Out Bell's Trailhead > service road (S) > Dinosaur > DInosaur Tracks Area > Dinosaur > Upper Big Hill > Dinosaur > service road (WNW) > Badlands > River Bend > service road (NE) > Cougar Lookout 5.9 miles
Return Cougar Lookout > Javalina > service road (N) > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > South Slick Rock > service road (WNW) > North Scenic Loop > service road (E then NW) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead 3.6 miles
Temp 45, overcast, gloomy, sporadic rain, steady wind to start. Rain passed then sunny and warm-up to 65.
Gloomy hike to begin with not much going on. As I was coming to Cougar Lookout, the rains came down in earnest so I had to take shelter in a hunter blind for 10 minutes until the rains stopped. The weather continued to improve so by the time the hike ended, it was sunny and warm. The longhorns, with calves, are out in this section of the park so I gave them a wide berth. I saw an armadillo - being in Texas that shouldn't be unusual BUT it's the first one I've seen at the park in quite a while.
A few years ago, there were at least two beavers in the river next to Shady Trail. This part of Texas has been in a drought, the water levels lowered and the beavers disappeared. Today, along Shady Trail I found three trees that looked like they were recently felled by beavers (photo attached). Don't know why they've returned as we've had no rain and the river by Shady Trail has a VERY limited amount of water in it.
ADDENDUM (02-08-2018) - Park personnel confirmed there have been sightings of at least two beavers in the North Concho River near the Shady Trail.
Water available in the camping area near Bell's Trailhead.
Water, info kiosk and shade available at Dinosaur Tracks Area.
Info kiosk, shade and a bicycle repair station available at Cougar Lookout.
Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Ghost Camp.
"This book will be in great demand by travelers, park visitors, and aficionados of Texas landscapes."