Adventure Day: Hiking the LBJ National Grassland

I finally got out for another lone adventure day.  It was much needed, but I think I could have picked a better day…

I checked the forecast that morning, and even had my husband check the forecast.  There was a possibility for rain, but not until later that afternoon.  Plenty of time to get a hike in, and my husband says to go and have fun.  So I don’t think anything of it.  The sky is partly cloudy and it’s pleasant out.  I drive to my destination, and find the trail head after a few turnarounds.  The US Forest Service doesn’t seem to maintain these parts as well as more popular areas such as Colorado or Tennessee.  But I did eventually find the trail head.  I proceeded down the trail about 1/3 mile or so, when I hear rolling thunder.   Umm, not something you want to here when you are out on a hike and there is nowhere to hide.  I debate going back or not as I look at the sky.  It is growing darker and the thunder is closer.  Yikes!  I ran back to my car and called my husband to see if he could figure out what was going on since I didn’t have mobile data service out there.  Nothing much to worry about, should be just about past me in a couple minutes.  And it was.  It hardly sprinkled.  So half hour wasted.

 

 

 

IMG_0231
The trail head marker.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0237
Storm clouds moving in.

 

 

 

 

IMG_0238
After the rain passed. Partly cloudy skies again!

 

 

 

I started down the trail again and followed it a good ways until I came to a gate.  I have never been on trails with gates before, so I wasn’t sure if I went around it, or through it.  There was a hiking sign on the other side, but the trail was overgrown.  I looked around outside to see if anything looked like a trail there, but there wasn’t.  So I headed down the overgrown trail.  There were plenty of hiking signs, and I could tell that a trail should have been here.  And then I came to a downed tree.  The sign pointed ahead.  So I figured the tree was blocking the trail.  I go over the tree and on the other side, there is nothing resembling a trail.  No signs, no cleared way; nothing but overgrowth.  Well, there was a cleared area back at the gate to the left of the trail.  So, I followed that.  I think it was the horse trail and maintenance road.  But it got me to where I needed to be.  It was out in the open, not in the woods like the hiking trail was suppose to be.

 

 

IMG_0240
My first hike with a gate. I don’t know how I feel about the bullet hole… I know hunting is aloud here.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0241
The hiking trail. Umm, that’s a trail? You can see the next trail marker on the other side of the overgrown area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0242
This is where the trail should be.

 

 

 

 

IMG_0243
And here is where the trail ended. See the fallen tree? No idea where the trail is suppose to go from here.

 

 

I think I was on the horse portrion trail for most of the hike, which wasn’t too bad.  It was mostly sand though, which did make walking on it a little harder.  I did run into one group of horsemen, but they were on the footpath.  Clearly, the US Forest Service needs to get out here and clear up this confusion! 😉  Even the maps are hard to read compared to say the National Park Service.  But after that overgrown portion, the trails were better marked, even if I was on the equestrian trail and not the hiking trail.  But it does say it is a multiuse trail.  So I am not sure how the trails are suppose to work, parts being equestrian and parts for hiking only.

 

 

 

 

IMG_0245
This is the open field where the road/ equestrian trail is

 

Somewhere along the way, I did happen upon a short cut without realizing it.  The hiking trail marker pointed to the left of the gate, so left I went.  It crossed a road, and there was a trail on the other side, but it was not marked with the trail sign.  It looked well maintained, so I traversed it anyway.  It lead to another gate.  I figured that I just missed the horse trail again and proceeded down the trail.  I stopped for lunch in a shady spot, and it was quite pleasant.  That is until a big huge tree chopper came by and went up the hill a ways from me and began to bulldoze/chop through the trees.  Why, I have no idea.  They were perfectly healthy trees too.  It was sad.  As I passed him, I had to cover my ears.  It was such a horrid sound.  🙁  Along the trail, you could see what was left of the forest.

 

IMG_0254
Murder in the park!

And then, the skies started to darken again and a distant thunder approached.   I only hoped it was passing around me again, and not over me!  I kept on hiking, as I had no where else to go at this point.  I just tried to walk faster.  I was in a clearing when it started to sprinkle.  Luckily the woods were just ahead.  I made it under the trees just before it started raining harder and the thunder got worse.  I looked for a place to hide from lightening mostly, but there was not a good place, so forward I went.  I saw a lake to my right and prayed that it was the lake I parked by, though I was thinking I was farther away than that.  And my prayers were answered as there up the hill was my car!  Just as I started up the incline, it started to hail in pea sized ice pellets.  Ouch!  Those hurt.

 

 

IMG_0253
I don’t like the looks of those clouds and being out in the open field.

 

 

I was fortunate to have happened upon that shortcut, and it had kept me safe from being out in the hail longer.  I got in my car and drove home.  It was quite an adventure indeed!

 

 

 

 

IMG_0255
Got out of there just in time. Look at those clouds!

 

 

Overall, I had a great time and enjoyed being out in nature.  I am planning on going back someday and hiking one of the other trails out there. Overall, there are 75 miles of hiking trails to be discovered.

 

For more information on the LBJ National Grassland visit the US Forest Service webpage: http://www.fs.usda.gov/texas

What adventures have you had recently!  Post them in the comments below.  We’d love to hear them!  😀

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *