Inks Lake State Park (primitive camp site this time)

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Kelly, Bettina and Judy in front of primitive camping site #3. Photo by Maria

Destination: Inks Lake State Park

Date: September 27 & 28, 2014

HikeCampHikers: Judy, Maria, Bettina, Kelly (Suzanne broke her toe and couldn’t make it )

Travel Time from Austin: 1.5 hours

Campsite: Backpack Primitive campsite #3. The primitive campsite ended up working great for us. You can’t park your car at the entrance to the primitive camping area but there is a unloading spot that we parked and hiked in, set up our campsite then hiked back to the car and parked it inside the park area and started our Saturday hike from the trailhead at the parking lot that is near the park headquarters.

The website for Inks Lake doesn’t have the Hiking Trail Guide posted so I borrowed this from https://www.sctxca.org. You can get a copy of this map at Inks Lake park headquarters.

Saturday Hike: The primitive campsite we stayed in is located along the yellow “Pecan Flats Trail Camp” area. We hiked the yellow trail to red to the blue loop and back to site 3 in the primitive camp area.

Sunday Hike: We packed up and hiked yellow to green and then on through the park to the trail in the Devil’s Waterhole area.

Camp food: We brought an ice chest so we could expand our dinner choices (and cold beer and wine!). We had a chicken salad contest between Russell’s bakery and Upper Crust Bakery. It was close but Upper Crust won.

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Government Canyon State Natural Area

Suzanne, Maria, Bettina and Kelly hiking along the Far Reaches Trail.

Suzanne, Maria, Bettina and Kelly hiking along the Far Reaches Trail.

Destination: Government Canyon State Natural Area

Date: April 12 & 13, 2014

HikeCampHikers: Suzanne, Maria, Bettina, Kelly, Judy

Travel Time from Austin: 2 hours. We took IH35 on the way to the park and ran into traffic. The Google maps lead us to a road that is gated off with no access to the park. We called and got directions from the helpful rangers at the park. Evidently we aren’t the first ones who have been lead astray by using google maps to get there. We took 281 to get back and preferred that route.

Park Notes: We were happy to find the Government Canyon’s staff informative and super friendly when we asked for insights on hiking in the park. Government Canyon has miles of trails which are well maintained and easy to follow. We weren’t quite so happy about the sharp, rocky tent pads at the campsites.

Campsite: G15 – Group Tent Campsite – walk in 60 yards. It  has a 16 person capacity but we were pretty tight on space with our 5 tents. The trailhead to the Recharge Trail is right outside this campsite making it convenient to get started on our hikes.

Bird of the Trip: Chuck-will’s-widow

Equipment Highlights: Bettina and Suzanne managed to buy the same shirt in the same color. It’s a Tech T Lite shirt by Icebreaker, 100% merino wool in Shocking (that’s the official color name, we called it coral). It’s lightweight and the has the super-power of being naturally odor-resistant. It seemed to work, they both wore the same shirt for two days of hiking and seemed completely un-smelly!

Saturday Hike: Started at trailhead right outside G15 campsite took Recharge Trail to Far Reaches, Wildcat Canyon looping back to Recharge Trail. We hiked about 7 miles.

Sunday Hike: Started at the same trailhead and hiked Bluff Spurs tail including two scenic overlooks. Total hike about 3 miles.

Here is a link to the park’s trail map. Below is a detail of the map with our hikes highlighted:

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Photos:

See more photos from the Government Canyon State Natural Area here.

Pedernales Falls State Park

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Sunday hike along Trammell’s Crossing Trail. (L-R)Judy, Bettina, Maria. Photo by Suzanne.

 

Destination: Pedernales Falls State Park

Date: January 25 & 26, 2014

Travel Time from Austin: 50 minutes

Participants: Bettina, Judy, Maria, Suzanne

Campsite: We stayed in site #56. Sites 31, 33, 34 & 36 looked to be some of the best in the park but they were taken when we arrived. We had reservations but you can’t reserve a specific site. We are finding out that if you want to camp anywhere in central Texas, reservations are a good idea!

Saturday Hike: Wolf Mountain Trail, 6 miles. The trailhead is not far from the park headquarters. This is the only trail that the park describes as challenging but it was about the same or maybe even easier than the Trammell’s Crossing loop we hiked Sunday.

Sunday Hike: Trammell’s Crossing Trail, 6 miles. Trailhead is between campsites 33 & 34. Watch out, we had to cross the river and it was freezing and slippery! A great hike! If I only had time for one of these two trails, I’d choose the Trammell’s Crossing Trail.

Here’s a link to the Trails Map and the Park Map. Below is a detail of the Trails Map with our hikes highlighted.

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Bird of the Trip: Ladderback-backed Woodpecker – we visited the Bird Blind and I highly recommend it! I’m so glad we have our birding expert Suzanne in the group, I would have probably never thought of visiting the bird blind without her suggesting it.

Camp Food: Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This soup was seriously good and perfect for a cold night under the stars. Thank you Bettina, your home-grown broccoli was delicious!

Equipment highlights: We were impressed with the performance of my new Baja Burner stove by snow peak. We also loved our new lightweight chairs – Maria has the REI Flex Lite Chair and I have the Alite Designs Mantis Chair. They were great for sitting by the fire! Bettina and Suzanne  spend their first nights in their new backpacking tents by Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 and gave them a thumbs up.

Lost Maples State Natural Area

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Lost Maples Primitive campsite E on our Sunday hike – Maria, Suzanne, Bettina, Judy. Photo by Kelly.

Destination: Lost Maples State Natural Area

Date: September 14 and 15th

Travel Time from Austin: 2.45 hours

Participants: Bettina, Kelly, Judy, Maria, Suzanne

Saturday Hike: Backpacked from the parking area at the East Trail trailhead to B primitive camping area. About a 3 mile hike with a steep climb to the camping area after passing the pond.

