Author Archives: priscilla

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This is The Elusive River Park Trail in Sugar Land and it is a wonderful way to get close to nature. While it is challenging to find for outsiders it is the backyard of the River Park subdivision neighbors. River Park Trail runs along the mighty Brazos River between Richmond and Sugarland on either side of 99 Parkway. I can wholeheartedly state, this trail is what I seek when I get out exploring and it is all too rare of an experience here in Houston. Trail entrances are discretely nestled between homes which back up to levees that surround River Park Subdivision preventing flooding when the Brazos River exceeds the banks.The Elusive River Park Trail in Sugar Land

 

The Elusive River Park Trail Rubric

1 low quality 2 average quality 3 best quality Score   
cost expensive, charge per individual small fee free 3
trail length   requires laps to get adequate workout 1 mile minimum loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum 3
trail material broken sidewalk cement, grass gravel, dirt, sand paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc) 1
trail width   hardly large enough for single single but easy to pass double wide, easy to pass, side by side 2
bugs doused in bug repellent and still leave itchy, mouth closed breathing carry bug spray, could get on with out it, possibly leave with a couple of bug bites like being indoors, a pretty butterfly would be a treat 1
view grimy, no greenery, no tree cover from sun and wind, no visual appeal in the distance or directly near by visual appeal either in the distance or directly near by, some greenery, some tree cover from sun and wind visual appeal both in the distance and near by, green, seasonal foliage, tree cover from sun and wind 3
crowd (quantity) too many people to maneuver as desired some passing required but doable comfortably populated ?
crowd (culture) hobo community directly off path, rude or abrasive individuals people keep to their self, not negative and not positive interactions with individuals friendly individuals on and off the trail, smiles of encouragement, helpful if needed ?
cleanliness   nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics spotless, clean 2
safety not getting out of the car, too dangerous share trail with bikers, some risk due to wildlife, surprise dark and scary and secluded tunnel or bridge, poor upkeep of trail material or signs minimal risks, visible security/police, well maintained trail material and signs 2
parking sparsely spots available in trail lot, street parking, may have to hike to trail, charge to park adequate parking in trail lot, some hike required to get to trail adequate parking in trail lot, no hike to trail 2
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limited water, limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water 1

The Elusive River Park Trail in Sugarland is actually a struggle to score, virtually impossible using my rubric and perhaps is more of a flaw in my rubric than the trail. The trail still earns a score of 20, without determining a rating for crowd quantity and culture. I left this blank because I did not see another person on the trail to make a crowd judgment. There is evidence people use River Park trails but the only people I saw were in River Park neighborhood just outside the trail. A woman walked her dog, and another neighbor asked how the trail was looking since it was about a month after Harvey and there was significant flooding.The Elusive River Park Trail

Let Me Give You The Breakdown

Cost, is free perhaps residents of River Park pay a maintenance fee with their HOAs? I am curious about that and I would love some input from a resident. Trail length is adequate, with loops and meandering natural paths as well as human-created paths, options seem endless. Trail material is challenging at most levels. Deep leaves, sand, rugged terrain with rocks, it is a workout even at a slow pace. Since I push a double stroller I imagine I struggle more than most might as I trudge along. I also found myself trecking off the intended trails, which is understandable considering the flooded Brazos River passed through the area dragging branches, and creatures, and debris along the trail making it was difficult to identify. This is why I can not provide accurate information about it's normal status is since I have only seen it at it's worst. Not that it was a bad experience, it felt more natural than I expected but was not surprised considering the location. Without a doubt there are bugs, so I covered myself in some Deet. Not my worst bug experience and not really a big deal. I found an unusual red spide with black spikes on it's back in a large web stretched across the trail. It was impossible to miss right at eye level, and while I found it frightfully intimidating I was not hasty in my retreat as I admired it's perseverance as it cut a large twig from her impressive woven home. The view of The Elusive River Park Trail is absolutely magical. Tree covered, trails right on the bank of the Brazos River. Dare I say it provokes a spiritual experience. Which is what I seek when I adventure out into what nature I can find in this big city. It was very clean as far as trash, considering the surging river from the banks, a couple of cans and a tire was really all I noticed. As far as safety, I feel there are some significant risks, which is not just the trail degradation but also the lack of people. I imagine it is not always such a danger, but the water swept tree branches across trails, the debris from the storm made other hazards. I could not see the trail most of the time, and unintentionally wondered off and had to turn around and go back on more than one occasion. The misplaced dirt and tree branches also made it difficult to watch out for some creatures with camouflage defense mechanisms. My heart raced, not just because of my great workout from the steep inclines I pushed my stroller up, but also because I did not feel secure. I suggest go with a group, and I always share my location with my Love and give him a time I will check in. It is absolutely worth visiting, but do take precautions. Parking is free, but it is in front of homes in a neighborhood. It is not much of a hike from the various trailheads, to an appropriate spot on the street. Amenities, there nearly are none. No bathroom, but the nearest city park in Sugar Land; Memorial/ Brazos River Park does have some creature comforts which I use before I head out into the wilderness of River Park Trail. There are some benches and some maps and trail name signs.  Just no real accommodations so come prepared.The Elusive River Park Trail

I am thorough and not brief, but I hope you find the information about The Elusive River Park Trail useful and occasionally entertaining. This is the information I feel I need and wish I had before I get out and explore any trail so it is my goal to give you the details so you can explore safely and confidently! Let me know what you think about The Elusive River Park Trail in Sugar Land or if you want to read about a particular trail!

Happy (Running) Trails!

Priscilla

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The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge

Did someone say The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge?! It was mentioned as I devoured a decadent slice of Pink Velvet Cake while sitting at a favorite Vegan options restaurant Bella Green (no Pink Velvet Cake is not vegan, what can I say. I am weak when it comes to sweets.) And while I may not have pumped my fist and given the idea a fullhearted cheer, I realized I can't turn down an invitation to join an effort to do something to better myself. (Do you want to join me?) The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge is a great opportunity for me to join a group of people who have the same goals so we can help keep each other stay accountable! I am already a vegan, but I think I will benefit most because I am weak when it comes to sugar.

So let's do The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge like Dr. Sara Gotfried would (find her book here) Her books have inspired me in my fitness and health journey and her book The Hormone Reset Diet is the model for this challenge. We will remove possible detrimental food groups from our diet, and eliminate a new item every 4 days. It is likely we will see the benefit of this food item being gone from our system by the third day, but we will maintain the elimination for the rest of the 30 days.The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge

The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge Schedule

Day 1: Remove Meat. Chances are you do not know the rancher or farmer who provides you with your meat. Consider this elimination to not only rev up your digestion but to also avoid those unwanted hormones and antibiotics the FDA allows farmers and ranchers to inject into animals to help them grow faster and avoid sicknesses shared in close quarters with other animals.

