Told by Kuma & Written by Lorraine Bossé-Smith
Boy, Texas is a big state! We drove in a completely different direction one weekend, toward the Austin area, and found many more great things to do. Unfortunately, the Bastrop State Park got burned in a fire a couple of years ago, so we opted for McKinney Falls State Park, just southeast of Austin off Interstate 183, with 725 acres of trails, waterfalls, rock shelters and pioneer ruins. The park is home to over 225 species of birds, including the Greater Roadrunner, one of my mom’s favorites. We didn’t see any animals, but the park is full of fox squirrel, raccoon, skunk, bobcat, frogs and opossum. My family finally wised up and got a Texas State Park Pass, which means they can get into all parks. Wooowho! Otherwise, the fee is $6 per human; doggies are free and welcome!
On our way to the park, I spotted a squirrel. Not just ANY squirrel — I mean an enormous one, the size of a building! No kidding. I knew I was going to catch me a squirrel one day, and I did! Man, everything really is bigger here in Texas!
What was I saying? Oh yeah … we took the Homestead Trail to see the ruins of the McKinney Homestead. The homestead remnants, preserved by the park, were built in the 1850s by racehorse breeder Thomas McKinney, who was one of Stephen F. Austin’s original 300 colonists. This three-mile loop kicked my butt in the heat. Even with cloud cover and breezes, the temps rose. Thankfully, my humans brought plenty of water for me to lap up. Be careful canine friends!
The trail begins and ends at the lower McKinney Falls and winds its way through some pretty forest. The rock colors are unique and colorful. Some shade is available, but this was much more like a desert than I expected for Texas. But what do I know? I’m a Shiba Inu from Colorado! Anyway, the homestead is near the end of the loop and includes a horse trainer cabin. I didn’t see any horses, though.
Onion Creek runs through the area and is a great swimming hole for humans. Not sure why dogs aren’t allowed in the swimming holes, but my humans found me some water to drink and cool off in that wasn’t restricted. Whew! Cooling off my paws never felt so good.
After our hike, my family was hot, too. We drove over to the upper McKinney Falls where a bunch of humans were swimming. My daddy jumped right in! My mom and I enjoyed the shade and sat on some rocks. Before long, people were petting me and adoring me. I seem to attract them, what can I say?
After our adventure, my humans took me to a real restaurant off the Colorado River called Bastrop Brewery. Wow! They brought me water, and I got to eat with my fam. Way cool! Their burgers are tasty, and their service was fantastic. We stayed at the Comfort Suites right in Bastrop (dog friendly, free breakfast and clean), so it was real close by. Bastrop Brewery is off the 71, loop 150 North. Tell them Kuma sent you!
Kumaito (Kuma for short) is a multi-tan Shiba Inu, an ancient breed from Japan, who moved from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to Friendswood, Texas. He enjoys running almost every day with his mom, chasing squirrels out of his yard, playing with toys, pestering his brother Edmond, eating, napping … well, Kuma loves about everything and everyone! His mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, was kind enough to help him tell his story. She is the author of seven published books, writes for magazines on assignment, has been seen on national television and inspires people to live healthy, balanced lives through personal training, life coaching and workshops. You can reach Kuma through Lorraine’s website: www.thetotalyou.biz. Be sure to visit Kuma Dog’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Kumathedog?ref=hl
You never know what he’ll be up to next!