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plectrudis's Logbook

Stats

Total Log Entries: 17 (Rank: 25th) [List Them] [Map Them]
Total Distance: 75.43 Miles (Rank: 29th)
Average Distance: 4.44 Miles

Average Rating: (3.56)
Average Difficulty: (2.10)
Average Solitude: (2.88)

Earliest Log Entry: 9/21/2015
Latest Log Entry: 1/2/2017

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

Photos

More typical Hill Country Vegetation further in

When you get further in, the vegetation looks more like a typical Hill Country landscape [Slaughter Creek Greenbelt]

Log Entries

Main Trail partially open - a good walk with interesting plants
Buescher State Park - 1/2/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A

The first 2 miles of the Main Trail are now open, which means you can have a 4-mile hike, which is definitely long enough to make the trip worthwhile. Buescher offers a much lusher, greener experience than most Austin-area hikes, winding through the Lost Pines and following a small creek.  There were lots of lichens, mushrooms, true moss, and Spanish moss, as well as a number of grasses, cedars, and lots of yaupon.  And, of course, loblollies.  We didn't notice any fire damage, but we weren't really looking for it, either, and we were there late in the day and didn't explore the park beyond the one trail that's open.

The stretch we walked didn't have a lot of elevation changes (which was fine with us) and no dramatic overlooks, but was a pleasant, intimate walk with only a few other folks on the trail.

Pretty waterfall, nice creek, interesting moss, very pleasant hike
Spring Lake Preserve - 12/12/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: N/A

This is another park in the San Marcos system (http://www.smgreenbelt.org/SMNaturalAreas.htm), similar to Purgatory Creek, but with less elevation change and a bit drier.  

It has typical Hill Country elements--junipers, cedar elms, opuntia, and karst-y rocks--but it also has (interestingly) a few pockets of very happy Spanish moss, plus ball moss and various lichens.  A nice, limestoney creek cuts through the park, including a very lovely multi-level waterfall right by a big tree veiled in Spanish moss--it a rather magical little spot.

There's also a pond with a small dock, and a handicapped-accessible section with tons of benches and picnic tables.  Altogether a welcoming, thoughtful park with enough trails to give you a nice range of options in terms of length of hike.

We entered at the south-most trailhead off of W. Laurel St, which let us walk for a bit, take a bathroom break at the Lime Kiln trailhead, and cruise on.  (Plenty of easy parking, but the only bathroom (a portapotty) is at the LK trailhead.)  Finding the W. Laurel St. trailhead isn't difficult, but it is weird.  Park at The Meadows center (201 San Marcos Springs Dr, San Marcos, TX 78666), cross the street heading right toward the utility area with a barn/garage and trucks--you'll see a blue reflector in a tree--head that way.  Pass the dumpster (for real), and on the left you'll see a trailhead and map.

Quieter Walk from Roy G Guerrero Park, Awesome Boardwalk
Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail - 11/7/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.01 Miles Duration: N/A

I've started doing the Ann & Roy Butler hike-n-bike trail on the south side of the lake, starting E of I-35 at the Roy G Guerrero Park. This has a couple of advantages:

(1) It's a heck of a lot less crowded than the main stretch of the trail, east of Mopac, with a somewhat more chill vibe.

(2) You get to walk on the lovely boardwalks that the city constructed over the lake.  

You can get an ~4-mile walk between Guerrero Park and East Bouldin Creek, including some really nice lake and city views.  Not a lot of shade, but for an after-work walk, that's not so important.

Felt a bit neglected, but saw some wildlife
Slaughter Creek Greenbelt - 10/31/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.60 Miles Duration: N/A

I parked at the intersection of Alsatia & Currin, and the entrance to the trail system had the sort of weedy, desolate look of a vacant lot, rather than the look of a park or nature preserve--lots of Johnsongrass-looking gangly weeds and an overgrown trail. It was Halloween, so maybe my imagination was running away with me, but it felt like the sort of place where people dump bodies.

However, if you push on through, it starts looking more like a typical HIll Country landscape (little bluestem, mesquite, and juniper) and less like a derelict lot. There's a nice creekbed, and a modest bluff climbs up over it.  And the animals are clearly thriving there--I saw a roadrunner, three deer, and a flood of butterflies.  There's some shade, but not a ton.

Despite being surrounded by suburbia, the trail was eerily quiet--I only ever saw 2 other people, which probably contributed to my general feeling of unease.

Bottom line: I probably wouldn't go out of my way to visit this park again, though if I were a local, I'd use it in cool weather/evenings, preferably with a walking buddy or a dog.

Some really lovely, shady bits--nice work on the plant restoration
Shoal Creek - 10/11/2016  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.32 Miles Duration: N/A

I followed the recommendation from the original poster and parked at the Randall's at 38th St.  This worked out well, but I didn't care for the several-block stretch on Lamar, which felt unpleasantly exposed and hectic.  Once around the corner and down along the creek, though, there were lots of cool, shady tunnels of green, and recent restoration work has added a bunch of nice natives, including bigtooth maples, Mexican plums, and a variety of oaks. I'll definitely come back here, especially in the summer.

The downsides are that it's a pretty busy trails--lots of joggers and cyclists--and the absence of bathrooms (that I could find, anyway).  Next time, I'll start further south, probably in the parking area off Shoal Creek Blvd.