MikeHikes's Logbook

Stats

Total Log Entries: 316 (Rank: 4th)  [List Them]  [Map Them]
Total Distance: 2,483.60 Miles (Rank: 2nd)
Average Distance: 7.86 Miles

Average Rating: 4stars (4.27)
Average Difficulty: 1star (1.18)
Average Solitude: 4point5stars (4.54)

Earliest Log Entry: 1/7/2014
Latest Log Entry: 5/16/2019

Average ratings are based on the published values and not the values entered in your own log entries.

Photos

Watching Each Other

The male Golden Fronted Woodpecker jumped into the tree and disturbed the Hummingbird. They kept an eye on each other until they both flew away. [San Angelo State Park]

Log Entries

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Outlook and back
San Angelo State Park - 5/16/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Out       Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > Trailhead to Trailhead (S) > North Scenic Loop > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Camp Area > Lower Ghost Camp Trail (S) > service road (50 meters) > River Bend (100 meters) > Javalina > Cougar Outlook         3.5 miles

Return   Cougar Outlook > service road (W) > River Bend (NW) > Badlands > service road (N 50 meters) > Dinosaur Trail (N) > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail (N) > service road (N) > Bell's Trailhead   6.1 miles

Temp started at 69, ended at 80.  Overcast then partly cloudy with light to intermittent winds.

I hiked this in reverse order than I normally do and have decided I'll do it the way I'm used to for future hikes.  The trails were dry with some spots wet with morning dew.  The majority of the trails have been groomed and leveled fairly recently but there are a few areas that are in dire need of grooming, specifically the South Slick Rock Trail and the portion of Lower Ghost Camp Trail that is below the River Bend Camp Area.  Vegetation is very high and in a few places, the trail was not visible.

The water continues to flow in the North Concho River but no water fowl were seen in the wet areas.  As a matter of fact, not many birds were spotted today while I hiked. I saw a couple of Whitetail deer, numerous park longhorns and a pair of javalinas.  I startled the javalinas as I walked past them hidden in the brush; one became pretty agitated so I continued my hike at a slightly brisker pace until we had some distance between us. 

The flowers still display their colors and the butterflies are very numerous. I find it ironic when I hear, or read, about locals who will drive for hours so they can "see flowers" yet they won't drive a few minutes/miles to the park, get out of their car, walk the trails and see more flowers than they would from their car as it whizzes down the road.

One interesting, and sad, find - a lone cicada was on Javalina Trail and seemed to be on his/her last legs.  I assume it hatched too early and will, unfortunately, die a lonely death as I've neither seen, nor heard, any other cicadas. 

It was a good hike although not what I had hoped for with regard to picture taking.

NOTES

Water and shade available at the camping area near Bell's Trailhead.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Camping Area.

Shade, info kiosk and a bicycle repair station available at Cougar Outlook.

Shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area.  IMPORTANT - the water faucet has been turned OFF and I have no idea if/when it will be turned on again - the problem has been reported to park personnel.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park and Roadrunner Loop
San Angelo State Park - 5/13/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.50 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park         2.9 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Horny Toad > Talley Valley > Chaparral > Playground parking area      3.5 miles

Leg 3 -  Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area    3.1 miles

Temp started at 50, ended at 75.  Sunny, slight breeze.  Humid at first then drier air.

Today's hike could be entitled "There Will Be Mud".  After some always welcome rain on Saturday, I started early to get sunrise photos of O.C. Fisher with morning fog (photo attached).  Then I began my hike - the trails were "wet to muddy" for the entire hike.  Of course with the rain, comes vegetation growth which means high, wet grass.  My feet and sandals were caked in mud but seeing so many different birds made the hike enjoyable. In addition to seeing all the "usual suspects", I was pleased to see numerous Dicksissels and Nighthawks; both of which I haven't seen for some time.  I also saw a Painted Bunting, a pair of Killdeer and a solitary Great Blue Heron by the reservoir - no photos attached but a couple of good photos are on my hard drive.

The flowers continue to blossom but the Indian Blankets are slowly fading; a few Mexican Hats were spotted and will soon take up the "red flower" spot at the park.  More cactus blooms are on visible as well.  Bee brush, always giving off a pleasant scent, are thicker and as full of buzzing bees and other insects as I've ever seen them.

The biggest bonus though was watching a female Grey Fox while I was hiking.  She walked onto the trail about 20 meters in front of me, stopped and saw me.  After watching for a few seconds, she walked along the trail for a bit before disappearing into a pile of junipers and cactus.  I waited for her to come back out or go into a more pictureesque spot but she never did.  rather than continue to wait  for her, I left her in peace.

A very good hike!

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground Parking Area.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.

Water and shade are available at various campsites parallel to portion of Roadrunner Loop.  There is a toilet available at the Loop's mid-point.

 

Park Mid-section Burkett Park to Cougar Lookout Loop
San Angelo State Park - 5/6/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 10.40 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 40 minutes

Leg 1 -  Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > (East) Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground (N) > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction     3.5 miles

Leg 2 -  5 Points Junction > River Bend (N) > service road (E) > Cougar Lookout > Flintstone (S) > 5 Points Junction     2.6 miles

Leg 3 -  5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park     4.3 miles

Temp started at 68, ended at 83.  Sunny, with a light breeze which gradually became a steady breeze about half way through the hike.

