Return to San Angelo State Park

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 3/21/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 11.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park       3.4 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > (East) Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     3.8 miles

Leg 3 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area    3.9 miles

Temp started at 60, ended at 72.  Partly cloudy to slight overcast.  Sporadic, light SW breeze.

Pleasant hike with numerous birds singing and lots of flowers blooming.  Yellow is the predominant flower color followed by patches of blue/purple flowers with spots of white and orange flowers seen as well.  Butterflies and blue dragonflies were out as well as other, less appreciated bugs such as flies and gnats. 

The trails are easy to see and were dry with the exception of a few wet spots on the Red Dam Loop as well as near the western end of West Potts Creek trail.  On the "dry" trails, the rocky soil has become loose in places so caution is advised when going up or down an incline (such as Roller Coaster); very easy to fall or twist an ankle by stepping on the wrong piece of soil.

NOTES

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

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

    IMPORTANT - the water at Burkett Park looks "chalky" or mineralized however, it doesn't have an odor or taste so it's safe to drink. 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to River Bend Ghost Camp Loop
User: MikeHikes - 3/14/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 7.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Trailhead to Trailhead (S 50 meters) > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > service road (100 meters) > Badlands Trail > River Bend Trail > Lower Ghost Camp trail > River Bend Ghost Camp    5.3 miles

Return  River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp trail > South Slick Rock > Trailhead to Trailhead (N) > North Scenic Loop > Trailhead to Trailhead > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead   1.8 miles

Temp started at 52, ended at 62.  Sunny with strong NNW winds at 10-15 mph.

A shorter than usual, easy hike along trails that were 90% dry and 10% damp.  Saw more people on the trails so I assume it was due to Spring Break.  Singing birds were heard and seen but I saw no wild life or reptiles, i.e. rattlesnakes.  Earlier this week, strong winds blew through the area and because of this, I found numerous, already dead, mesquite branches laying all over the trails.  There is quite a bit of water in the Concho River and it's slowly flowing into the O.C.Fisher Reservoir.  As usual, a bag of trash was collected while I hiked.  Not much else to report.

NOTES

Water available at campsites near Bell's Trailhead.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area. 

    IMPORTANT - NO WATER available today.  I reported it and the camp host said he'd check the faucet.  Strongly advise anyone to take their own water.

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at the River Bend Ghost Camp. 

    CAUTION - watch for snakes and insects (wasps) before using the dry toilets.  TP may not be available.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction Loop
User: MikeHikes - 3/7/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 8.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out      Burkett park > WS to LL Connector > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction      4.4 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Armadillo > East Potts Creek > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park    3.9 miles

Temps started at 60, ended at 72.  Overcast, steady SW wind at 10-15 mph.

An easy, leisurely hike today along dry and easy to see trails. Recently, the park was closed for controlled burns and then a cold snap hit the area so no hikes for me in two weeks!  Last time I was out, the agaritas were just beginning to bloom and scent the air; today, I was glad to see numerous agarita bushes in various stages of blooming.  Although the scent they released was not overwhelming, nonetheless, it was still present at various places along the trails.

Lots of birds but most were not singing.  I saw a couple of raptors high in the sky as well as an American Kestrel perched in a tree so that may be the reason.  No animals or reptiles were seen.

No evidence of the controlled burn along my route and the park is beginning to "green out" but not overly so. 

NOTES

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

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

Water and shade available at Bell's Point.

IMPORTANT - The info kiosk maps are still out of date - trust the new, park trails map given (free) at the South Shore gate.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park Loop
User: MikeHikes - 2/15/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.60 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Chaparral > Talley Valley > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park      3.9 miles

Return  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area      3.7 miles

Temps started at 70, ended at 83, windy then strong winds, sunny.

Gorgeous day for a hike !  The strong winds kept most birds either out of the air entirely or those that flew, did so in short, low flights.  No animals were spotted.  More agarita bushes are scenting the air with their small, yellow flowers!

Trails were groomed, dry and easy to traverse with the notable exception of Red Dam Loop.  About a quarter mile in, the trail became damp then wet with standing water.  There are ways around the water but your shoes will still get wet.  Once you get on the dam itself, the trail is dry again and stays so until you go further then you are, once again, in muddy terrain.  The mud ends after a short time and you're back on dry trails.  The trail is easy to do but you can count on getting your shoes somewhat wet and muddy.

NOTES

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

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

SPECIAL NOTICE -  For some reason the water spigot at Burkett park was having issues as if there was air in the pipes.  Water pressure was VERY inconsistent and when water came out, it was very "chalky" looking and my hiking partner suggested "they" might be cleaning the pipes.  In any event, I didn't drink the water but washed my hands and suffered no ill effects.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 2/5/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 10.00 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > Potts Creek > Armadillo (WSW) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lanky Lackey (10 meters) > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park

Leg 3 -  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground Parking Area

Temp started at 60, cloudy with light fog.  As the hike progressed, the sky cleared, the wind picked up and the temp warmed to 76.

A false Spring today as the temperature will stay warm for a few days before another cold front arrives with another freeze.  Trails were dry, for the most part, with a few wet spots on Roller Coaster and Chaparral.  Most of the trails have been groomed so they are easy to see.  Numerous types of birds were out in force; lots of them singing for mates!  A few raptors were on the hunt as well.

I saw my "first for this year" Agarita bush in bloom  with numerous small, yellow flowers perfuming the air - the scent reminds me of hot dust, mesquite wood smoke and honey.  (photo attached)

Picked up a couple of bags of trash from the trails but otherwise, all went well.

NOTES

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

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

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction Loop
User: MikeHikes - 1/29/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 8.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out      Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > Potts Creek > Armadillo (NE) > Playground > Bell's Point > Playground > Flintstone > 5 Points Junction     3.7 miles

Return  5 Points Junction > Turkey Creek > Armadillo (SW) > West Potts Creek > Roller COaster > Lanky Lackey (10 meters) > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park     4.5 miles

Started with overcast skies and temp at 27; ended with partly cloudy skies and temp at 45.  Light wind.

A gloomy and cold start for today's hike; ice coated the water trough at Burkett Park. Trails were dry, easy to see and traverse. Although I saw a few of the park's longhorns grazing, there were no birds or other wildlife observed for the first half of the hike and only a few birds were seen while on the return leg.    Nothing really happened on the hike - it was colder than normal but the hike was very doable!

NOTES

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. 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout and Back
User: MikeHikes - 1/22/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 11.10 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Out     Bell's Trailhead > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Badlands > River Bend > service road (N) > Cougar Lookout      6.6 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Javalina > River Bend (about .25 mile) > service road (N) > Lower Ghost Camp > River Bend Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (NW) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead     4.5 miles

Temps started at 55 and ended at 67.  Overcast and gloomy at first then partly cloudy.  Steady 10-15 mph SW wind.

Most of the trails in the middle and north sections of the park, have a hiker/horse trail running somewhat parallel to the hiker/bike trail.  Today was "hiker/horse trail" day and I stayed on them as much as possible.  These trails, for the most part, were dry or slightly damp and rougher than the hiker/bike trails due to the horse's hooves impacting the trail; especially when the trail was wet and muddy.  Nonetheless, it was good to hike slightly different trails while I observed the birds and conducted minor trail maintenance/trash pick-up. 

NOTES

Water available at the campsites by Bell's Trailhead.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at the Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area.

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Ghost Camp.

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park and then Roadrunner Loop
User: MikeHikes - 1/16/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 10.20 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Leg 1 -  Playground parking area > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett Park    3.0 miles

Leg 2 -  Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area    4.1 miles

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

Temp started at 44, ended at 59.  Overcast then sunny.  Steady 10-15 mph SW wind.

First hike of 2019 and first hike in new Columbia hiking boots.  Beginning mileage = 2324.5 miles with 295 logged entries.

