dream, can’t I?

    Comment by Margaret Lake — October 13, 2017 @ 11:54 am

  4. Great photos, how lucky you are to have such a lovely place to hike. The cabin is so cute hit sure has stood the test of time.Thanks for sharing

    Comment by tibet — October 13, 2017 @ 3:57 pm

  5. Looks like a great place for a couple of hunters to hole up for the weekend – any hunting out there?
    Or, this could be a place of shelter if someone is caught in a storm out there.

    Comment by MaryJo Dawson — October 14, 2017 @ 10:44 am

  6. Since it is a refuge, I doubt any hunting is allowed, although I didn’t see any signs (I also wasn’t looking for them). We didn’t try the door to see if it would open. There was a wild bird event out there this weekend (where they show off birds of prey).

    Comment by Maria — October 14, 2017 @ 11:04 am

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