Trail Maintenance Hike in Sam Houston National Forest

One of our new members, Craig, is a member of the Houston Sierra Club chapter and suggested we might team up to do some maintenance on the Lone Star Hiking Trail together. I spoke with one of the leaders of these trail maintenance outings, and I think it would be a great experience.

This will be a wonderful way to give a little of ourselves to help others experience the same joy of hiking that we love. Trails don't take care of themselves, and the type of work we will be doing is crucial to their upkeep and safety.

Please make sure that if you sign up for this hike you actually go since we are partnering with another organization that is making accommodations for us.

Jennifer's Number:  [masked]

As some of you experienced at Pedernales when we were bushwhacking our way along the river, it doesn't take long for a trail to get overgrown and nearly impassable. Much of the LSHT is in bad shape due to fallen and sick trees that have not fared well in the drought. We will be going through a section of the trail clearing any debris that has fallen across it and opening up sections that have become overgrown while closed to the public.

There are 3 options to choose from for this adventure. If you are looking for a good workout without a ton of mileage, the first 2 options will be good.  It will be a good chance for some of you to show off those muscles.  :-)

1. Hike about a mile carrying in 2x4 lumber to make water bars on the Little Lake Creek to help keep water off the trail. One of the volunteers is marking where the water bars need to be.

2. Hike in less than half a mile and create anti-erosion steps along a washed out section of trail.  This will also require 2x4's

3. I will lead a hike along the North Wilderness Loop so that we can clear brush and obstructions from the trail.  This will be about 8 miles.  You can choose to go as far as you like and turn back if you aren't up for the full 8.  Since we will be carrying some tools (extra weight), this will be a good precursor for the Beginner's Backpacking Trip coming up.

Trail Map:  http://lonestartrail.org/maps/simple/01wilderness.pdf

Bring your daypack, two quarts of water, lunch, hiking shoes, hat, insect repellent, and clothes to fit the weather.  Also, if you have some useful tools like a hacksaw, lopper, hammer, sledgehammer, shovel, etc, you can bring those as well.  If you don't have tools, Betty will have some.

We will meet at 8:00 am in the parking lot behind the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) at I-45 North and Greens Road. Look for the gold Toyota Matrix (Betty's Car). To reach the parking lot, enter the feeder off I-45 North, via the Greens Road exit, and then pass through the traffic signal at Greens Rd. Turn right into the first strip center you come to (look for Brown Sugar's Barbecue) and drive to the end of the strip center. The parking lot behind IHOP is on the right.  We will then head out to the TH#2 parking lot off of Bethel Road where we will get started at 9am.

Thanks for the idea, Craig!  The events that I am posting have all been inspired by members of this group.  If you have something you would like us to do, let me know, and I will try my best to make it happen.

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  • Gary M.

    Great time. Feels good to help maintain the trails and give a little back.

    January 22, 2013

  • David B.

    We're going to have BBQ near the IHOP at Brown Sugar BBQ

    January 19, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    Once again, my number is[masked]-0936. Last minute reminders...wear layers that are easy to take off as it gets warmer, bring water, and bring a snack. If you don't have tools, don't sweat it. We'll see you in a little while!

    January 19, 2013

  • Susan

    Maybe it's too late for a question. I only have walking/athletic shoes, and no tools. Also, I am 66 but very fit, and I love to hike and meet new people. Please tell me if you think this will work. Thanks!

    January 19, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      Absolutely! We look forward to meeting you! :-)

      January 19, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    I'm surprised we aren't talking more about carpools. Possible locations to leave from: Galleria, Medical Center, Sugar Land, Katy, Spring...

    January 14, 2013

    • Richard B.

      See you at 7! Gary, Uptown park has a bunch of shops. Whats your phone number? You could message it to me at[masked] if you want to keep it private. About to head to bed, so see you at 7!

      January 18, 2013

    • Gary M.

      Meet at Starbucks. A little after 7.

      January 18, 2013

  • Gary M.

    It looks to be an awesome weekend. Highs around 60, lows around 40. Layers... wear layers. No rain in forecast.

    January 15, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    My phone number is[masked], but once in the forest I won't have reception. Please make sure to take the directions with you. Before each hike I get a dozen people calling me for directions because they never looked at the map. This takes me away from people who have real issues and need to reach me, and it kills my phone battery before I even start the hike. Thank you! :-)

    January 18, 2013

  • Richard B.

    I don't have much in the way of tools..

    January 18, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      Don't worry about it...we will have extras.

      January 18, 2013

  • Darrell M.

    Hi Again, There is plenty of parking for carpoolers (at least 20 - 25 rarely ever utilized spots) right behind the I-HOP at Greens Road and I-45. There are no threatening signs there to prohibit all-day parking. I will be "truck-pooling" with a couple others from Clear Lake area directly to the Forest, or I would go there myself.

    Also, I would not bother to bring a lot of sledgehammers. If Jane Prentiss requested it, I would think a 3 lb. mallet or reg. hammer would suffice. I personally can't envision the need for anything larger unless you all are planning to tear down and rebuild an old bridge or something.