An overcast, windy, cold day on wet and muddy trails.  The weather conditions kept the wildlife hidden with the exception of a few birds.  Most stayed low to the ground but there were two American Kestrels and two Loggerhead Shrikes hunting.  All the other birds stayed in place or made short flights, low to the ground. 

Trails are easy to see and traverse and the park personnel have groomed the Roadrunner Loop again.  It has been leveled and widened making it an easy hike for anyone.  A bag of trash was picked up but nothing else to report. 

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk, toilets and a bicycle repair station available at Playground parking area.

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

Water, shade and toilets available at the mid-point of Roadrunner Loop.

Water and shade available at various campsites along the edges of Roadrunner Loop.

IMPORTANT - trail maps have been updated BUT the maps in the info kiosks have not.  Trust the paper trail map you get at the park entrance.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park and Back
User: MikeHikes - 12/31/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out       Playground parking area > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park       3.1 miles

Return   Burkett park > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Tasajilla Flats > Playground parking area     4.0 miles

Temps started at 41, ended at 45.  Sunny with a few wispy clouds, steady 20+ mph WNW wind.

Last hike of 2018 on wet and muddy trails.  Nobody else on the trails and no other cars in the parking lots when I arrived or departed.  The wind kept the birds low to the ground except for a group of Crested Caracaras flying high and away from me (photo attached).  This is the second time I've seen these birds at the park; although the photo is not the best, it is proof they were there!

Stats for the year - 

Mileage on 01/07/2018     1946.5 miles with 250 log entries

Mileage on 12/31/2018     2324.5 miles with 295 log entries

Miles Hiked in 2018           378 miles with 45 log entries

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Roadrunner Loop Christmas Hike
User: MikeHikes - 12/25/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 3.10 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Route   Playground parking area > Roadrunner Loop > Playground parking area

Temp in the mid-50's, overcast then partly cloudy, light wind.

A short hike around the Loop.  The trail had been leveled/graded fairly recently so the ground was relatively soft but rocks of various sizes were laying on the trail - very easy to twist an ankle if you aren't careful!

Some birds were out but nothing unusual.  Just a short hike with friends on Christmas!

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk, toilets and a bicycle repair station at Playground parking area.

Water, shade and toilets at a few spots alongside the trail.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 12/19/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out      Playground Parking Area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park       4.2 miles

Return  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground Parking Area    3.3 miles

Temp in low to mid 50's, partly cloudy and light wind.

An easy hike along damp trails that were easy to see and traverse.  Quite a few ground hugging birds were out; they were ground huggers not because of the wind, but because of the American Kestrels perched in the trees.  Also saw a hawk of some type swooping about four feet above the ground as he searched for food.

All in all, an enjoyable hike!

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk, toilets and a bicycle repair station available at the Playground Parking Area.

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

IMPORTANT - Trail maps have been updated but the maps displayed in the info kiosks have not - trust the trail map.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park with Detours!
User: MikeHikes - 12/12/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 8.90 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Out      Playground parking area > Tasajila Flats > Park Entrance and return > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park       5.5 miles

Return  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop (.25 mile and return) > Chaparral > Playground Parking Area      3.4 miles

Temp started at 51 and ended at 59.  Overcast and gloomy with a steady 10 mph westerly wind.

Trails were very damp or wet and in the case of Red Dam Loop, too wet to traverse.  Vegetation has died off so the trails were easy to see.  Lots of White Crowned Sparrows and other small ground hugging birds were out.  I also saw four American Kestrels and some type of hawk looking for a meal.  I watched one Kestrel almost catch a small bird as I was returning on the Chaparral Trail.  The bird made a quick turn and the Kestrel missed his grab and went hungry a little longer.

My first detour involved hiking along the park entrance and picking up trash.  Since I didn't bring my camera, I decided to collect trash; paper, plastic bags, fast food wrappers and a half dozen empty beer cans had been tossed along the road leading to the park - very unsightly!  Hopefully, it will stay clean but I have my doubts.

The second detour was at Red Dam Loop.   I started along the trail heading East and was able to hike about a quarter mile before I came to a fairly wide and ankle deep, stream. Based on knowledge of the trail and past experiences, I assumed there would be at least two more areas of deep water on Red Dam Loop and figured I'd spend lots of time cleaning my boots by continuing.  I decided to retrace my steps back to Chaparral and continue to Playground which I did.  I'd advise anyone reading this to avoid Red Dam Loop for the foreseeable future.

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk, toilets and a bicycle repair station available at Playground Parking Area.

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

IMPORTANT - The trail maps have been updated HOWEVER the trail maps at the info kiosk have not.  Trust the paper trail maps.

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout and back
User: MikeHikes - 12/1/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.60 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out      Bell's Trailhead > service road (S) > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Badlands > River Bend > service road (NE) < Cougar Lookout       6.0 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Javalina > River Bend (100 meters straight to service road) > service road (ENE) > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp > South Slick Rock > service road (NW) > Scenic Loop > service road (NW) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead     3.6 miles

Temps started in the low-50's, ended in the mid-60's. Sunny with strong and steady, westerly winds of 20+ mph.

Fairly easy hike along easy to see and traverse dry trails with little to no, vegetation covering them.  With the strong winds, most of the birds either stayed low to the ground or, conversely, high in the sky riding the currents.  Numerous small birds stayed in the scrub so photos were nearly impossible.  On the other hand, I saw a couple of raptors and vultures high in the sky, riding the wind currents as they looked for food. 

Most of the leaves have fallen so the landscape is colorless, except for the cacti, junipers and a few live oaks. 

NOTES

Water is available at the campground area by Bell's Trailhead.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at the Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area.

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Ghost Camp.

 

 

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 11/24/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 11.20 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Leg 1 -   Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park     4.0 miles

Leg 2 -   Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > East Potts Creek > Armadillo Trail (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lanky Lackey (20 m) > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park    3.9 miles

Leg 3 -   Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground Parking Area     3.3 miles

Temp started at 43, ended at 70.  Overcast at first but cleared to sunny with high clouds.  Light then steady breeze.

Due to park closure for hunting and Thanksgiving events, I hadn't been to the park for some time.  Today there were quite a few people out hiking, biking and jogging on the trails, perhaps trying to exercise away that second, or third, piece of pie they had a few days ago.

Trails were for the most part, dry and easy to traverse.  One notable exception was the northern end of West Potts Creek trail.  Since Potts Creek has water in it and the trail crosses the creek bed, the trail itself has a section that is very muddy.  Adding to the mud, today's weather was warm so the mosquitoes were out - I have a dozen bites already swelling up. 

The other exception was on Roller Coaster trail.  There are significant portions of the southern section of the trail with standing water and mud - VERY surprising since we've had no rain yet the water trickles down from the hill above.  No idea where the source is but this is West Texas and all water is welcome.

I saw a Kestrel and a couple of Eastern Bluebirds which is unusual; especially seeing the Bluebird.  The last Bluebird I saw was at the North Shore portion of the park; to the best of my recollection, this is the first time I've seen this bird in the South Shore section (photo attached).  There were some butterflies still fluttering around and quite a few low flying/ground hugging birds that would pop up, fly about five or six feet, then disappear in the scrub.  A temperature drop is expected tonight that will last for three days then a gradual warm up before turning cold once again.  I hope all the park residents have a place to stay lined up for this changing weather.

NOTES

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

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

IMPORTANT - The park trails map has been updated but the maps in the info kiosk have not.  Trust the park map EXCEPT in regard to Armadillo Trail; the new park map does NOT include it.  You will see trail markers (poles) with "Armadillo" painted on them at the junctions of Armadillo and East Potts Creek and at Armadillo and West Potts Creek. 

Park Mid-section Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction Loop
User: MikeHikes - 11/11/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 6.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out     Burkett Park > WSto LL Connector > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo (W) > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction     4.2 miles

Return 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > service road (NE) > at 1st junction, turn right (SSW) to Trailhead to Trailhead Trail (service road) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     2.3 miles

Temps started in low 40's, ended in mid 50's.  Mostly sunny with wispy clouds and a steady SW breeze.

The trails were surprisingly damp and in some spots, very muddy.  Trails have either been groomed or the vegetation has died off because there were no issues with seeing a clear trail ahead.  As usual, there were a few spots that could use some gravel or other fill in spots but overall, the trails were good.

Lots of small butterflies and grasshoppers were seen as well as a number of small birds.  No animals were spotted.  Our first freeze of the season is predicted to occur in less than 48 hours - I hope all the park residents are prepared!

NOTES

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

Water, shade and info kiosk at 5 Points Junction.

IMPORTANT - the trail maps available at the park office have been updated and the maps in the info kiosks have not.  Trust the new map.

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 11/2/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park     4.2 miles

Return Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parkign area                       3.2 miles

Temp started in low 50's, ended in low 70's.  Sunny with clouds, light breeze.

Leisurely hike along wet and muddy trails.  It rained two days ago and the saturated ground is still very wet.  LOTS of butterflies out today.  Bee brush is blooming as are some wild flowers.  Quite a few birds out as well although nothing unusual.  A very pleasant hike!

NOTES

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

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

IMPORTANT - Park trail maps have been updated and do NOT match the map in the info kiosks - trust the park map.

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Burkett Park
User: MikeHikes - 10/26/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.40 Miles Duration: 3 hours

Out     Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park      3.8 miles

Return Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area                    3.6 miles

Temp started at low-50's, ended at low 70's.  Intermittent northerly winds, sunny and very few clouds.

As my last report stated, the trails were wet, muddy, rough and rocky.  Lots of small birds out as were the butterflies.  I saw a few whitetail does and one fairly large 8 point buck - good luck to them as the park closed early today for a scheduled hunt.

Not much else to report !

NOTES

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

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

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout
User: MikeHikes - 10/22/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 1point5stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 10.40 Miles Duration: 5 hours

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Shady Trail > Trailhead to Trailhead (South - it's a service road) > North Scenic Loop > South Slick Rock > Lower Ghost Camp > River Bend Campground > Lower Ghost Camp > service road (W 100 yards) > River Bend Trail (go straight 200 yards) > Javalina > Cougar Lookout        3.9 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > service road (W) > River Bend (NW) > Badlands > service road (NE 30 yards) > North Slick Rock > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail (N) > service road (NW) > Bell's Trailhead    6.5 miles

Temps started in low 50's, ended in mid-60's.  Cloudy with intermittent breeze from the South.

Wet, muddy, rough or rocky - take your pick and one or more of those descriptions fit the trail conditions on today's hike.  We had a week of welcome rain which brought a much needed boost to the lakes and reservoirs; O.C. Fisher (at the park) went from 7.9% to 14.3 % - not much of a difference to many but a BIG improvement to the lake.  The North Concho River, which feeds the lake, for the longest time was dry in many places and was not flowing but today, it is flowing and adds even more water to the lake.  

The rains have also helped the migrating Monarchs (I saw many individuals but no large groups) by causing the Bee Brush to bloom once more.  Lots of other butterflies were present as well, all feasting on the numerous small flowers present. I saw about 20-25 Whitetail deer during the hike and for the first time, an American Badger.  

I was walking along Javalina Trail on my way to Cougar Lookout and as I rounded a small bend, I saw a badger about 20 yards in front of me.  I began to raise my camera and as I did, he ducked into a patch of prickly pear.  I waited a minute to see if he'd come back out but he didn't.  I walked slowly past and stopped about 20-30 yards away and waited.  After another minute, the badger cautiously lifted his head up and peered at me while he remained in the midst of the prickly pear.  After a few seconds, he turned and disappeared in the brush - all I saw was the top portion of his body as he scurried away.  The photo I took of him watching me from the brush wasn't worth much and I discarded it.  Oh well, next time I'll get a good photo.

NOTES

Water available at Bell's Trailhead in the camping area.

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

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

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracking Viewing Area.

