plectrudis's Logbook

Stats

Total Log Entries: 39 (Rank: 11st)  [List Them]  [Map Them]
Total Distance: 164.38 Miles (Rank: 9th)
Average Distance: 4.21 Miles

Average Rating: 3stars (3.39)
Average Difficulty: 2stars (2.01)
Average Solitude: 2point5stars (2.87)

Earliest Log Entry: 9/21/2015
Latest Log Entry: 2/21/2021

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

Photos

New bridge & winter grasses

The park has built new bridges on the Red Trail creek crossings. The grasses are wearing their winter colors, which adds to the sense of desolation. [Bastrop State Park - Lost Pines Trail]

Log Entries

Trail runs parallel to Colorado River--lots of shade!
Bastrop County Nature Park - 2/21/2021  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 2.70 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 25 minutes

I hiked the River Trail, the Dragonfly/Meadow Trails, and the Cliffhanger Trail.  There was one short steepish bit where you hike down off the bluff to cross a little creek and go back up on the other side, but nothing super difficult (you walk up & down, you don't climb or crawl or anything).  Otherwise, it was mostly levelish, running along the top of the bank above the river.  It was a real pleasure to be accompanied by the sound of running water and birds for almost the whole hike, and there's lots of shade.  It's one of the more consistently shady trails in the Greater Austin Area, I think, along with Northeast Metro, Turkey Creek, and Wild Basin, though I need to try it again in Jul/Aug to be sure.  In Feb, it was defnitely pleasantly umbrageous.

The amount of solitude was what I think of as just right--there were enough people around to feel safe, but not so many that they interfered with immersing yourself in the greenness.  It is located alongside a subdivision, though, so you're not going to confuse the trail with an unspoiled wilderness.  Still, between the river and the plants, it felt reasonably natureful.

Also, there is an interesting little alley on the Dragonfly trail where someone has planted a variety of labeled native[?] succulents--pirckly pears, agaves, yuccas, etc. If you're planning on doing some xeriscaping, this might give you some ideas. I was there the Sunday after the big Valentine's Week Freeze of 2021, and the Agave univittata held up beautifully, FWIW.

I parked at the Two Bridges Trailhead, but next time, I would probably use the Lost Pines Recreational Trails trailhead, which is in a nice park with a canoe launch on the eastern end of the trail. The lot is bigger and easier to navigate, it's a prettier spot, and you start at one end instead of in the middle.

Minor warning: the trail seems to have recently changed hands from the Pines & Prairies Land Trust to Bastrop Co, so some of the signs and names seem a little inconsistent/out of date. 

Lots of Shade!
Northeast Metropolitan Park - 2/1/2021  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 2point5stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A

This trail isn't super-long, and it's paved, but if you start at the baseball diamonds and head back toward the big loop, most the your walk will be very well shaded, plus it runs along a nice little creek, though it's not always terrible visible through the undergrowth.  There's an especially pleasant pecan grove sort of area, and some exercise equipment dotted along the path.  You'll definitely see other people, but they haven't ever been too numerous or bothersome.  There's also a small weir or dam sort of thing--not _very_ scenic, but it makes a lovely sound.  The park as a whole has a ton of recreational facilities, for those who want to do things other than walk.

Lack of signage turned this into a death march
Pace Bend - 1/15/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 2stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 11.70 Miles Duration: N/A
If it were possible to navigate the trails in this park, it would be a pleasant fall/winter/spring hike, with plenty of trail available for long, medium, or short hikes. Nothing spectacular, but pleasant, if fairly standard, hill country grasslands and cedar woods. There is intermittent cover, but not nearly enough to make a July or Aug hike enjoyable. BUT. The whole thing is really poorly signed, the map doesn't even show parking lots or trailheads, and there are a number of gnarly trail junctions that are very difficult to navigate without signs. We lost our trail, we lost our car--what was supposed to be a 6-7-mile hike ended up being an 11.7 mile hike. Not fun. We'd probably still be there, wandering helplessly, if a very kind pair of trail runners hadn't spotted us, guessed that we were lost, and led us back to civilization. If you live in the area, it's probably worth learning your way around, but bring twice the amount of water you think you need, a fully charged cell phone, and, preferably, a GPS unit. Oh, and drop a pin where you park your car. The Well/Weil trail--an old Jeep track--offers the fewest opportunities for misdirection, so I'd recommend doing your first hike there. Or just don't bother--Muleshoe Bend and Grelle are ~10mi away, are prettier, and are easier to navigate.
Short, paved stroll in the woods
Stillhouse Hollow Nature Preserve - 1/7/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 2point5stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A
This trail was hard to find, as Google tries to convince you to enter through a gated apartment complex. In fact, you need to turn into the subdivision around the corner from the apartments to find the entrance--take Mesa to Burney to the tiny dead-end street of Sterling and there it is. But I'm glad I dead, as a short little excursion in pleasant surroundings was just what I was looking for. The whole trail is paved, though the pavement has become a bit wavy with age, so it might not be 100% accessible for the especially frail. The path winds though a small wood and eventually reaches a nice observation deck overlooking a little ravine. I thought the overlook was a bit of an anti-climax--you can't see much due to the density of trees, even in the winter. But for a nice, quick saunter, it's a good choice if you're in the area. Note that dogs are not allowed, as it's not just a park but a nature preserve.
Nice variety, nice facility, lots of lichen
Muleshoe Bend - 12/26/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 7.50 Miles Duration: N/A
Nice variety of ecosystems, including cedar woods, hardwood forest, and prairie, as well as some lake views. Some up and down, but not so distractingly strenuous. There was almost no one else on the trail. Well marked and generally in good shape, like a number of other LCRA parks we've visited. It's not perfectly clear whether hikers are allowed on the biking trails, but we eventually decided that, yes, they are, and no one yelled at us, so apparently it was all good. Be sure to bring small bills, as the fee is collected via honor system, and you have to have the correct amount. Saw a lot of nice lichens.