Tag Archives: Houston

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

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

 

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

 

1 Comment

Black Hawk Running Trail of the Houston area nestled in Dixie Farm Road Park and branching off into comfortable neighborhoods is a delightful find. Running trails in the Houston area are plentiful. Finding running trails that provide a runner with some basic amenities is easier said than done. Thanks to my Foursquare app I stumbled across the reviews and found it was a reasonable distance from my house so here we are!

Black Hawk Trail Dixie Farm Road Park

It is nice to see trees!

However, due to the short stature of the pines which line the trail and the gully you will find yourself baking as you stroll along at Black Hawk Trail. Much to my delight, there is a fork in the main loop trail we came across that had some wilderness appeal. Tall trees and thick underbrush. There was the pleasant scent of wood and foliage. It was very nice to experience the reprieve from the scorching sun.

Black Hawk Trail Dixie Farm Road ParkWhen I take my kids on trail runs I usually offer a compromise: First we run the trail, and if everyone is civilized and cooperates, we will stop at the playground.

I like when we can all find an activity at the same place.

Dixie Farm Road Park PlaygroundDixie Farm Road Park not only provides access to Black Hawk Trail but also has bathrooms, a towering playground with a supple fall zone and shade, picnic tables, workout station, and a front porch swing. Something for everyone makes it worth a trip and see how it fits your needs.

 

Check out the Black Hawk Trail Running Rubric:

With an overall score of 29 it is worth another visit in my opinion.

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  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 2
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 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

So, this is Houston, and in the Bayou City, we are constantly enduring significant heat and humidity. With that being a factor when considering the best trails of the Houston area to get out on especially during the summer I suggest early mornings or a day with a good breeze to help cool you off if you hit Black Hawk Trail.

What do you think about Black Hawk? How does the Trail Running Rubric help you decide where to run?

 

Happy (running) Trails!

Priscilla

 

 

1 Comment

trail running with my stroller
Me and my two youngest after a quick neighborhood jog.

Hi All! I am just getting back from my maternity leave, recovery and learning to manage my time. I'm easing back into my workout routine and I want to share my experiences using my stroller on local trails. I have always enjoyed trail running, I especially love it because I can have my children with me while I exercise. They enjoy riding in the stroller, checking out the scene, and feeling the sun on their face and breeze in their hair.

To aid in sharing my experiences on the trails I run, I have created a rubric which breaks down my personal preferences and how stroller friendly the trail is, using a point system. The higher the number the more desirable the trail. Many times there will be multiple trail options in a single park, or variation based on parking location. I will try to be specific enough to identify the route I took or the location I parked if there are multiple options. I hope to get out on the trails frequently, and I hope to share with everyone just as frequently, but weather conditions, health, other life obligations may keep me from getting out as much as I like. So, here I am - putting it out there - my goal, and please feel free to keep me accountable.

THE TRAIL RUNNING RUBRIC:

1 low quality 2 average quality 3 best quality
cost expensive, charge per individual small fee free
trail length requires laps to get adequate workout 1 mile minimum loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum
trail material broken sidewalk cement, grass gravel, dirt, sand paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc)
trail width hardly large enough for single single but easy to pass double wide, easy to pass, side by side
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
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
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
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
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
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water

Your questions, feedback on how I can adjust the trail running rubric, or suggested trails are more than welcome. I break things down by my experience of twelve individual aspects:  cost, trail length, trail material, trail width, bugs, view, crowd (quantity), crowd (culture), cleanliness, safety, parking and amenities. I use a scale to indicate preference, with the overall lowest score a possible 12 and the overall highest score a possible 36. Again, this is my opinion of trails as I use my stroller. I push a double Summit X3 (I love it!) and I estimate my total load weighing around 80 lbs, and it does not feel that heavy, but I notice other runners clearing the trail when they pass me. So, my opinion will be specific to my experiences and what I need in a trail while trail running to have my best workout.

I am looking forward to getting out on the trails this year and sharing my experiences with you. I hope you enjoy reading my evaluations and I appreciate your contributions! Happy trails (running!!)