Flowers were everywhere!  Yellow, red, blue, purple, white - it didn't matter, they were all in abundance.  The bee brush is blooming and a few cactus flowers are beginning to open.  Unfortunately, I missed the Lace Cactus bloom and only saw the withered flowers. 

The trails for the most part, have been groomed and are in very good repair but there are a few notable exceptions - specifically, Armadillo Trail heading East/North as well as part of the Playground Trail.  Armadillo, in particular, has vegetation completely covering the trail so it was a matter of being very careful where I placed my feet - no desire to step on any of the park residents, whether poisonous or not!  The same can be said for some of the portions of Playground Trail located between the junction of Armadillo and Playground and South of Bell's Point.  It looks like park personnel will have to use hand held weed whackers to clear the brush.

I saw numerous birds, a few lizards and some of the park's longhorns. I'll say it again - the longhorns will leave you alone if you leave them alone ESPECIALLY if there are calves around (like there were today).  Although I've seen no snakes so far this year, I found the remains of two snakes - both long dead and in the process of being consumed by insects; surprising to me, a large group of small butterflies were feasting on the remains of a 3-4 ft long coachwhip that was partly opened.  These same small butterflies are seen on piles of dung - seems Nature lets nothing go to waste.

This hike bumps me up on the Texas Hiking website roster for miles hiked from #3 to #2 - give me a few years and I may surpass #1.  I didn't realize until a few minutes ago, I was already #2 in miles hiked on the national Hiking Trailhead website.

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.  This will be the last time I mention this - the water at Burkett looks "chalky" but its safe to drink - I've suffered no ill effects after consuming it on my last few hikes.

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

Water, shade, and info kiosk available at 5 Points Junction.

Shade, info kiosk and a bicycle repair station available at Cougar Lookout.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park and back
San Angelo State Park - 5/1/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park        3.4 miles

Return  Burkett park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area     3.9 miles

Temp in the low 70's, overcast and h-u-m-i-d with sporadic, light winds.

Trails were damp with morning dew in places but dry otherwise.  Vegetation continues to grow but the trails are easy to see - even when the vegetation is chest high (as on portions of Winding Snake).  Numerous birds were out and singing for mates, the wild flowers, in all colors, are in bloom including bee brush; butterflies were feasting on all the flowers and bee brush. 

The moisture laden air dampened any traffic noises so all I heard were the birds singing as I hiked the trails in perfect solitude. It doesn't get better than this!

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground parking area.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.  The water is still "milky" but has no odor or discernible taste; I've suffered no ill effects after drinking it.

 

North Shore Park Extension
San Angelo State Park - 4/18/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 6.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Route - Park at the restrooms by the North Shore entrance then exit the park on foot and cross FM2288.  You will see a swinging gate that grants access to the park.  Round trip mileage is 6 miles.

Temps in the low 70's, partly cloudy then sunny, with fairly strong N by NW winds.

Once or twice a year, I hike this route which does not follow a named trail; instead, the trail is an old dirt road which fades into a single dirt trail as you walk deeper into the park.  There are numerous cow/animal trails crisscrossing the entire section of the park, nonetheless, the trail can be found if you look for it.  The trail ends at the fence line of a house on private property.  I recommend you come back the same way although you can follow another trail that runs parallel to the original trail for about 1/2 mile before you have to cut back to the original trail.

The main trail runs roughly parallel to the North Concho River - this river feeds into O.C. Fisher Reservoir located in the main section of the park.  It is recommended you stay on the North side of the river since private property runs along the river on the South side.  Additionally, the north side also has more trees and vegetation than the south side. Depending on the time of year, the vegetation may be thicker and higher than you'd expect. There are usually numerous members of the park's longhorn herd in the area so be aware of them - they'll leave you alone if you leave them alone.

As to the hike itself - this is one of the better hikes at the park to see birds you don't normally see elsewhere in the park due to the proximity of the river, the amount of shade trees and large swatches of grass and flowers.  Being west Texas, the river may or may not have water in it (it has quite a bit of water at the moment) which will affect the number and variety of birds you'll see. 

Ducks, Great Blue Herons, a Crested Caracara, Kingbirds, Vermillion Flycatchers, Western Bluebirds as well as sparrows, house finches and other birds were seen.  No animals besides the longhorn cattle were spotted and I saw my first reptile of the year - a lizard. 

The trail was overgrown with vegetation but fairly easy to hike on.  I made numerous forays along animal trails to the river as I looked for birds.  Some of these trails led to overlooks of the river, others took me to the river itself.  Caution is advised because these trails are NOT MAINTAINED and, some that go to the river, are fairly steep and slippery with loose dirt.

NOTES -

Before going on the hike, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you talk to park personnel to ensure the area is open to hiking since it is sometimes closed due to hunting when other portions of the park are still open.  Additionally, it doesn't hurt to let them know you plan to be there hiking.

I recommend you look at this portion of the park using Google Earth (imagery is listed as 2019).  If the imagery date is correct, the photos were taken in January or February since the trail is easily seen and not obscured by vegetation.

Water, info kiosk and toilets available at the North Shore entrance (where you should park).  THERE IS NO WATER OR SANITARY FACILITIES AVAILABLE ON THE ROUTE.  Make sure you take plenty of water and bring your own paper in case "nature calls".