Tag Archives: Running

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

Sugar Land Memorial Park is a beautiful park with a pleasant running trail. There is a decent space for parking, and the layout of the entire park allows for efficiency while providing pleasant scenery. One of my favorite features of this park is the BRunning Trailrazos River views.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoy the breeze that comes off the water while I am working up a sweat as I jog and push my double stroller.

The river is an impressive force of nature; local residents are all too familiar with it's power. At this very moment; while I write this; Sugar Land Memorial Park is actually under water, as the Brazos has exceeded it's capacity and spilled over the banks into the park due to the massive rainfall over Memorial Weekend 2016. Brazos River Flood Sugar Land Memorial Park

Safety is not optional, and I strongly recommend waiting until the park is officially open before trying out the trail and enjoying the other features of the park.

The trail is two loops which connect directly in front of the parking lot, almost in the shape of a figure 8. It runs parallel to the Brazos river, and at the south loop, which is closest to the skate park and dog park area there is a view of the Brazos as it goes under a bridge. The skate park has been closed every time I have gone to the park, and both the dog park and the skate park were under water the last time I went, which was about a week after the historic flooding event on Tax Day 2016.

The first time I went to the Sugar Land Memorial Park to run I appreciated the sight of a man doing what looked like Tai Chi with a samurai sword, under the pavilion in front of the water. It was peaceful and interesting to see, not an everyday occurrence for me.

The city website also indicates there are plans to continue the trail further west toward the bank of the Brazos. I look forward to the updates and hope to see the progress. It is part of an effort to connect various areas of Sugar Land by walking/ biking trails.20160408_090511 20160408_090444

Sugar Land Memorial 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)   2
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   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  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   3

20160408_090456The Sugar Land Memorial Park running trail earns a score of 34 out of 36. I often forget to wear bug repellent, and last time I got bit, and the worry that the kids were getting bit made me run faster to get them back to the car. So, while it is a motivator to pick up the pace, I do recommend bringing bug repellent on the trail. I try to avoid spraying the kids with Deet, it makes me nervous, so I use the clip on repellent and I feel pretty good about it's effectiveness in most environments.

While the score is similar to some of the other trails I have evaluated, I think it should be noted it is always give and take with preferred features. This has the water to help cool the air, but there are no trees to provide shade from the blazing sun. For some, no trees is a deal breaker. And while I prefer both trees and water, I have come to terms with one or the other around here.20160408_090621

I hope you get out and try the Sugar Land Memorial Park running trail after it drains and returns to normal. I look forward to getting back out there and exploring new areas and having a nice jog! Let me know what you think when you go, and leave me comments, and updates on the park and the clean up process as well as the progress on the extension of the running trails.

Happy Trails (running!!) until we meet again!

Best Health!

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!!)