MikeHikes's Logbook

Stats

Total Log Entries: 312 (Rank: 4th)  [List Them]  [Map Them]
Total Distance: 2,446.80 Miles (Rank: 2nd)
Average Distance: 7.84 Miles

Average Rating: 4stars (4.27)
Average Difficulty: 1star (1.18)
Average Solitude: 4point5stars (4.54)

Earliest Log Entry: 1/7/2014
Latest Log Entry: 4/18/2019

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

Photos

Catching Some Shade

On the Chaparral Trail, this Roadrunner was catching some shade with a grasshopper in his beak. As I approached, he ducked into a bush with his lunch. [San Angelo State Park]

Log Entries

North Shore Park Extension
San Angelo State Park - 4/18/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 6.10 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Route - Park at the restrooms by the North Shore entrance then exit the park on foot and cross FM2288.  You will see a swinging gate that grants access to the park.  Round trip mileage is 6 miles.

Temps in the low 70's, partly cloudy then sunny, with fairly strong N by NW winds.

Once or twice a year, I hike this route which does not follow a named trail; instead, the trail is an old dirt road which fades into a single dirt trail as you walk deeper into the park.  There are numerous cow/animal trails crisscrossing the entire section of the park, nonetheless, the trail can be found if you look for it.  The trail ends at the fence line of a house on private property.  I recommend you come back the same way although you can follow another trail that runs parallel to the original trail for about 1/2 mile before you have to cut back to the original trail.

The main trail runs roughly parallel to the North Concho River - this river feeds into O.C. Fisher Reservoir located in the main section of the park.  It is recommended you stay on the North side of the river since private property runs along the river on the South side.  Additionally, the north side also has more trees and vegetation than the south side. Depending on the time of year, the vegetation may be thicker and higher than you'd expect. There are usually numerous members of the park's longhorn herd in the area so be aware of them - they'll leave you alone if you leave them alone.

As to the hike itself - this is one of the better hikes at the park to see birds you don't normally see elsewhere in the park due to the proximity of the river, the amount of shade trees and large swatches of grass and flowers.  Being west Texas, the river may or may not have water in it (it has quite a bit of water at the moment) which will affect the number and variety of birds you'll see. 

Ducks, Great Blue Herons, a Crested Caracara, Kingbirds, Vermillion Flycatchers, Western Bluebirds as well as sparrows, house finches and other birds were seen.  No animals besides the longhorn cattle were spotted and I saw my first reptile of the year - a lizard. 

The trail was overgrown with vegetation but fairly easy to hike on.  I made numerous forays along animal trails to the river as I looked for birds.  Some of these trails led to overlooks of the river, others took me to the river itself.  Caution is advised because these trails are NOT MAINTAINED and, some that go to the river, are fairly steep and slippery with loose dirt.

NOTES -

Before going on the hike, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you talk to park personnel to ensure the area is open to hiking since it is sometimes closed due to hunting when other portions of the park are still open.  Additionally, it doesn't hurt to let them know you plan to be there hiking.

I recommend you look at this portion of the park using Google Earth (imagery is listed as 2019).  If the imagery date is correct, the photos were taken in January or February since the trail is easily seen and not obscured by vegetation.

Water, info kiosk and toilets available at the North Shore entrance (where you should park).  THERE IS NO WATER OR SANITARY FACILITIES AVAILABLE ON THE ROUTE.  Make sure you take plenty of water and bring your own paper in case "nature calls".

North Shore Bell's Trailhead to Cougar Lookout and back
San Angelo State Park - 4/11/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 10.00 Miles Duration: 4 hours

Out      Bell's Trailhead > Trailhead to Trailhead (S) > Dinosaur Trail > Dinosaur Tracks Viewing Area > Dinosaur Trail > Upper Big Hill > Dinosaur Trail (S) > service road (NW) 50 meters > Badlands > River Bend Trail > service road (NE) > Cougar Lookout       6.1 miles

Return  Cougar Lookout > Javalina > River Bend (NW) 100 meters > service road (NE) > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > River Bend Ghost Camp > Lower Ghost Camp Trail > South Slick Rock > Trailhead to Trailhead (N) > Rocky Creek > service road (N) > Shady Trail > Bell's Trailhead    3.9 miles

Temp started at 67, ended at 76.  Sunny with a 15mph steady westerly wind.

Very pleasant day for a hike.  Yesterday, the temp tied the record high at 99 degrees, today it was 76 due to a cold front that moved in last night. 

The yellow flowers are back!  Large portions of the park have yellow and purple flowers in abundance.  There were numerous butterflies, including a few Monarchs, but not many bees.  There were many birds  and I saw my "first for this year" Western Bluebird as well as a Kingbird. 

The native vegetation is growing and some portions of the trails are shaggy.  Nonetheless, the trails are easy to see and hike on.

 

NOTES

Water available at the campsites near Bell's Trailhead.  I advise you to have plenty of water before hiking.

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

    IMPORTANT - Although there is a water faucet here that has provided water in the past, there has been NO WATER AVAILABLE for at least three weeks (or more).  Don't know when, if ever, the water will be available.

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

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

    CAUTION is advised if you use the toilets due to insects, reptiles and possibly no TP available.

Park Mid-section Burkett Park to 5 Points Junction Loop
San Angelo State Park - 3/27/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 6.50 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Out     Burkett Park > WS to LL Connector > Roller Coaster > West Potts Creek > Armadillo > Turkey Creek > 5 Points Junction    4.0 miles

Return 5 Points Junction > Flintstone (S) > service road (NNE) > service road (SSE) > Burkett Trail > Burkett Park     2.5 miles

Temps started in low 60's, ended in low 70's.  Slight overcast with somewhat steady breeze.

An easy hike along dry and easy to see trails.  The yellow flowers are still present but the blue/purple flowers are multiplying in number.  There was a faint perfume to the air but since the agaritas have lost their blooms, the scent is faint.  In the near future, Bee Brush will have it's tiny, white vanilla scented flowers blooming.

Saw a large Javalina run across the trail about 30 yards in front of me - I readied the camera to capture a photo of the "family" but no family appeared.  Numerous birds were singing, the trails were nice and the weather was great - a very nice hike!

NOTES

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

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

South Shore Playground Parking Area to Armadillo Ridge Figure 8
San Angelo State Park - 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
San Angelo State Park - 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.