SPECIAL NOTE - On the return leg, when I came down the service road from the Badlands Trail, there is a junction of trails at the base of the hill.  The iron post trail signage says "North Slick Rock" BUT when you reach the end of the trail, there is a wooden sign that says the trail you just traversed is "Dinosaur Trail".  This can be misleading.

ALSO - The park has updated their paper maps but have not yet updated the maps in the info kiosks.

South Shore Playground parking area to Burkett Park Loop
User: MikeHikes - 10/5/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 7.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Out     Playground parking area > Chaparral > Winding Snake > Burkett park        3.3 miles

Return Burkett park > Winding Snake (15 meters) > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey > Nature Loop > Horny Toad > Talley Valley > Chaparral > Playground parking area     3.8 miles

Temp started in mid-70's, ended in upper 80's.  Partly sunny with fairly steady, strong breeze.

Nice hike today along trails easy to see and traverse.  Park personnel have groomed more of the trails and cleaned up a "trouble spot" on Nature Loop.  Only negative was picking up a number of GU and BLOX packets left from last weeks trail race.  Oh well, not the park's fault.

There were few birds spotted except for Turkey Vultures however, this area has been innunated by small brown butterflies - at the park as well as in town.  Saw some of them resting/eating on the plants that will become tumbleweeds.  On the same plants, the caterpillars are also eating the small leaves.  Spotted a few Monarchs, as well as a few other butterflies, eating the remaining bee brush, gayfeathers and other flowers still blooming.

One unusual sighting - saw a turtle, about the size of my fist, at the beginning of the hike.  This is the second turtle I've spotted since I started hiking at this park 18 years ago so this was definitely a noteworthy sight!

NOTES

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

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

IMPORTANT - The new park trail maps are accurate with regard to all of today's trails.  The maps located in the info kiosks are not.

South Shore Playground parking area to Isabel Harte Loop
User: MikeHikes - 9/28/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes

ROUTE   Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Horny Toad > Nature Loop > park road to Isabel Harte > Chaparral > Red Dam Loop > Chaparral > Playground parking area       5.0 miles

Temps in lower 70's, sunny and a steady breeze.

Pleasant hike on a gorgeous day.  Due to an upcoming race at the park, some of the trails have been groomed and some have not.  The long, straight stretch of Nature Loop and all of Red Dam Loop haven't been groomed and need to be.  Otherwise, the trails are easy to see and somewhat easy to traverse - caution is always advised due to loose rocks/soil on the trails.

A couple of things of interest - saw a large gathering of migrating seagulls swirling in the air about O.C. Fisher (photo attached) and watched a Tarantula Hawk fly and drag a paralyzed tarantula along the park road going to Isabel Harte.  It left the tarantula in the road when we approached; we verified it was a paralyzed tarantula and walked away.  We watched and eventually, the Tarantula Hawk returned to it's prey.  Nothing we could do to help the tarantula since it was already paralyzed and would eventually die reagrdless if the hunter returned or not.  Life isn't always fair or pretty.

NOTES

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

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.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Lookout Loop
User: MikeHikes - 9/26/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
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.

 

NOTES

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.

 

 

 

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
User: MikeHikes - 9/19/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 11.10 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Leg 1  -  Playground parking area > Tasajilla Flats > Nature Loop > Lanky Lackey > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park       4.0 miles

Leg 2  -  Burkett Park > Burkett Trail > Potts Creek > Armadillo (W) > West Potts Creek > Roller Coaster > Lanky Lackey (15 meters) > WS to LL Connector > Burkett Park      3.9 miles

Leg 3  -  Burkett Park > Winding Snake > Chaparral > Playground parking area      3.2 miles

Temp started at 79, ended at 89. Partly cloudy, humid and steady southerly breeze.

Very pleasant hike today.  Most of the trails are clearly visible and easy to traverse with some exceptions.  The northern-most portion of Tasajilla Flats Trail has become overgrown due to the recent rains but on the positive side, the bee brush is in full bloom and the vanilla scent from the flowers is very pleasant.  

The northern-most portion of West Potts Creek has been worked on, however there is still a steep dropoff that requires some caution.  There are a few places along the trail where standing water is present, consequently, insect activity is high.  Speaking of insects, there was an inordinate amount of dragonflies buzzing about during the entire hike and as usual, the grasshoppers were also in abundance.  Few birds were visible although I spotted a juvenile male Vermillion Flycatcher and a Common Nighthawk. 

NOTES

Water, shade, info kiosk and toilets available at Playground parking area. IMPORTANT - when I finished today's hike, I went to get water and it was not on at the sink in the Men's Room.  Don't know why and I hope it is temporary.  If the water is still turned off, water is located at other toilets in the area as well as at the various campsites nearby.

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

IMPORTANT - As I've mentioned in my most recent reports, the park has updated the trail maps that are given out at the gate.  These maps are not 100% in sync with trail posts (notably Armadillo Trail which is absent from the map but is still seen on trail posts) and the maps displayed in the park's info kiosk.  If in doubt, trust the new paper maps!

 

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout and Back
User: MikeHikes - 9/13/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4point5stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 11.70 Miles Duration: 4 hours, 50 minutes

Out       parking area > Bell's Trailhead > service road (S 100m) > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Badlands > River Bend > service road (NE) > Cougar Lookout       7.0 miles

Return   Cougar Lookout > Javalina > service road (NE) > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Campground > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > South Slick Rock > Trailhead to Trailhead Trail (N, service road) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead > parking area     4.7 miles

Temp started at 73, ended at 85.  Most to partly cloudy, sporadic, light breeze.  Somewhat humid.

Some siginificant (for this area) rain last week "green-ed" up the park quite a bit and put some water in the reservoir, creeks and rivers.  Most of the trails were wet to one degree or another and it was very apparent where the rain water collected.  The trails are still easy to see but the vegetation is covering more portions than before and there are more areas that will need repair because of the water run-off or the longhorns and horses causing deep tracks in the muddy soil.

Bee brush is still in bloom (photo attached) providing butterflies and other insects with food.  Soon the Monarchs will begin their migration and will need whatever sustinence they can find.  Thistle is also making an appearance and there are quite a few prickly pear tunas are still evident.  Grasshoppers are abundant as well!

It was a good hike but a longer one than usual because of the extra hiking from the parking area across the river to Bell's Trailhead.

NOTES

Water available in the campground by Bell's Trailhead.  Toilets also available at other areas of the campground.

Water, shade and info kiosk available at Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area.

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

Water, shade, info kiosk and dry toilets available at River Bend Campground. Toilets are not serviced/maintained on a regular basis so caution is advised if you use them.

IMPORTANT - Park trail maps have been recently updated but the maps displayed at the info kiosks have not - trust the park's trail map if in doubt.

Park Mid-Section Burkett Park to Cougar Lookout and Return
User: MikeHikes - 9/1/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 8.80 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out      Burkett Park > Winding Snake (20 meters) > WS to LL Connector > Lanky Lackey (W 10 meters) > Roller Coaster > West Potts > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction > River Bend (1 mile) > service road (NE) > Cougar Lookout       5.6 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Flintstone> Trailhead to Trailhead trail (S) (it's a service road) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park      3.2 miles

Temp started at 79 ended at 90, sunny, no clouds, slight breeze.

Uneventful hike along familiar trails that were easy to see and traverse.  Surprisingly, not many people were out today - I expected more of a crowd on a Labor Day weekend but there were only four other people spotted.  I did see a couple of Whitetail deer, a cottontail rabbit, a four foot long greenish colored coachwhip and a few birds.  Some of the park's longhorns were out as well but they were content to lay or sit in the shade of the mesquites near a watering area and didn't bother me as I walked past.

NOTES

Park personnel have updated the trail maps but there are still a few minor inconsistencies when looking at trail signage and more importantly, the info kiosks.  The kiosks will be updated eventually as will the signage so rely on the paper map if in doubt.

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

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

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


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