Monday, April 12, 2021

Day 9: The End of the Lone Star Trail!

March 3: The night got a little cold. Not freezing--it wasn't that cold--but probably close to it, and it was definitely my coldest night on the trail. My sleeping bag kept me plenty warm, though.

I started hiking immediately as soon as it was light enough for me to take photos. I wanted to finish and get off this trail as quickly as possible. I had 11 miles to do to reach the end, and I figured there was a good chance I could finish by noon. Awesome! 

Early in the morning, steam rose from the rivers and puddles along the trail--just more evidence of how cold it got during the night--and I enjoyed watching the clouds of condensation swirling around the water.


See the steam rising from the puddle?

The first half of the today's hike was basically more of the same as yesterday, but the last half through the Winters Bayou section had a lot of swamp walking. I probably walked through more water in these 5 miles than I did the entire rest of the trail combined. It wasn't problematic--just different and reminded me a lot of the swampy sections of the Florida Trail.

Near the end of the trail, I crossed paths with four day hikers who had a few questions about the route and seemed delighted to find a real thru-hiker to ask.

And then, I was at the end of the trail. I tried asking the day hikers--who had just finished their own hikes--for a ride a few miles into the small,. nearby town of Cleveland, but they were actually headed in a different direction and not toward Cleveland. I was a little disappointed that they wouldn't go out of their way--Cleveland was only five or six miles away. It wouldn't have been a huge burden to drop me off in that direction, but I understood.

It was still much more than I wanted to walk, however, so I pulled out my phone and tried to see if I could get an Uber or Lyft to pick me up with the little bit of power still left on my phone, but alas, neither of them reported any vehicles that were currently available. I installed both of those apps when I was hiking into Forks on the PNT last year and it didn't do the least bit of good for me then, and it didn't do the least bit of good for me now. I idly wondered if I should just uninstall those apps. I have yet to successfully use either of them.

I celebrated my completion of the Lone Star Trail with a selfie. That was pretty much it. Just this selfie. =)

So then I resorted to my usual tactic at a trailhead with no service--I stuck out my thumb and tried to hitch a ride.

I spent about a half hour doing this with without any luck. The traffic on the road was good, but it seemed likely that none of them were hikers or would be the least sympathetic toward my plight. I didn't know how much longer I would have to wait before someone eventually offered a ride so I gave up. Screw it! I'd just walk into town. It wasn't too far to walk. Maybe it would take longer, but at least I knew I'd eventually get into town in a couple of hours.

And I started walking. The road walk was utterly miserable. It was a busy road with fast-moving traffic and didn't include much of a shoulder to walk on. At least dogs running loose generally weren't an issue, although several did bark to me from behind their fenced-in yards. The road walk also did not provide much shade, and it was a warm in the sun. A little bit of shade would have been nice.

But I covered ground quickly and crossed the San Jacinto River near the city limits of Cleveland a couple of hours later. The river was considerably larger than it was when I forded it 25 miles back, and I was really glad I didn't have to ford it now! 

The San Jacinto River was much bigger than when I forded it about 25 miles back!

I had made a reservation with the Motel 6 in town the evening before and asked about running water and hot water before committing to it. I wasn't going to make any reservations online while I was in Texas. No, I was going to call them up on a phone so I could ask about water, and especially hot water!

So I followed the road into town toward the Motel 6, but veered off at a Taco Bell along the way. It was past lunch time and I was ready for food that I hadn't carried on my back. The restaurant was open and even allowed limited dine-in seating which I took full advantage of. Being after the main lunch rush, the restaurant was empty of other customers which suited me just fine.

After lunch, I continued onward to the Motel 6. I checked in and plugged in my phone to start it charging up with only 7% battery power left. Then I jumped in the shower with hot water and took my first shower in 11 days--back in the days that I was still in Seattle.

My walking days were over.

I'm not going to blog about the next several days I spent in Texas--this blog is called Another Long Walk, after all! But for those you curious about the rest of my stay, Amanda came out later in the evening. The next day, we drove down to Houston to explore the Houston Space Center which was enormously interesting and fun. The day after that, we headed out to Waco to check out the Mammoth site and the Dr. Pepper museum

Mostly, we were just killing time until Saturday when there was the 18th Texas Annual Letterboxing Event just outside of Meridian, after which we drove back to Houston to fly back to Seattle. The end of another adventure!

'Twas another beautiful, clear day!

I passed by this designated camp. I wondered if the two hikers I met yesterday had camped here, but if they had, they had already left before I arrived.

The trail clearly followed an old railroad bed along this section.

The Winters Bayou section had a lot of water on the trail!

The trail crosses the San Jacinto River again, but this time there was a bridge to get across it. No fording this time!

Even when there were boardwalks along the boggy sections, they weren't always useful....

This river is Winter Bayous and what this section of trail is named after. And, fortunately, there was a bridge across this river because it would have been a deep one to ford otherwise!

The last mile of the trail, I started seeing a hint of the arrival of spring! =)

'Twas a long, miserable road walk into Cleveland.

There's just never enough pipelines in Texas!

These tracks look like they're about to undergo some maintenance soon.

The beginning of the end of my road walk!

And I stopped at Taco Bell for a late lunch. =)


GG said...

Did I miss it?
In the past you took at least one photo of your shadow.
I know it's silly, but I look for that photo.

KuKu said...

Too short of a walk -- I want more adventure blogs!

Glad you finally got a hot shower and Taco Bell is quick and filling.

When is your next walk? :D

Mary said...

I'll bet no one wanted to pick you up because the road was busy and had no shoulder! Dangerous!

AhHa! That's why you chose the Lone Star Trail! You wanted to go to the Letterboxing Event so decided to hike a trail to make that time more worthwhile. Or am I crazy?

I'm with KuKu - when and where is your next hike?

Nature Hikers said...

What? No bigfoot sightings? So disappointing ...