MikeHikes's Logbook

Stats

Total Log Entries: 286 (Rank: 3rd) [List Them] [Map Them]
Total Distance: 2,255.80 Miles (Rank: 3rd)
Average Distance: 7.89 Miles

Average Rating: (4.29)
Average Difficulty: (1.19)
Average Solitude: (4.59)

Earliest Log Entry: 1/7/2014
Latest Log Entry: 10/22/2018

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

Photos

San Angelo's version of Fall Colors

Mesquites are beginning to lose their leaves for Fall. Still quite a few flowers blooming for the Monarch Butterflies to feast on as they head to Mexico. [San Angelo State Park]

Log Entries

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout
San Angelo State Park - 10/22/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
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 about 20 yards in front of me, the badger.  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 yards away and waited.  After another minute, he 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 maybe 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
San Angelo State Park - 10/5/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
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
San Angelo State Park - 9/28/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
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
San Angelo State Park - 9/26/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
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
San Angelo State Park - 9/19/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
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!