Sunday Hike: Hiked from B primitive camping area to the parking area at the trialhead of the East trail put our packs in the car and hiked the West Trail to the G primitive camping area and back to parking area at the East Trailhead parking area. Maybe 5 miles.

Bird of the Trip: Black-throated Green Warbler They’re such pretty birds and they’re migrants so it was passing through on its way from the northeast to central/south America for the winter.

Campsite: B primitive camping area

Camp Food: Incredible Pulled Pork Tacos by Kelly, Parmesan Cheese Crisp from Whole Foods by Suzanne. A few varieties of apples with honey crisp apples being the tastiest. Beer to go with the pulled pork was Hops & Grains Zoe Pale Lager. We wrapped each chilled beer in newspaper and then packed them in an insulated lunch bag. They stayed cold for over six hours. Yay! The breakfast from Suzanne: Natural High Strawberry Granola with Milk was really good.

Below I’ve highlighted our hikes on the park map:

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Photos:

See more photos from Lost Maples State Natural Area here.

2013’s Big Trip to Glacier National Park!

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This was Hike.Camp.Hike’s Big Trip of 2013 – if you read the about page you’ll understand what I mean. Glacier National Park is completely breathtaking both with it’s gorgeous scenery and it’s sometimes steep and challenging trails. You’ll get the idea when you look at the photos although I highly recommend seeing this in person!

Destination: Glacier National Park

Date: August 1 – 5th

Participants: Catherine, Kelly, Judy, Maria

Friday Hike: North Fork area, Bowman Lake, Numa Trail – out and back for a 12 mile hike.

Saturday Hike: Lake MacDonald area, hiked Sperry Trail to Sperry Campground and camped overnight for a 6 mile steep hike.

Sunday Hike: Sperry Campground to Gunsight Pass Trail out through Jackson Glacier Overlook for a 14 mile hike

Campsite: We had campsite #2 in the Sperry Campground, #1 looked slightly better but was taken. There are only 4 spots in this campground. If we do it again and the weather cooperates the campground at the Ellen Wilson Lake along the Gunsight Pass Trail looked incredible and completely empty.

Camp Lunch: Since this was a backpacking trip our food selection posed different challenges than our car camping hikes. Choices need to be as mush-proof as possible, nonperishable and hopefully light in weight. My selections included bagels and peanut butter, Naan bread and cheese rounds. Snacks were Kind Bars, nuts, banana chips, chocolate and GU which saved me many times along the hike when I was feeling out of energy.

Camp Dinner:

Night 1: Kelly prepared a great dinner for our first night of backpacking. Because of the stormy weather we ended up enjoying this in our hotel room! It was delicious:

Thai Mango Chicken and Rice – Serves 1 (from one pan wonders)

1/3 pouch chicken or 3 tablespoons of diced chicken
1/3 cup instant rice
3 tablespoons chopped dried mango
1 tablespoon dried bell pepper
1 tablespoon coconut milk powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

@home: combine everything in a ziplock plastic bag. carry the can or pouch of chicken separately

@camp: place bag in a bowl and just enough water to core. let stand 5-10 minutes. Stir in the chicken and serve.

Night 2: The night we camped out we had reservations at the Sperry Chalet for dinner. It was really tasty especially the desert! And we didn’t have to worry about carrying the jetboil or food for dinner on the trip which lighten the load.

Notes:

Photos:

Highlights of Day 1: Arrival at Evergreen Motel, a visit to the backcountry permit center for our permit, on to Polebridge, and a hike to Numa Lookout 12 miles out and back.

Highlights of Day 2: Hike Sperry Trail to camp at Sperry campgound from Lake McDonald 6 miles

Highlights of our overnight at Sperry Campground

Highlights of Day 3 – Hike Gunsight Pass Trail to Jackson Glacier Overlook, 14 miles

Lake Somerville State Park & Trailway

Destination: Lake Somerville State Park & Trailway

Date: June 1 and 2nd, 2013

Travel Time from Austin: 1.45 hours

Participants: Bettina, Kelly, Judy, Maria, Suzanne

Saturday Hike: Started on Lake Somerville Trailway from Nails Creek Unit hiked towards Flag Pond – out and back for about a 6 mile hike.

Sunday Hike: It started raining early Sunday morning so we didn’t hike on Sunday.

Notable Wildlife Sightings: many Roseate Spoonbills, American White Pelican (thank you Suzanne for identifying!) and many other birds that Suzanne will have to add to the list. A fawn, a raccoon eating a hamburger, spiders, scorpions and black beetles.

Campsite: 50 at Nails Creek Unit, the best campsite in the park!

Camp Lunch: Quiche (Kelly)

Camp Dinner: Pasta, pesto and summer garden veggies (Bettina) and Couscous (Suzanne)

On the road back to Austin breakfast: Cafe 290

Gear to add to list: Mallet for driving tent stakes, rain jacket

Notes:

Photos:

 

Colorado Bend State Park

Destination: Colorado Bend State Park

Date: May 4 and 5th, 2013

Travel Time from Austin: 1.5 hours

Participants: Bettina, Kelly, Judy, Maria

Saturday Hike: River Trail, Gorman Falls Trail, Gorman Springs Trail, Old Gorman Road, Cedar Chopper Loop, Lemons Ridge Pass – 9.5 miles-ish

Sunday Hike: Spicewood Springs Trail – 3 miles-ish

Notable Wildlife Sightings: Rattlesnake!, Armadillo, Turkey, Fox, Deer

Campsite: 2 and 1, stayed in 2

Notes:

Photos: