Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Lookout Loop
By MikeHikes on 9/26/2018
Distance: 11.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 45 minutes
Out Burkett park > Burkett Trail > Potts Creek > Armadillo (E) > Playground > Bell's Point > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (N) > Cougar Lookout 5.2 miles
Return Cougar Lookout > service road (W) > River Bend (SW) > 5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lanky lackey (20 meters) > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park 5.9 miles
Temp started at 60, end at 70. Overcast with sporadic, then steady rain (for 15 minutes). Fairly steady northerly wind.
A nice hike with some rain. Parts of the trails have been groomed for an up-coming race but other parts have not. Basically, the trails nearest Burkett Park have been groomed and the furtehr north you hike, the less attention has been payed. In particular on Playground Trail. Vegetation continues to grow and will cover portions of the trail but the trail itself is still visible EXCEPT in the area below Bell's Point.
This portion needs some grooming especially the portion that connects to Flintstone Trail - the last 30-40 meters is totally overgrown to the point you cannot see the trail. Do what I did - look around and if you still cannot see the trail, walk forward (North) until you come to an old service road (it is always visible). Once there, look in both directions and find the trail posts for Flintstone (on the north side of the road). Flintstone is in slightly better shape and needs grooming as well - the entire length, all the way to Cougar Lookout.
Not many birds out although I got a good picture of two different birds waiting for the rain to stop (photo attached). I did see a fairly large javalina when he burst out of a bush alongside the trail, grunted a few times and ran away. I also saw a couple of deer and a large number of longhorns were in the Cougar Lookout section of the park. Of note, there were a large number of calves present and for the first time since I've been hiking at the park, a longhorn bull challenged me.
I had departed Cougar Lookout and was on the service road heading back when I saw a small herd of about 20-25 cattle in front and to the left of me about 30-40 meters away. A large bull snorted and ran until he was in the middle of the road about 30 meters directly in front of me; three of his compadres also advanced to his immediate right and the rest of the herd stopped. I talked and made noise while watching him. After a minute or so, he and I just watched each other. I noticed a section of post fence to my right and decided if the bull charged, I'd go for the fence and use it to block him. About three minutes passed before he snorted then walked perpendicular to me towards the other side of the road. After he got a few yards away, he did a snort/bellow and the rest of the herd slowly followed. I waited until the herd was about 10 meters in before I continued forward. No other confrontation was made.
This is the first time a bull has challenged me. I attribute his actions to the presence of the numerous calves and perhaps his need to demonstrate to the herd, he was the leader. Amusing to me - when the lead bull was in front and most of the herd was across, a different bull decided since the dominant bull was way in front, he'd go for it and mounted one of the laggard cows! I didn't want to stick around in case the dominant bull saw what was happening to one of his harem so I picked up my pace a little.
Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at Burkett Park.
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.
IMPORTANT - As mentioned in earlier logs, the park's maps have been updated BUT they don't match all the trail signage or the maps in the info kiosk. Notable exclusion is the absence of "Armadillo Trail" on the new maps but the trail signage still lists it. Pay attention to where you're at and trust the park map.