Day 5: Remove Dairy and Eggs. These are also at risk of being pumped with unwanted hormones and antibiotics as they come from animals. And if that wasn't enough: according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine "Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy". Which includes me, and I think statistically probably means you too.

Day 9: During The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge you must remove Sugar (all sugar, refined, honey, maple, agave, stevia)  I have gotten irrationally irate over eliminating this one in the past. I never wanted to be someone who could not have dessert a couple of times a day. I wanted it after every meal, and I wanted it to be a primary component of my breakfast. This one really should be obvious because sugar does not contribute to nutritional intake, we really can't deny that I just didn't want it to be detrimental to my health. I can't even pick a single link to prove this point because there are so many, just look it up.

Day 13: Remove Alcohol and Grain. I know most people won't argue that alcohol is healthy, but what most might dispute is grains. What many people know is grain is a Carbohydrate, and we know we need more than 50% of our daily intake of macronutrients to be Carbs. But, what we are failing to consider is vegetables are carbohydrates too! So, if we need to fill our plates with carbs it should not be with rolls and slices of bread it should be with broccoli and cauliflower and carrots and peas. So make that switch and see what you think!

Day 17: Remove Fruit. I know what you are thinking: "how can fruit be bad?" But if you look down to the midsection and find that to be your problem area, you may benefit from removing fruit high in fructose from your diet. Fructose is a sugar (remember sugar is bad) and what people, especially women may be experiencing is Insulin Resistance which is a precursor to diabetes. This includes dry fruit which actually has a more concentrated quantity of fructose.

Day 21: Remove Caffeine. Caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands so now you have adrenaline pumping, and blood redirecting away from the digestive system (not good) Then you start producing the hormone epinephrine which gives you that weak shaky hand symptom and if that was not enough you also are pumping out extra cortisol because your body thinks you need some to go with your adrenaline surge to deal with this (unbeknownst to your body) self-induced chemical stress. See how you feel after your chemical addiction subsides in 3 days and decide if you really need it.

Day 25: Endocrine Disrupters. Check your labels. Your lotions, shampoos, perfumes. Take it out of your routine at least for a bit. Watch out for BPA in plastics, and cans. Consider eliminating tofu and soy which have phytoestrogen. Steer clear of pesticides (no matter how safe the FDA say it is for you and your kids to be exposed to). Flame retardant substances, which are completely unavoidable but see what you can do.

Finishing Up The 30 Day Challenge

Day 31: If you plan to reintroduce any of the eliminated food groups back into your diet after The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge do so slowly. Take another 2-3 day before reintroducing another food group. If you find during those 2-3 days that your bloating returns or other unwanted symptoms resulting in weight gain or discomfort you should consider that particular food item be removed from your diet or consumed in limited quantities.The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge

As you read this list I imagine you think you might starve on The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge. I suggest you eat those veggies! Aim for at least ONE POUND of VEGETABLES  EVERY DAY (what else do you have left to eat?) On top of that aim to increase your fiber intake up to around 35-50 grams per day. Take it slow and work your way up to the higher side. On this subject, I also take this guidance from Dr. Gottfried's book The Hormone Reset Diet. Probably obvious: don't forget to drink your water, only water, and lots of it. There is a good chance that empty belly you notice is because you are thirsty and not hungry. Retrain your brain and your hormones and admire the results The 30 Days Healthy Choices Challenge! Let me know how it goes!

Best Health and good luck!

Priscilla

Explore The Trails at W.G. Jones State ForestWhen you think "Forest" do you think "Houston"? It's not my first thought! Believe it or not, you can Explore the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest located in Conroe it is a reasonably convenient drive just north of Houston. The extensive trail system at WG Jones State Forest is worth exploring whether you run trails like I do, or ride bikes or even horses. With those towering pines, the forest is a nice reprieve from the city and the sun.

Research and Application at the W.G. Jones State Forest

The property is affiliated with the Texas A&M University forestry system and used to determine best practices for trail erosion prevention and park conservation techniques. Markers can be found at various locations along the trails indicating a research site. There is also a ranger station located on the other side of the street from which you find the parking lot. It was closed when we went to Explore the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest.Explore the the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest

What to Expect When You Explore the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest

 

1 low quality 2 average quality 3 best quality Score
cost expensive, charge per individual small fee free 3
trail length requires laps to get adequate workout 1 mile minimum loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum 3
trail material broken sidewalk cement, grass gravel, dirt, sand paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc) 3
trail width hardly large enough for single single but easy to pass double wide, easy to pass, side by side 3
bugs doused in bug repellent and still leave itchy, mouth closed breathing carry bug spray, could get on with out it, possibly leave with a couple of bug bites like being indoors, a pretty butterfly would be a treat 2
view grimy, no greenery, no tree cover from sun and wind, no visual appeal in the distance or directly near by visual appeal either in the distance or directly near by, some greenery, some tree cover from sun and wind visual appeal both in the distance and near by, green, seasonal foliage, tree cover from sun and wind 3
crowd (quantity) too many people to maneuver as desired some passing required but doable comfortably populated 3
crowd (culture) hobo community directly off path, rude or abrasive individuals people keep to their self, not negative and not positive interactions with individuals friendly individuals on and off the trail, smiles of encouragement, helpful if needed 3
cleanliness nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics spotless, clean 2
safety not getting out of the car, too dangerous share trail with bikers, some risk due to wildlife, surprise dark and scary and secluded tunnel or bridge, poor upkeep of trail material or signs minimal risks, visible security/police, well maintained trail material and signs 3
parking sparsely spots available in trail lot, street parking, may have to hike to trail, charge to park adequate parking in trail lot, some hike required to get to trail adequate parking in trail lot, no hike to trail 3
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limited water, limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water 2

The Trail Running Rubric Breakdown

Cost; free (always worth three points!)

Trail Length; I didn't see every stretch of the trail on the property so I scored it a 3 for length. I have seen according to this site: https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/jones-state-forest/ there are 15 miles of trail total and I am not sure if that counts narrow offshoots from the main trails. I managed much less than that and I want to go back and explore more of the trail systems at W. G. Jones State Forest.

Trail Material; dirt, mostly, some sand, and grass and all reasonably manageable with my double stroller.

Trail Width; While there are some narrow offshoots, the main trail is actually the width of a vehicle with tire tracks indicating wear.

Bugs; present but no swarms. The trail is large enough you don't find those massive spider webs that usually spread across the trails from one tree to another.

View; I always enjoy the sights of tower timbers and the view is very nice and considering most of the area is swampland this area is less swampy.Explore the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest

Crowd (quantity); the trails were comfortably populated not too crowded and not few people. I felt safe.

Crowd (culture); the trail goes were engaged in their hike with their companions, be it horses, dogs, or family and friends.I saw a lot of people with dogs, respectfully, stand at the side of the trail while we passed by. It was a good crowd, and I didn't see anything inappropriate as reported in an article a couple years ago.  ( just do a google search the headline comes up)

Cleanliness; W. G. Jones State Forest has very clean trails. I may have seen an empty water bottle here or there but I didn't feel like it impacted aesthetics. If it bothers you consider taking a bag to pick up the left behind trash. The facility does practice a pack it in, pack it out policy but not everyone can be counted on to pull their own weight, and sometimes we need to pick up their slack. (It will make you feel good to help clean nature since nature can't clean its self.)

Safety; There is always a risk when hiking or trail running in nature but the environment feels safe. Stay aware of your surroundings and have a safety plan. I always share my location when I go on trail runs using my google maps app.

Parking; I found a lot on fm1488, the W.G. Jones State Forest website states there are 3 parking lots. These are dirt lots, and not exactly easy to find when the sign is obscured by some trees.Explore the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest

Amenities; are very limited. Bathrooms are only found at the ranger station across the street. You won't find water fountains or playground facilities, or really any other creature comfort, but plan accordingly to get the most out of your visit to W.G. Jones State Forest. I went on a day when the ranger station was closed, so I did not explore the amenities available.

Explore the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest

The W.G. Jones State Forest receives a score of 33 out of 36. I enjoyed my time and I will go back to see how much more of the trail I can run. The little ones liked the nature experience and asked a lot of questions. My oldest did not enjoy running (she usually doesn't) and her belligerent protests were the reason we cut the exploring short. Small increments keep us all sane in that situation.

Let me know what you think about the W.G. Jones State Forest when you visit. Or if you have any questions or comments; let me know! I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy (Running) Trails!

Priscilla

Post Harvey here in Houston and the trauma is still blistering and surreal. It became glaringly obvious early into the downpour that anything I have to blog about in regards to fitness would seem superficial and maybe even insensitive. My heart hurts for those who have lost their possessions which provided some physical comfort in daily life and for the loss of emotional comforts found in sentimental items which are irreplaceable. The most tragic news reports of those attempting to get to high ground the number still climbs of so many souls lost young and old.Post Harvey Here in Houston

There is a complete upheaval in all of our lives and while we would love for things to return to "normal" as if there was never 50 something inches of rain drenching and drowning our community it is becoming clear that we may all need to learn to cope with our new "normal".

Post Harvey Here in Houston

  • This may be a good time to seek out the help of a professional counselor, this is more than dealing with a loss of some kind but actually, this is a traumatic experience for all of us here in Houston. It is ok to need help and to seek help in all forms. Learning to cope with emotional and physical trauma is what you need to get you through and towards accepting a new "normal".
  • Debrief. Yes, that really just means talk it out. For all individuals involved in flood water rescues be it the professional or volunteer emergency crews or the families and individuals needing to be rescued it is so important to debrief. Now as wonderful as it would be to connect with those individuals who you were with during your emergency situation it may not be possible, but still, try to find someone to listen while you talk about your experience during such a high-stress experience.
  • Consider your safety, while you undoubtedly want to clear your house of debris and water damaged materials there are some precautions to take. While water is present in your home there is the risk of electrocution, or contamination, as your home dries there is the risk of mold or rot. While moving water logged items out of your home there is the risk of tetanus exposure or unwanted creatures being displaced as well as lift hazards. During all this manual labor remember to hydrate and rest when needed.
  • Watch out for scammers. Request credentials and references, Do not pay up front for services. Watch out for looters. These are the hard core folks looking to take advantage, activate your neighborhood watch. Use nextdoor.com as a resource for help as well as security.

Really, I'm sure you have heard all this before, I just wanted to put together a brief list of suggestions on how you can take care of you and your family during this trying time. I also suggest trying to finding the beauty and aw in natures power. This image is on the buffalo bayou.Post Harvey Here in Houston

This is just west of Sabine bridge, in front of the skate park and playground. The sandy bank is actually the pedestrian trail covered by silt. There used to be towering shade trees between the bayou and the pedestrian trail. I will miss that bit of shade and beauty but the impressive power of the water makes my mouth gape. And if natures power still shakes you up, which is understandable as it is only 3 weeks Post Harvey Here in Houston.Post Harvey Here in Houston

You can always divert your eyes until you can find something to remind you of how things used to be even if just for a moment. I never would have found this area of the trail had my path not been covered by water (Check out the first picture).

These pictures are taken at the Buffalo Bayou less than 3 weeks Post Harvey Here in Houston one of my favorite places in Houston. The Buffalo Bayou Partnership is a non-profit organization and they need your help. If you are interested in volunteering, donating, or making any suggestions go to buffalobayou.org to find out the details on how you can contribute.

Let me know how I can help! Please don't be afraid to ask, me, your friends, family, neighbors, church, or organizations how you can help or how you can get help!

Best Health!

Priscilla

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Thanks to Hurricane Harvey I am stuck indoors for my workouts until Houston dries up and honestly, the sky opens wide a few times a year around here. So, to keep getting my fit on I compiled this list of my go to Top 5 Online Workouts You Can Do Indoors from my favorite fitness experts and the best news; they are all FREE!! I like free and I like to workout in the comfort of my own home at least a couple of days a week and thanks to the professionals on these websites I have come to appreciate my body for its strength and accomplishments towards reaching my fitness goals.Top 5 Online Workouts You Can Do Indoors

Working out indoors is actually a huge market and the videos available are so diverse it would be impossible not to find something to fit your needs. just in case you ever find yourself stuck indoors because maybe the weather is extra rainy, or maybe there is a hurricane outside? It is super easy to make a million excuses NOT to work out when you have spent two days running around town making sure you have enough water and batteries to hold up in the house with your family for the next week and you are glued to the Weather Channel. So, to help you get motivated I compiled a list of the Top 5 Online Workouts You Can Do Indoors.

Top 5 Online Workouts You Can Do Indoors

  1. Fitness Blender offers a wide variety of workouts of varying lengths and all levels. I enjoy the streamlined style they present their video library and the details they provide in each video. These are great for a specific focus on particular body parts or if you are looking to achieve a particular workout like HIIT, strength training. If you are looking for an ongoing routine you can also buy a program. I have purchased an 8-week program in the past and I loved the plan!
  2. Fightmaster Yoga is an amazing resource for full-length free yoga videos. She provides a wide selection of videos from prenatal yoga, to Ashtanga and even challenges to help you build strong yoga habits like her Yoga Fix 90 Challenge designed to get participants to do yoga every day for three months.
  3. Myfreeyoga.com is a great yoga resource with videos from many different yoga instructors offering many different choices to meet your fitness needs. This is a great place for you to get to know the personality and style of all the yoga instructors so you can find someone you love learning yoga from. I really enjoy Yoga With Adriene, so funny and real.
  4. You Tube is perfect if you don't know what you like yet or if you want to change up your routine but need some new ideas. Get to know what you like and the personalities of the instructors. Just type in what ever fitness or any other specifics you have in mind like Zumba, or yoga, or if you need to see how to do a one legged squat
  5. Do Yoga With Me, of course, the site has yoga videos but I like that they offer Pilates. Check out the site for your choice of yoga workout or participate in a challenge. Top 5 Online Workouts You Can Do Indoors

I know there are millions of workout videos you can watch but check out the Top 5 Online Workouts You Can Do Indoors and let me know what you think! Decide for yourself what sites and what suits you. Feel free to make some suggestions with your favorite online fitness videos. Maybe a quick indoor workout is exactly what you need to take your mind off the terrible weather and it's always good to exercise.

Enjoy your workout stay inside and stay safe if you got a hurricane or a tropical storm in your neighborhood.

Best Health!

Priscilla

The Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston is a part of a much larger trail which runs through the entire Houston area. I have taken a hike through the untamed grasses of the Buffalo Bayou Trail in Katy, and I have taken a run through the Heights along the Buffalo Bayou Trail. But the Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston is my FAVORITE stretch of the trail. The trail is lined with parks, art installations, towering sky scrapers, the bayou (of course) trees and flowers and no matter the direction you head there is a good chance you will find yourself within walking distance of a spectacular eatery, event, or venue.Buffalo Bayou Trail in Downtown Houston

 


 

Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston Rubric

1 low quality 2 average quality 3 best quality Score
cost expensive, charge per individual small fee free  3
trail length requires laps to get adequate workout 1 mile minimum loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum  3
trail material broken sidewalk cement, grass gravel, dirt, sand paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc)  3
trail width hardly large enough for single single but easy to pass double wide, easy to pass, side by side  3
bugs doused in bug repellent and still leave itchy, mouth closed breathing carry bug spray, could get on with out it, possibly leave with a couple of bug bites like being indoors, a pretty butterfly would be a treat  3
view grimy, no greenery, no tree cover from sun and wind, no visual appeal in the distance or directly near by visual appeal either in the distance or directly near by, some greenery, some tree cover from sun and wind visual appeal both in the distance and near by, green, seasonal foliage, tree cover from sun and wind  3
crowd (quantity) too many people to maneuver as desired some passing required but doable comfortably populated  2
crowd (culture) hobo community directly off path, rude or abrasive individuals people keep to their self, not negative and not positive interactions with individuals friendly individuals on and off the trail, smiles of encouragement, helpful if needed  3
cleanliness nearly hazardous due to trash, very unappealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics spotless, clean  2
safety not getting out of the car, too dangerous share trail with bikers, some risk due to wildlife, surprise dark and scary and secluded tunnel or bridge, poor upkeep of trail material or signs minimal risks, visible security/police, well-maintained trail material and signs  2
parking sparsely spots available in trail lot, street parking, may have to hike to trail, charge to park adequate parking in trail lot, some hike required to get to trail adequate parking in trail lot, no hike to trail  2
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limited water, limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water  3

Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston earns a score of 32 out of 36! Keep in mind this is a score based on my typical experience and my own experiences vary from day to day based on the area or even the day or time of day. Some of the things I love or can ignore about the trail may be undesirable for you that is why I give a detailed breakdown below.

More Than 12 Reasons to Visit Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston

  1. Start with the cost: which is FREE (Yea!) Don't get me wrong, if you are in downtown Houston there is a good chance you are going to spend money, but there are days I go and I don't spend money so it is possible.
  2. The trail length is seemingly endless, although the Bayou does flow into the Houston Port I'm not confident the trail is accessible throughout the Houston area.
  3. The trail material varies, there are pedestrian paths made of an asphalt material and there are shared paths made of cement. The trail also is occasionally made of a gravel material. The trails that line the bayou do erode due to water and weather (nature really) and there may be some closures while repairs are made.
  4. The trail width is reasonable for passing on comers, the bike access trails are even wider and allow for safer passing space.
  5. There are bugs, those nuisance gnats that seem to linger right at face level. The combination ducking and nose and mouth exhale keeps them from entering the orifices on the face. (That is a special evasive technique I find effective when I see them ahead of me on the trail) I rarely see a mosquito and I do not use bug repellant on this trail. I have freaked at the sight of an enormous looming shadow which turned out to be a large butterfly. Before I knew what was approaching the growing shadow made my heart jump out of my chest and I felt compelled to duck down as I saw the giant shadow come across my own shadow looking like a pterodactyl and then the beautiful large wings of a black and blue butterfly dropped into my path and I gasped at it's beauty and laughed at my panic. (Oh nature!)
  6. The view is hard to beat! It is why people live in the city. Our city scape really does compliment the parks and bayou features that intersect our bustling community. This is one green space that feels like a buffer from the city and provides peace and nature while providing a constant reminder that you never actually left the city. Now, not that I want to be negative, but occasionally there is graffiti which does quickly get washed away by city maintenance. Also, the bayou is essentially rain water drainage, and especially after a storm, there is an unattractive collection of trash floating in the water. I see the city making an effort to keep the area clean and I appreciate their effort.Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston
  7. The crowd (quantity) is never too much. I feel safe when I pass and I never feel like if I were to injure myself I would wait for days to be found and rescued.
  8. The crowd (culture) is absolutely diverse. I have been cheered by other runners, I have had friendly chats, and inquires as far as safety and convenience. The people I meet are really nice, and the people I don't meet keep respectfully to their self, even the vagrants.
  9. The trail is clean. There is some washout from the higher ground after storms but I have seen this cleaned up over time by trail maintenance. There is the trash in the bayou I mentioned earlier but I have also witnessed the cleanup method, and they use a net funneling method to keep it from spreading downstream. There are trash cans lining the trail and also as mentioned before there is some graffiti in some of the underpass areas, but I don't think these linger.
  10. I feel safe when I run the Buffalo Bayou Trail at downtown Houston. The trail is regularly patrolled by security, maintenance workers, and mounted police. I am always on guard, which I feel is a necessary state of mind as a mother and in public. I have also witnessed convict clean up crews, so, there is that. I know there are wild animals on the trail, I have never seen any man eaters, but there are some underpasses where bats have made a home, and I personally have a slightly irrational fear of zoonosis, so watch yourself, but it is unlikely you have anything to worry about from the wildlife in the area.
  11. Parking is free in some lots and depending on when you come to the trail it may be metered. Free lots are located at the Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park, but it is small and can fill up quickly but there is parking across the street at the city lot C which is free on the weekends. The Lost Lake area also has a free lot, but it fills quickly too. It can be hit or miss depending on where you want to start on the trail.
  12. Of course the places I chose to park also accommodate my need for amenities. The Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park lot is near bathrooms, there are canoe launches, bike rentals, dog park, playground, open grassy spaces, water fountains, desirable sites, and attractions, food trucks park on the circle on Saturdays, I have seen a couple of ice cream vendors on various other days parked on the circle. The trail is within walking distance of a multitude of restaurants, museums, and other attractions. When the downtown events are in full swing people will walk the Buffalo Bayou Trail to get to these events and avoid parking directly on site or enjoy the leisurely walk.

    Runners Looking For Hills in Houston

    This trail may meet your needs if you are looking for a good HIIT workout. If the highs and lows on the trail are not enough there are stairs which take pedestrians from street level to trail level located at intervals along the path. These stairs make a great addition to the runner's workout especially those looking for hill sprints for that extra cardio kick. Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown HoustonThere are infinite possibilities for entertainment so get out on the town! The Buffalo Bayou Trail at Downtown Houston will not disappoint come explore our city up close let me know what you think!

Happy (running) Trails!

Priscilla


11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park TrailsThe Lake Houston WIlderness Park Trails may be my favorite trails to explore and hike here in Houston. I have compiled a list with 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails and I am eager to get back there and give the trails a run. The Lake Houston Wilderness Park has a $3 entry fee for patrons 13-64 with options for annual passes for individuals for those who visit frequently or a group rate for special events, there are also various fees for camp site rentals (follow the link above to inquire about the details). Submit your email and follow the contest rules to be entered to win your very own individual pass to Lake Houston Wilderness Park! Drawing will be held August 31st, 2017 so HURRY! This is real wilderness, with dirt roads, wild animals, and untamed trails.11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails

After studying the map (posted online and provided at the front) I decided to take the family on the longest trail or combination of trails, the Peach Creek Loop Trail which connects to the Ameri-Trail. Nearly the entire time we were protected from the sun by the kind and tall timbers. There were only small pockets of pipe line routes which are completely cleared of all foliage and was nothing more than a thin strip of waving groomed grasses as far as the eye could see. The trail follows the creek the entire way, which was one of my primary motivators for taking that trail. About 2-3 miles down the trail we ran across a cyclist, who was toting a rake. He said he volunteered to help keep the trail cleared using the rake to remove unruly undergrowth, leaves, and snakes. (He didn't see any snakes on this particular day) I asked about the trail's distance and he informed me that the map did not state the distance correctly. I can't say what the accurate distance is to make it to the end because we turned around shortly after we ran into that volunteer. (My oldest said she was tired and hangry.)

Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails Rubric

1 low quality 2 average quality 3 best quality Score
cost expensive, charge per individual small fee free  2
trail length requires laps to get adequate workout 1 mile minimum loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum  3
trail material broken sidewalk cement, grass gravel, dirt, sand paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc) 2
trail width hardly large enough for single single but easy to pass double wide, easy to pass, side by side  2
bugs doused in bug repellent and still leave itchy, mouth closed breathing carry bug spray, could get on with out it, possibly leave with a couple of bug bites like being indoors, a pretty butterfly would be a treat 2
view grimy, no greenery, no tree cover from sun and wind, no visual appeal in the distance or directly near by visual appeal either in the distance or directly near by, some greenery, some tree cover from sun and wind visual appeal both in the distance and near by, green, seasonal foliage, tree cover from sun and wind 3
crowd (quantity) too many people to maneuver as desired some passing required but doable comfortably populated  3
crowd (culture) hobo community directly off path, rude or abrasive individuals people keep to their self, not negative and not positive interactions with individuals friendly individuals on and off the trail, smiles of encouragement, helpful if needed  3
cleanliness nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics spotless, clean  2
safety not getting out of the car, too dangerous share trail with bikers, some risk due to wildlife, surprise dark and scary and secluded tunnel or bridge, poor upkeep of trail material or signs minimal risks, visible security/police, well-maintained trail material and signs 2
parking sparsely spots available in trail lot, street parking, may have to hike to trail, charge to park adequate parking in trail lot, some hike required to get to trail adequate parking in trail lot, no hike to trail  3
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limited water, limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water  3

Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails earns a score of 30 and of course, the experience can vary depending on the conditions of the trail at the time of any particular visit. From my experience and my opinion, it is a wonderful trail and I am eager to get back to see how far I can make it on that trail. I also was impressed with the calories burned even though I took the trail at the pace of a hike and not the run I intended. (Mostly because of those hangry complaints I mentioned earlier.) As you may have noticed in the bottom right corner 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trailsof the map my run App screen shot I show 1,200 calories burned during the 4.4 miles hiked. Which with my double stroller and the rugged terrain we managed at two and a half hours. Yes, I look forward to doing it again! So, I have come up with a list with 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails I have attempted to be as thorough as I can while also being as brief as I can. Honestly, I'm not known for my brevity. (Sorry!) However, I do cover all the topics addressed in the Trail Running Rubric and I think the details can be beneficial. Better to be prepared than to find yourself in a pickle (especially if you have youngin's and a stroller!)

11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails

  1. Starting with the cost: It was a meager fee to enter, and being the only adult it was a total cost of $3 and completely worth it! Consider a membership if you plan to become a regular.
  2. The trail length: more than adequate, and since the park has multiple trails to chose from I would think you have enough options as a runner to find something that suits your preference. For the trails I took, Peach Creek Loop Trail and Ameri-Trail it was so long I did not find the end during my time at the park.
  3. Trail material is dirt spotted with tree roots, sand and the occasional grassy area where the pipe lines run. For those pushing a stroller, I have done some research, and some may agree some may not but in my opinion jogging stroller with a locked out front wheel is going to be the easiest way to push through the sandy areas and it will be an intense workout that no wearable calorie counter can measure.
  4. As far as trail width it was as expected wide enough to navigate the double stroller, and for mountain bikes, but there were people stepping to the side to pass by my entourage and a decrease in speed was required to avoid potential hazards.
  5. The bugs were minimal during our visit but there are absolutely bugs. I received two separate accounts of massive swarms of deer flies attacking patrons in previous weeks during the summer. I saw a few large specimens of these deer flies drafting off my stroller, but we were never bitten. I did use bug spray with DEET and one of those bug repellant fans for the kids in the stroller, this may have helped. I don't love dousing myself in poisons, but a bite from a deer fly will make me run at speeds my heart and lungs and legs can't keep up, and then there will be tears, and bouts of panic...so I don't chance it and if I were you I would at least pack it on the run.
  6. The view is absolutely what I seek out when I get out in the wilderness. I want a view of water and a view of trees. This particular trail followed the Peach Tree Creek and it is a nice size creek. When we entered the trail head from the parking spot we were met with a beautiful red bridge and saw families playing in the shallows areas. It was a very inviting site especially in the heat of the day but because of the shade provided by the towering trees and the breeze coming off the water, we were comfortable with the conditions of the day. We did not come prepared to climb into the water to cool down after the two and a half hours of hiking, but next time we will!
  7. The crowd as far as how crowded and demographic was well suited for the area. Families, pets, hikers, bikers, campers, it was not too much not too little and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
  8. With regard to cleanliness the trail was clean, I did see a couple of full water bottles at a bend, I suspected it was left by someone further down the trail looking to lighten the load but to rehydrate on the return. I would have picked it up to dispose of if I thought it was actual trash. At some points on the trail, there are wide open areas where you have panoramic views of the creek. There did appear to be some dumping at some of these spots, but the deterioration and age of these objects were not unappealing and I found myself more curious than disturbed.
  9. Safety is always an important topic when in the wilderness. As far as the trail there is the potential for debris, which increases the risk of snake bite. Consider your surroundings and don't take any unnecessary risks. One particular danger my oldest and I faced was the tree roots sticking out on the trail caused by erosion. 11 Reasons To Explore Lake Houston Wildlife Park TrailsWatch your step, be sure your toes are protected in proper shoe attire. As far as the trail safety there were also some areas that were washed out, I had to get my kids out of the stroller to maneuver some of the areas where the trail falls off into the creek. I did find my mind was at ease with my oldest there to help me manage the little ones when they climbed out. As always when in the Bayou City, watch for man eating alligators. I did not see any, I did not hear warnings but water ways connect to each other and it would be naive to assume an alligator or two has never ventured to the vicinity. I was also informed that people get lost on these trails, and then have to call the ranger station area for a rescue. These people are at risk of dehydration or heat related symptoms which can be dire, be cautious. Make sure to tell someone where you are going and when you should be expected to check in, if something does happen to you, then your back up plan is for someone to look for you. Please do be safe, I always pack 3x the water I think I will use (the benefit of a stroller) but find a camel pack or wear a back pack and PLEASE be prepared and it doesn't hurt to study the trail maps before you get out in it. Ask for the paper map just in case your phone dies and come prepared and be aware. A typical risk no matter where you go hiking is getting caught in rising flood water if the weather changes suddenly. The sand on the trail does not only pose a risk of you possibly losing your footing or twisting an ankle but if you see sand on a trail it is logical to assume the river bed does occasionally cover that area. Don't go out for a day trip unless you know the weather forecast for that area.
  10. The parking situation also requires being aware of the maps and being directionally inclined. You don't want to park and then find yourself hiking along the road to the trail head. By the way, this is a dirt road environment, hiking the road to get to a trail will leave you covered in dirt every time a car drives by. Plan for parking, which is free, and adequate in most circumstances. Perhaps in the height of camping season, the parking spots become scarce but on the day we went in the middle of July it was plentiful.
  11. The amenities were primitive but suited to the situation, I honestly do not recall seeing a water fountain but there are toilets and even showers, which considering the dirt and sand we brought home with us (more than when we go to the beach) I might have our clan shower off next time and bring a change of clothes. Again follow the map to find the bathrooms, there are port-o-potties which I tend to do all I can to avoid so pay attention and spend a little extra time seeking that which might make you more comfortable. 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails

Let me know if I missed any important features or aspects of the trails and I hope you enjoy and find more than 11 Reasons to Explore The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Trails!

Best of luck! Drawing will be held August 31st, 2017

Happy (running) Trails!

Priscilla

 

12 Reasons Not to Work Out During Pregnancy

Doctors agree, exercise during pregnancy is safe and recommended for most women. Ideally, fitness and health are solid components of your life before you get pregnant. But, it is never too late to create healthy habits and lifestyle choices.

If you are just getting started with exercise now that you are pregnant or if you have been working towards a weight loss goal before you got pregnant there will be some changes to your exercise goals.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists considers the following nine conditions absolute contraindications to exercise during pregnancy. A contraindication is a situation which makes a particular treatment or procedure absolutely inadvisable. Basically, the danger or a serious health risk or even death for mother and or baby is greater than the benefit the exercise has the potential to provide for both mother and baby. Read the whole article for all 12 Reasons NOT to Work Out During Pregnancy.

9 Reasons Not to Work Out During Pregnancy

  • Heart Disease - If you are at risk for heart attack or stroke or other cardiovascular conditions your doctor will advise you not to workout during pregnancy.
  • Incompetent Cervix - this is where the cervix becomes weak, dilating early and leading to miscarriage or preterm labor.
  • Multiple Gestation at Risk for Premature Labor - There is always more risk involved with multiple gestations and even if everything looks great your doctor may still advise you not to exercise and obviously increasing your risk of delivering too early is ill advised.
  • Persistent Second or Thirds Trimester Vaginal Bleeding - Placental abruption and labor will both cause pain and bleeding but the complications and risks are too varied and something to have checked by a doctor especially with regards to exercise.
  • Placenta Previa - when the placenta covers the cervix; this also causes bleeding during the second half of pregnancy and exercise is not safe.
  • Preeclampsia or Pregnancy-induced Hypertension - High blood pressure is a serious condition with the potential for death for both mother and baby, and exercise will create more unnecessary risk for both.
  • Preterm Labor During the Current Pregnancy - Regular contractions with changes in the cervix putting the mother at risk of delivering before 37 weeks which should be avoided and exercise would not help the condition but only create more danger of delivering too soon.
  • Preterm Ruptured Membranes - Your baby is at significant risk of distress and you are likely to go into labor soon after your water breaks and even if just a little bit of water is leaking your baby is at risk of infections; it is not the time to get a workout.
  • Restrictive Lung Disease - When you have inadequate ventilation or oxygen, with exercise on top of that you will be putting too much stress on not just your own lungs but your baby will not get the necessary oxygen in the blood which is seriously detrimental.

3 More Reasons Not to Work Out During Pregnancy

  • Sleep Deprived - our health suffers, we become injury prone, our judgment lacks, simply make a rule that if baby (or anything) kept you up last night don't exercise until you feel rested otherwise you will do more damage than good.
  • Sick - of course use your best judgment here (if it hasn't been impacted by a lack of sleep!) A running nose may be no big deal but if you have pain or are expelling bodily fluids it is best to rest and get better before taking on some exercise during pregnancy.
  • Too Hot - Keeping your temperature at a normal range during pregnancy is not just for your comfort but for you and your baby's health. Especially during the first trimester the risk of the baby developing defects of the central nervous system.12 Reasons NOT to Work Out During Pregnancy

As always use your best judgment. Some people don't need any reasons not to exercise during pregnancy and choose not to as a personal preference (your body really is doing a lot of work already!) and some ladies will still try to work out even if they tick all 12 boxes for 12 Reasons NOT to Work Out During Pregnancy Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns and make sure your OB knows your plans to exercise so they can make sure you are healthy. Even if Doc says you are healthy for exercise consider your fitness level before starting and don't start with hardcore workouts or attempt any activities which put you at risk of falls even if you are experienced in those activities. You also may be thinking that because you are in your first trimester and more mobile and don't even look pregnant that you can get away with riskier activities. This is far from true and in many circumstances, the first trimester holds more risks to your growing baby than the second or third, just remember risk is never worth you or your baby's well being.

When I was pregnant with my first and third child I couldn't run. In fact, it felt like both my girl's skulls were grinding against my pelvic bone and the urgency to evacuate my bladder was always more significant than the actual output. I admittedly did not exercise with my first child but with my third, I taught prenatal/postnatal water aerobics and was able to maintain until the week before I delivered. With my second child, I was able to run during the second and third trimester and felt good doing it until the last two or three weeks before I delivered him.

While history reflects a different opinion in most; now doctors and professionals and even mothers recommend exercise appropriate for you and your comfort level during your pregnancy as long as there is no risk to you and your baby. And if you don't exercise during pregnancy for any reason, there is always after you deliver to get fit and healthy for you and your family.

Let me know what you think; exercise or "Naw my body is already working super hard so it is time to prop up the feet for 9 months every time life allows."

 

Best Health!

Priscilla

 

Sources:

aafp.org

Berk, Bonnie; Motherwell Maternity Fitness Plan; 2005

Brin, Lindsay; How to Exercise When You're Expecting; 2011

medecinenet.com

If you run in Houston you know or at least have heard of Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area which consists of a magnificent 500 acres that stretch along northwest Houston. So many Houston runners make this their go-to trail, and it makes sense: with it's towering trees and the babbling buffalo bayou you almost forget I-10 is a stone's throw away at times.Terry Hershey Park of the Houston Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explore Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area

While I love getting out for a run I feel even more passionate about getting out on trails that are tree covered especially when it is the middle of Summer and the temperature is in the 90's with a heat index of another 10 degrees due to humidity. Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area is such a great place to meet friends for a run, and of course, it has the necessary amenities for the kids like playgrounds and picnic areas.

Terry Hershey Park Running Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


With so many trails in the Bayou City, how do Houstonians choose? Some prefer proximity and convenience, some require a particular trail material, gravel or asphalt, some people just don't want their car to be broken into, others want a view of the scantily clad. This trail meets my personal standards for comfort and safety while running a trail with my children. Check out the

Terry Hershey Park Running Trail Rubric:

1 low quality 2 average quality 3 best quality Score
cost expensive, charge per individual small fee free  3
trail length requires laps to get adequate workout 1 mile minimum loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum  3
trail material broken sidewalk cement, grass gravel, dirt, sand paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc)  3
trail width hardly large enough for single single but easy to pass double wide, easy to pass, side by side  3
bugs doused in bug repellent and still leave itchy, mouth closed breathing carry bug spray, could get on with out it, possibly leave with a couple of bug bites like being indoors, a pretty butterfly would be a treat  3
view grimy, no greenery, no tree cover from sun and wind, no visual appeal in the distance or directly near by visual appeal either in the distance or directly near by, some greenery, some tree cover from sun and wind visual appeal both in the distance and near by, green, seasonal foliage, tree cover from sun and wind 3
crowd (quantity) too many people to maneuver as desired some passing required but doable comfortably populated  2
crowd (culture) hobo community directly off path, rude or abrasive individuals people keep to their self, not negative and not positive interactions with individuals friendly individuals on and off the trail, smiles of encouragement, helpful if needed  2
cleanliness nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics spotless, clean 3
safety not getting out of the car, too dangerous share trail with bikers, some risk due to wildlife, surprise dark and scary and secluded tunnel or bridge, poor upkeep of trail material or signs minimal risks, visible security/police, well maintained trail material and signs 2
parking sparsely spots available in trail lot, street parking, may have to hike to trail, charge to park adequate parking in trail lot, some hike required to get to trail adequate parking in trail lot, no hike to trail 3
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limited water, limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water  3

Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area overall score is a: 33 which means I will be back to visit the Terry Hershey Park and Running Trail. Since I know many people are too busy to read a detailed rubric itemizing and scoring each characteristic I personally find desirable in a running trail I provide the following summary of the Trail Running Rubric.

