The Houston area may not be famous for its scenic beauty or its prevalence of hikes, but it is only an hour away from the longest continuous hiking path in Texas: the Lone Star Hiking Trail.
The Lone Star Hiking Trail meanders through the pine-filled Sam Houston National Forest for 96 miles with an additional 32 miles of loops for a total of 129 miles. With 15 trail heads, it’s easy to break up the walk in smaller sections that can be completed in a day.
One of the Outbound Adventurers and I have had our share of mishaps on the Lone Star Hiking Trail, including this great example of what not to do in the great outdoors. Between droughts, controlled burns and flash floods, we’ve faced a number of challenges in meeting our goal to walk the whole trail over the course of a few years’ camping seasons.
On a damp February Saturday, we headed out once again, undaunted, to explore the area between trail heads 14 and 15, a segment called Winters Bayou. These are a few of the haunting and beautiful sights that greeted us when we entered the quiet woods.
Image 1: The misty Winters Bayou
Image 2: The concrete base of an old fire tower
Image 3: White fungus growing along the bark of a tree
Image 4: A metal bridge over a deep ravine
Image 5: Twisting vines
Image 6: A slippery wooden bridge over boggy land
Of course, a trip along the Lone Star Hiking Trail can’t be uneventful for us. This time was no exception. We made it 5.5 miles, then drove to another trail head to camp nearby for the evening. We had expected a bit of rain, but a glowing cell phone screen at 2:45 in the morning alight with a radar showing the full spectrum of green to red was enough to make us break camp and retreat to the RAV4. Fortunately, these vehicles are built for such emergencies, but it was the first time I have ever abandoned a campsite in the middle of the night before.
As beautiful as it is, the Lone Star Hiking Trail seems to mean bad news for me! Nonetheless, the enjoyment of the journey makes it worth the effort.