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Enjoy Sights (and Smells) During Busy Pedernales Falls State Park Weekend

A scrub jay stops by one of the bird blinds at Pedernales Falls State Park. The park is hosting Coffee with the Birds from 9-11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 9. The park will have coffee as well as binoculars and bird guides so you can enjoy the morning at the bird blinds and butterfly garden. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

From the heavens above to the droppings left behind, Pedernales Falls State Park is holding a fun-filled weekend. It’s a chance to get outside and explore.

The weekend begins Saturday, Dec. 8, with the ranger-led Twin Falls Nature Hike from 1-2 p.m. The hike takes you along one of the park’s most environmentally diverse trails.

The one-mile hike starts in the Twin Falls trailhead parking lot between campsites 19 and 21. It features steep, rocky steps and slopes, so dress accordingly.

Leashed pets are allowed.

If you’re not too tired after the hike, join the Geocaching 101 clinic from 3-4 p.m. at the picnic area for a how-to on modern-day treasure hunting.

Pedernales Falls State Park has some GPS units available, but email park interpreter Stephen Garmon at stephen.garmon@tpwd.texas.gov to reserve one. You don’t need a GPS unit for geocaching; you can use a Geocaching app, which is available for iOS and Android devices.

If you’re still around as the sun is setting, head to the Star Party with the Austin Astronomical Society, which is 5-9:30 p.m. Knowledgable society members will set out telescopes for visitors’ use. You can bring your own if you have one. You should also bring a chair or blanket.

Since Pedernales Falls State Park is a good distance from major artificial light sources, you should be able to see the planets, stars, and constellations.

You’ll need to use a red-colored flashlight (if you bring one at all). A white light will disrupt your night vision for a half-hour or more.

Of course, the event is weather permitting. Check the park’s Facebook page at facebook.com/pedernalesfalls for updates.

On Sunday, Dec. 9, Coffee with the Birds is 9-11 a.m. at the park’s bird blinds and butterfly garden. Whether you’re an expert birder or a hatchling, you’ll enjoy a morning at the blinds.

Along with coffee, park staff will have several bird guides and some binoculars to help you identify our feathered friends.

There are tables and chairs in the blinds along with photography slots. The main viewing area features big, plate-glass windows.

And here’s a can’t miss event: Skins, Skulls, Scales and Scat.

It’s just what it sounds like as the park ranger, interpreter, and volunteers have amassed these “leavings” from local wildlife. A station will be set up from 1-3 p.m. Sunday in the falls parking lot so you can see, feel, and, uh, smell the critters.

Actually, it’s a pretty interesting, hands-on program. You can pick up fur and get a close look at fish and reptilian scales.

Yeah, then there’s the scat. We’ll let you figure out what to do with that one.

All events are free with park entrance fees, which are $6 for ages 13 and older. Kids 12 and younger get in free. Call (830) 868-7304 or go to tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/pedernales-falls for more information.

editor@thepicayune.com

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