    January 17, 2013

  • Stacey

    I'd really like to go, but can't make it this weekend. Perhaps there will be future events like this one?

    January 17, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      Yes, there will. With my other group I'm actually working with the Parks Department to possibly create a new trail in one of the State Parks near Austin. I'll keep us posted on that. There will also be more events on the Lone Star Trail.

      January 17, 2013

  • Darrell M.

    Hi, I would like to further note that parts of this area where I think that some of you all will be hiking or working is not strictly in the Little Lake Creek Wilderness Area where hunting is technically prohibited. Therefore, I would suggest that people consider wearing a bright orange hunting vest. I am not sure if it's required, as the main deer hunting season has ended, but deer hunting season for muzzle-loaded guns is still going on thru this weekend. Also, hog-hunting season is year-round. Nonetheless, it's a good precaution at this time of year to wear the orange vest and possibly an orange cap. Just a suggestion. In fact the parking lot and adjacent gravel road are not strictly in the Wilderness Area. A nearby trail is on the boundary of the Wilderness Area and I have heard shots in the woods adjacent to that trail in the past. Check maps at: Lonestartrail.org
    Finally, I would note that the I-HOP at Greens Road and I-45 has a lot of unused parking in the back.

    January 17, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      Thank you for all the good info, Darrell.

      January 17, 2013

  • Darrell M.

    Hi, I have done maintenance many times before on this trail and worked with Jane (Betty Jane) who is organizing some of the projects this weekend. For tools, I would suggest some loppers or small hand-clippers (very useful) and some light cotton gloves.
    A light handsaw that fits in a backpack also comes in handy. I will be working a project myself nearby at a Creek the same day, but will have all materials I need and probably some limited help. For Jane's projects, a shovel and hoe might come in handy. If anyone sees the need for a specific type of sign on the trail (post and sign), besides those already in place, please let Jane or myself know about it, as we have installed a lot in this area during the last couple of years, with permission from the Forest Service.

    January 16, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    I've been speaking with the Sierra Club leader who will be partnering with us on this. With the people from my other group joining us, we have 57 people signed up right now. This is the most they have ever had on one of these trail maintenance adventures. Sierra Club is extremely excited and has called in more of their own to join us. This should be a fantastic experience. Thank you all!

    January 15, 2013

  • Jean

    Is the I HOP location not for carpooling? I wondered about that, since it is a business & possibly towable location?

    January 14, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      The IHOP location is really more to caravan...not carpool. If some decided to carpool from there, I'm sure we could find a safe place to park nearby.

      January 15, 2013

  • Richard B.

    This sounds fun.

    January 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I need hiking boots any suggestions? Want to purchase them within the next 2 days so I can break them in before Saturday.

    January 13, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      Hi, Rozelia. I have tried a few types. The ones a recommend are hybrids or multisports. They are shaped like a hiking boot and have a stiff sole, but they are not solid leather. So they are lighter weight and you don't have to worry as much about blisters, etc. The ones I finally decided on were the Columbia® Granite Pass™ Mid OutDry® Waterproof. http://www.basspro.co...­ I got the mens boots because I wear a size 12 in womens (tough to find shoes). This is the comparable womens boot: http://www.basspro.co...­. I have never gotten a blister in these boots, and they will be good for any type of hiking we ever do...including national park trips.

      January 13, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks Jennifer

      January 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks

    January 13, 2013

  • Gary M.

    Anyone interested in carpooling from Uptown Park? It is about a 30 minute casual drive. I'll be there around 7pm, leave NLT 7:30. I can carry 3 others in a four door sedan. We meet at Starbucks. Ill have some tools, too.

    January 13, 2013

    • Jennifer B.

      You mean 7am?

      January 13, 2013

    • Gary M.

      Yes. I couldn't find a way to edit after posting.

      January 13, 2013

  • Jennifer B.

    I have just posted more details for this trip above. There are 3 project options for you to choose from, so there should be something for everyone!

    December 31, 2012

  • John M.

    Will we need to bring our own tools (machetes, clippers, saws, etc.)? Will the park be providing us with guidelines on what they prefer we do/don't do to their trails? Have the sections that need maintenance been figured out yet? How many miles of trail will we be attempting to cover?

    December 31, 2012

  • Jennifer B.

    Quick note...please make sure that your RSVP is correct. Since we are partnering with Sierra Club, we don't want them to expect 20 people and only get 5. Thanks! See you there!

    December 26, 2012

    • Tiffany I.

      Is the hike in Jan or Dec??

      December 26, 2012

    • Jennifer B.

      The date is posted...Jan 19

      December 26, 2012

  • Jodi A.

    Hi. Where is Sam Houston National Forest located? Am unfamiliar w/Houston. I'm trying to figure out if it's a day excursion, or overnight.

    December 12, 2012

    • Jennifer B.

      off IH 45 and US 59 about forty miles north of Houston. This can be just a day trip, but if people want an excuse to camp, we could camp in Cagle.

      December 12, 2012

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