plectrudis's Logbook

Stats

Total Log Entries: 42  [List Them]  [Map Them]
Average Rating: 3stars (3.36)

Earliest Log Entry: 9/21/2015
Latest Log Entry: 3/27/2021

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

Photos

Nifty fern

This nifty fern is one of several that grows out of rocks at Inks Lake. [Inks Lake State Park]

Log Entries

Mostly Paved Surface, Partial Shade, Follows Creek
Brushy Creek East Trail [Hiking] - 3/27/2021  [View Log Page]
Rating: 2point5stars Difficulty: 1point5stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 6.60 Miles Duration: N/A

I walked the Joe B Freeman Park to the Play For All Park and back, which was a little over 6 miles.  The trail has several different moods--the Freeman Park area is a shady tunnel through the woods, then there is a stretch that goes through and behind a subdivision, then you follow a busy road over a big bridge and cross over to reach another more natural area that connects to the Play For All Park.  The two woodsy sections were pleasant, but the subdivision and road are a bit more exposed than I would ideally like. The whole trail is paved, which isn't really my cup of tea (hard on the feet and joints), but is probably good for accessibility purposes.  There were a fair few cyclists on the trail as well.  The creek is a pleasant touch.

A park that gets a lot of use, but still has some nice natural elements
Copperfield Nature Trail [Hiking] - 3/22/2021  [View Log Page]
Rating: 2point5stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 2point5stars
Distance: 3.60 Miles Duration: N/A

This park was surprising in a number of ways.  It's surrounded by the city and by subdivisions, and it has obviously received pretty hard use, so you never have the illusion of being in some sort of pristine area--the trails are wide and the ground is hard packed and there is a bit of trash. But even though the landscape had been pretty extensively trampled, it still has some surprisingly pleasant bluffs, a nice long stretch of waterfall where a little runnel trips down a hill, and a largish pond.  So even though it's highly modified, the bones of the natural world show through.  It was somewhat busy on the March evening when I visited, and you have to cross a significant road (Braker) at one point, but it's also pretty shady and green.  Also, someone with a whimsical sense of humor has installed a turtle sculpture on the ferny walls of a little bluff.

Seemed longer than 3 miles, despite the ducks
Lake Pflugerville Trail [Hiking] - 3/8/2021  [View Log Page]
Rating: 1point5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 1point5stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A

I first walked this trail some 12 or more years ago, and somehow, despite the passage of time, it feels every bit as exposed and treeless now as it did then.  The ducks were fun to watch, and there are nice piers at intervals around the lake for birdwatching and (I presume) fishing.  The path is smooth crushed granite and it's quite flat, which is nice for accommodating lots of different types of walkers.  Nevertheless, it was so scant on trees and so large and monotonous that by the end, I was more worn down than really makes sense.  It turned out to be a surprisingly long 3 miles, and my car kept being much farther away than I thought it was.  No amount of ducks or podcast episodes could really perk the experience up.  If you live in the area, it's definitely a convenient feature for getting in your daily walk, but I don't know that I'll be schlepping my way out there very often--and only during the cool season.  In August, I suspect you'd be well braised by the sun and humidity.  On the plus side, there is a kayak/canoe rental and launch, so that's fun.

Trail runs parallel to Colorado River--lots of shade!
Bastrop County Nature Park [Hiking] - 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 [Hiking] - 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.