Pedernales Falls Gathering - April 25-27, 2008

In April 2008 I journeyed to Pedernales Falls State Park in Texas for a gathering of primitive skills enthusiasts. Most of us are active participants on the Hoodlums forum. The gathering was hosted by Charlie and Lisa of Two Wolves Outdoors: you can go here to see their photos. It was a wonderful weekend of rekindling old friendships and making new ones. Texan hospitality at its finest. Thank you everyone!

I have included a number with each photo. If anyone spots an error or omission, please email me at Please include the slide number in your email. The names of children names have been deliberately omitted.

#001 - This is my new friend Scrap Iron. Scrap Iron picked me up at the Austin airport Thursday night and took me out to his place. On the way we stopped at a Mexican restaurant on the edge of his town: it was great! Here Scrap Iron is getting ready for breakfast, which consisted of breakfast burritos under a beautiful, tall oak.

#002 - I'd rather breakfast in surroundings like this than in the finest restaurant in Texas.

#003 - I don't remember the name of the flower. I'm sure someone can let me know.

#004 - There were a lot of dewberries. These grow on very thin runners at ground level. The purple berries are delicious.

#005 - This is Bull Thistle. Look at the stickers on this thing! A much meaner plant than your typical thistle. It would appear that in Texas there is no shortage of things designed to irritate you.

#006 - An old home on Scrap Iron's farm. I think he said it was built in 1885.

#007 - Indian blanket.

#008 - Scrap Iron cutting firewood for the gathering.

#009 - So we're driving around Scrap Iron's property and we pull up to a bluff overlooking a creek about 50 yards away. This being Texas, he pulls out a gun so we can do a little shooting. He told me at the time that it was a 7.5" barrel, but as he was pulling it out from under his seat it appeard to me to be no less than 19 inches.

#011 - So we get out of the truck and walk up to the bluff. What should we shoot at? Scrap Iron says "See that game trail down there coming out of the creek?" "Yes", I said. "See that black spot in the middle?" "Yes", I said. "Ok, Whoa! Look at that cottonmouth boom" Now I have deliberately left the period off of the last sentence, as it was really punctuated by the bullet itself! Scrap Iron and I had seen the snake at the same time, swimming upstream through the water. I heard a boom and simultaneously the snake was gone. And I mean gone! The water is shallow; I can see the bottom. No snake! "Where did it go?" "It's gone!" "There's nothing left!" Scrap Iron kinda laughingly shook his head, since clearly I had no understanding of what a .44 can do to a snake. Finally, my pulse lowered and I asked, "You said cottonmouth. Wasn't that a water moccasin?" Scrap Iron replied "Did I say cottonmouth? No, you're right, that was a water moccasin. This is Texas: shoot first, talk later."

#010 - So then Scrap Iron let me shoot. I have no idea where the bullet went. Any snakes which may have been left in the area were perfectly safe.

Later in the day Scrap Iron confided in me somewhat sheepishly, "You know that was a lucky shot. I'm not that good." I told him, "No, I think that was a good shot. You're not that lucky."

#012 - Scrap Iron said this area was where armadillo had been digging for bugs, and the mark on the tree is where a boar had sharpened its tusk.

#013 - Scrap Iron pointed out this Mustang Grade vine. It is 22" in diameter. He said some researchers have been out to see it and that it may be the largest in Texas.

#014 - Enough site seeing around Scrap Iron's property: time to get ready for Pedernales.

#015 - A random shot of the property.

#016 - Another random shot of the property.

#017 - One last shot of the property.

#018 - While Scrap Iron was getting ready I took refuge under the oak tree with a nice cold Coke. I felt as though the tree had magic cloaking powers: stress can't find me here!

#019 - We stopped for groceries in town before heading to Pedernales. Turns out the last thing we would need would be more food!

#020 - This is Luke Swenson aka Swede. Luke and I met at Anza Borrego last year. I was having problems with my leg at the time and Swede loaned me his hiking stick so I could make it down a hill we had climbed. In honor of that, Swede bought these hiking sticks for me. Swede is a real good guy.

#021 - This may not look good, but it was the most amazing salsa I've ever had. Eddie and Elizabeth volunteered to cook for us. There was sooo much food! This salsa was the beginning of a meal which would last all weekend!

#022 - Eddie and Elizabeth were not only wonderful cooks, but they were very patient of us all hanging out in their cook area.

#023 - Ouchie and Swede. No doubt they are discussing the price of Swede's knives. Ouchie says Swede doesn't charge enough (true) and so Swede has turned over his pricing to Ouchie.

#024 - "No, you can't have an itty bitty bite. It's not cooked yet."

#025 - Grillmaster Eddie with his grill, which consists of an old propane tank on a Model T frame!

#026 - This is Texas, so there is no shortage of beans. And jalapenos!

#027 - Mrs. Wolf and her riding crop to keep the troops in line.

#028 - Kids at play.

#029 - You go girl!

#030 - Ouchie, Ghost Wolf, Scrap Iron, and Dissimulator. (I can't recall a time all weekend when I didn't see Ghostwolf carrying his coffee just as you see it here.)

#031 - I don't know how Eddie did it. He worked hard all weekend. I was hot just sitting in a chair. How he managed to stay standing around the grill all weekend is a mystery to me. This guy is superman.

#032 - RCWalla coveting Scrap Iron's new Swenson knife.

#033 - We were told to bring our own plates and silverware. Swede and Scrap Iron are ready.

#034 - Eddie was patient with me and all my pictures. I've never seen so much meat in one place. But, hey, this is Texas.

#035 - Pineapple upside-down cake baked in dutch oven.

#036 - Beans, potatos, salsa and chips, fresh bread.

#037 - Ghost wolf and Eddie.

#038 - Best friends.

#039 - RCWalla and his daughter, who was a most pleasant young woman. Good to see daddy and daughter out together.

#040 - The cooks get to eat too.

#041 - Eagle357's sons John (left) and Richard (right). Both are Eagle scouts.

#042 - Lots of conversation going on throughout the weekend. It gave the food time to digest.

#043 - Saturday morning breakfast. Even I was full.

#044 - Need more help again. The youngster's name is Daniel, and a fine young man he seemed to be. I can't remember his Dad's name, but he was a pleasant guy. The girl is Laurie, and Laurie's boyfriend is ???

#045 - Eagle357 and son John.

#046 - T.R. Zimmerman and Kevin (?)

#047 - Tepee and Lisa.

#048 - Laurie brought her Finite Math homework with her. She had no idea there would be a crusty old math teacher there! (I hope I helped her!)

#049 - What it takes to feed an army of Hoodlums.

#050 - This was one funny dog! Someone gave "Jack" a tortilla. He didn't want it, but he sure guarded it. He would growl and snap at whoever came too close. He even bit a hole in Eagle357's boot!

#051 - Back off!

#052 - Watch yourself!

#053 - Don't push me!

#054 - T.R. Zimmerman leads a plant walk. Here he talks to Gunslinger. T.R.'s website is

#055 - I've eaten plenty of cactus before, but never like this!

#056 - A surprising number of edible and medicinal plants were found in a small area.

#057 - Almark and Tepee.

#058 - Plant walk.

#059 - Dwayne aka Leathernut of Armoralleather.

#060 - Lisa pulls out Maxpedition gear for examination.

#061 - Almark, Tepee, Ouchie, Scrap Iron and I went for a drive to see the falls.

#062 - Pedernales Falls.

#063 - Pedernales Falls.

#064 - Pedernales Falls.

#065 - Hoodlums at Pedernales Falls.

#066 - Lizard

#067 - Scrap Iron at Pedernales Falls.

#068 - Pretty cool place.

#069 - Rumor has it a certain someone went swimming here, only to find out afterwards that swimming is not allowed and can result in a $500 fine.

#070 - Enjoying the surroundings.

#071 - We got back to camp just about dinner time. (I'm not sure I had finished digesting breakfast yet.)

#072 - What a feast.

#073 - Swede's sister (Marilyn?) and her husband Stew22.

#074 - Grillmaster Eddie pulls out the ribs. He cuts off a small piece and asks me if I'd like a sample. Well, I don't like ribs, but I took the sample to be polite. I was wrong. I do like ribs. These were incredible.

#075 - The ribs were so good it was the only meat I ate for dinner. And I had two servings. Especially good with Eddie's homemade pepper jelly. As I was leaving on Sunday afternoon, Eddie walked over to my campsite to give me a whole jar of his pepper jelly. Unfortunately, TSA confiscated it at the airport. I pleaded with the inspector, "If you have to take it, at least promise me you'll take it home with you!" "Sorry, sir, we can't do that." Bummer.

#076 - I know there was so much good food I never even got to try because I was so full!

#077 - Now there's something you don't see very often: Ouchie talking!

#078 - Almark and Ghostwolf standing. Kim, Swede, rcwalla and (Marilyn?) sitting.

#079 - Good food and good fellowship.

#080 - The Georgia boys, aka Maglight and Gunslinger. Great guys.

#081 - We even fed the kids.

#082 - Random kid shot.

#083 - Random kid shot.

#084 - Random kid shot.

#085 - Random kid shot.

#086 - Random kid shot.

#087 - Random kid shot.

#088 - Random kid shot.

#090 - Random kid shot.

#091 - Random kid shot.

#092 - Random kid shot.

#093 - Random kid shot.

#094 - Big kid shot.

#089 - Jeremiah.

#095 - Beware the cobbler! It's so good, and it isn't until it's too late that you realize you ate more than you should have. Or so I heard....yum!

#096 - Creepy bug that showed up Saturday night. It's a male Dobsonfly.

#097 - Ouchie's reaction to holding the dobsonfly.

#098 - It rained off and on (mostly on) throughout Sunday. RCWalla, Livesalone, Gunslinger and Maglight.

#099 - Livesalone and Gunslinger.

#100 - Breakfast got a little cramped under the awning.

#101 - Mr. and Mrs. Swede

#102 - Maglight with Marilyn's dog.

#103 - Maglight and the Wolves' pup with Marilyn's dog.

#104 - A modest trade blanket.

#105 - I didn't witness any of it, but I heard that some of the kids made out real well thanks to the generosity of some grown up Hoodlums.

#106 - Kids deserve good knives too!

#107 - Brumbie showed up late Sunday morning.

#108 - Maglight and Gunslinger. They stayed another night before driving back to Georgia.

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Copyright © 2008 by Bill Qualls. Last updated May 5, 2008.