12 Reasons to Run Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area:

  1. Free to park free to enter, need I say more?
  2. Trail length is an adequate distance to get a legitimate workout, run out half the distance you care to run and then turn around.
  3. The trail material is a firm asphalt/ cement surface, which some may complain damages the joints, but for me running on loose sand or gravel causes my joints to twist when my foot pushes off and if it is dry conditions I end up sucking in dirt which is kicked up into the air giving me an asthma attack so for me I strongly prefer the trail material at Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area.
  4. The trail width is adequate for my double stroller to pass oncoming runners who are also double stacked.
  5.  Yes, of course, there are bugs, but none chased me aggressively, none ate me, and I didn't choke on any swarms. So good in my book. We did stop on the side of the trail and found ourselves in an ant bed, which required some evasive maneuvers but the kids and I came out bite free.
  6.  Great view. This is subjective no doubt, but for me, I like to see water (trail runs parallel to Buffalo Bayou), I like to see trees, I like to feel the shade of the trees, I like to have some hills for a sprint challenge but they are also a nice change of scenery in this coastal prairie.
  7.  Not too many people and not too few. Sometimes seclusion can be as much a hazard as too many people.
  8. The culture of the trail made me feel safe and comfortable. I didn't see people shooting up or passed out under bridges. People kept to themselves and respectfully scooched over when needed.
  9.  The park and trail both clean, I didn't see trash or graffiti on the trail as far as I made it. I saw trash cans in the park and on the trail.
  10.  Safe park and trail, as far as the trail being maintained. I felt reasonably safe with the crowd. There are bikers so caution is necessary and of course, the chance of some man eating alligator crawling out of the bayou is always on my mind in the Bayou City. The trail was closed at the Eldridge lot due to high water. Some of the reviews I read said the trail does get flooded with even small amounts of rain fall, I suggest following signs and warnings posted. Use common sense as conditions on the trail can change from day to day or even hour to hour.
  11. Parking is found in various places around the Terry Hershey Trail and I always choose a place that has close proximity to a bathroom. It is free to park, and in a lot which had pleanty of spots, I saw a couple of other places to park along the trail.
  12. Amenities are comfortable and maintained. Bathrooms with plumbing, water fountains, benches, gazeebo, picknic tables, playground. Not all parts of the trail have direct access to these creature comforts. I suggest parking at the park on Memorial Dr. for direct access to these things. You will find water, trashes, a shower (I dont know why) toilets and benches along the trail as well.

You should check out Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area and let me know what you think. This is one of those trails I suggest during the Summer months since the sun can get intense and decrease motivation to get out and exercise. Hope it suits you and your trail running needs here in the Houston area.

Happy (Running) Trails!

Priscilla

 

Countryside Park Running Trail of the Houston Area is actually located in League City and not only does Countryside Park have a delightful running trail but there are a myriad of attractions comparable to downtown Buffalo Bayou running trail (without being downtown) which means parking is easier if you want to hoist a canoe down to the water it is a lot less of a hike and no pesky stairs to maneuver. But, really I just run the trails and take my kids to the playgrounds these days. Maybe one day I will have some input on the water trails of the Houston area and when that time comes Countryside Park will definitely get another shoutout.Countryside Park Running Trail of the Houston Area

I Share My Secrets About Houston Area Running Trails

I enjoy a trail that has trees and water, one would think this is an easy find in this area, but I do in fact have to seek it out. So after lots of research, studying maps provided by city websites, and then double checking a Google map to make sure it is not some kind of exaggeration. I also then have to check the maps for best parking locations so I can be close to the amenities I require for my personal comforts, like the bathroom, the closest playground for the kids so I can use it as a tool to reward them for demonstrating desirable behavior while mommy gets her run on. It turns out, the work I put in before I ever set out for a trail run is extensive.

So, I feel like I should share some of these details with you about Countryside Park Running Trail of the Houston Area and the other trails in the Houston area! I can't be the only one who insists on peeing before I start a run. Here in Houston, there is a good chance I was in traffic for almost an hour before I arrived at my location it seems like a reasonable accommodation. But so many times I have pulled up after reading a boasting review of a local trail and there was no place to handle my personal business; which with potty training for the youngest children and my own personal needs...well let's just say that things are a no-go for me literally.

Countryside Park and the Running Trails of the Surrounding Neighborhood

Countryside Park Running Trail of the Houston Area is welcoming and easy to navigate. It does have some off shooting trails from the surrounding neighborhoods but pulling into the parking lot for the park it becomes clear this will have met my needs for comfort.  Countryside Park Running Trail of the Houston Area

Clear Creek borders the running trail and moss laden trees provide a canopy of shade and nature. My three year old was so convinced of these natural features he asked if we were in the jungle. Of course if you put your back to the creek you find yourself surrounded my 21st century amenities, like soccer and baseball fields, a covered basketball court, bathrooms, concession stand, sand volleyball court, horseshoe boxes, and playground, seating-o-plenty and back at the creek there is a small dock for paddle style boats to take the waterway trails.Countryside Park Running Trail of the Houston Area The area feels safe with the trail running along the backs of comfortable homes in well-maintained neighborhoods. We ran by a neighborhood pool, boys on bikes, and crossed a few sturdy wooden bridges. As the various trails branch off surrounding the Countryside Park Running Trail of the Houston Area, there are underpasses which have the familiar smell of guano. The smell reminds me of carpet soaked in cat urine and it makes my asthma flare up, but what better motivation to add some HITT with a quick sprint to clear the smell?
Countryside Park Running Trail of the Houston Area
Watch for wildlife and mud. I didn't get bit more than twice by mosquitos and I didn't feel it necessary to douse the family in replant.

Check out the Trail Running Rubric for the Countryside Park Running Trail of the Houston Area

1 low quality 2 average quality 3 best quality Score
cost expensive, charge per individual small fee free  3
trail length requires laps to get adequate workout 1 mile minimum loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum  3
trail material broken sidewalk cement, grass gravel, dirt, sand paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc) 2
trail width hardly large enough for single single but easy to pass double wide, easy to pass, side by side  2
bugs doused in bug repellent and still leave itchy, mouth closed breathing carry bug spray, could get on with out it, possibly leave with a couple of bug bites like being indoors, a pretty butterfly would be a treat  2
view grimy, no greenery, no tree cover from sun and wind, no visual appeal in the distance or directly near by visual appeal either in the distance or directly near by, some greenery, some tree cover from sun and wind visual appeal both in the distance and near by, green, seasonal foliage, tree cover from sun and wind  3
crowd (quantity) too many people to maneuver as desired some passing required but doable comfortably populated 3
crowd (culture) hobo community directly off path, rude or abrasive individuals people keep to their self, not negative and not positive interactions with individuals friendly individuals on and off the trail, smiles of encouragement, helpful if needed  3
cleanliness nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics spotless, clean  2
safety not getting out of the car, too dangerous share trail with bikers, some risk due to wildlife, surprise dark and scary and secluded tunnel or bridge, poor upkeep of trail material or signs minimal risks, visible security/police, well maintained trail material and signs  2
parking sparsely spots available in trail lot, street parking, may have to hike to trail, charge to park adequate parking in trail lot, some hike required to get to trail adequate parking in trail lot, no hike to trail 2
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limited water, limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water  3

I rate Countryside Park and Running Trail of the Houston Area a 30 out of possible 36. The score really doesn't mean one Running Trail is better or less desirable than another. It is about providing detailed characteristics about a subjective evaluation. By providing you with a clear guide for why I give it a particular rating you can better determine if this trail or any other trail is a good fit for you and your running needs. I bring my children, my friends, and their children; this is my number one factor - How does the trail effect them?

You decide if the Countryside Park and Running Trail of the Houston Area is suited to your needs. Give it a run let me know what you think.

Happy (Running) Trails!

Priscilla