plectrudis's Logbook

Total Log Entries: 34  [List Them]  [Map Them]
Average Rating: 3stars (3.33)

Earliest Log Entry: 9/21/2015
Latest Log Entry: 6/11/2023

Average ratings are based on the published values and not the values entered in your own log entries.

Lots of kidneywood

A very happy stand of Texas kidneywood (Eysenhardtia texana) near the big waterfall. [Bull Creek]
Log Entries
Completely alone... Except the Chiggers
Steck Valley Greenbelt [Hiking] - 6/11/2023  [View Log Page]
Rating: 2stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: N/A
Pros: about 95% shaded, no one else on the trail the entire time. There were a bunch of deer running around, and (in early June) everything was very green and lush. Cons: Near the Steck/Adirondack trailhead, the inland sea oats almost completely obscured the trail. Tried to use hiking poles to keep the head off me, but hordes of chiggers found me anyway, as i discovered several hours later. Also, following the trail outbound wasn't hard, but couldn't my way back - there are lots of semi-trails wandering in various directions and then petering out. Had to take the Hyridge exit and walk the though the neighborhood, which is hilly, concretey, and very exposed at noon in June on a 93°F day. Loved the shade, but won't be rushing back.
Got a little confused, but enjoyed the proximity to the creek
Commons Ford - Waterfall Trail [Hiking] - 9/6/2021  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 2.20 Miles Duration: N/A

I never did find any trailhead at the park called "Waterfall Trail"--maybe they've changed the name?  So I first tried "Creekside Trail," (trailhead and parking at the red star on the map I posted) thinking maybe the waterfall was on the creek?  However, Creekside Trail goes downstream to its confluence with the Colorado--no waterfall here.  It's a short (~1.2mi round trip) hike, no steep bits, and plenty of shade.  There is also a meadow that's supposed to be good for birds.

Then I parked at the Prairie Trailhead, which is in the corner where the road makes an L (at the yellow star on my map).  There's no sign to guide you to the Waterfall Trail, but it's on the opposite side of the road from the Prairie.  Go up the lawn, past the empty house, and you'll see a trail going into the hilly scrub. That's the Waterfall Trail.  By my count, there were 2 huff-inducing hills and some gently wavy bits in between.  The waterfalls were both low, but nevertheless pretty, and as advertised, the second was more impressive. Again, this trail was mostly shady, which was very much welcome.

It was Labor Day morning, so there were more people than I would have liked, esp on the Creekside, but it wasn't mobbed or anything.  The humidity was _vile_, but I don't think that's the park's fault.

One of my favorite Austin hikes
Wild Basin [Hiking] - 11/27/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 1.70 Miles Duration: N/A

Pretty Hill Country scenery, nice views across the valleys, pretty creeks and a very nice waterfall.  The biggest drawback is that you park at the top of the hill, hike to the bottom, and then schlepp your way back up on the way back.  Worth it, though.

Lack of signage turned this into a death march
Pace Bend [Hiking] - 1/15/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 2stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 11.70 Miles Duration: N/A
If it were possible to navigate the trails in this park, it would be a pleasant fall/winter/spring hike, with plenty of trail available for long, medium, or short hikes. Nothing spectacular, but pleasant, if fairly standard, hill country grasslands and cedar woods. There is intermittent cover, but not nearly enough to make a July or Aug hike enjoyable. BUT. The whole thing is really poorly signed, the map doesn't even show parking lots or trailheads, and there are a number of gnarly trail junctions that are very difficult to navigate without signs. We lost our trail, we lost our car--what was supposed to be a 6-7-mile hike ended up being an 11.7 mile hike. Not fun. We'd probably still be there, wandering helplessly, if a very kind pair of trail runners hadn't spotted us, guessed that we were lost, and led us back to civilization. If you live in the area, it's probably worth learning your way around, but bring twice the amount of water you think you need, a fully charged cell phone, and, preferably, a GPS unit. Oh, and drop a pin where you park your car. The Well/Weil trail--an old Jeep track--offers the fewest opportunities for misdirection, so I'd recommend doing your first hike there. Or just don't bother--Muleshoe Bend and Grelle are ~10mi away, are prettier, and are easier to navigate.
Short, paved stroll in the woods
Stillhouse Hollow Nature Preserve [Hiking] - 1/7/2018  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 1star Solitude: 2point5stars
Distance: 1.00 Mile Duration: N/A
This trail was hard to find, as Google tries to convince you to enter through a gated apartment complex. In fact, you need to turn into the subdivision around the corner from the apartments to find the entrance--take Mesa to Burney to the tiny dead-end street of Sterling and there it is. But I'm glad I dead, as a short little excursion in pleasant surroundings was just what I was looking for. The whole trail is paved, though the pavement has become a bit wavy with age, so it might not be 100% accessible for the especially frail. The path winds though a small wood and eventually reaches a nice observation deck overlooking a little ravine. I thought the overlook was a bit of an anti-climax--you can't see much due to the density of trees, even in the winter. But for a nice, quick saunter, it's a good choice if you're in the area. Note that dogs are not allowed, as it's not just a park but a nature preserve.