By Teresa Biggar, BCO Event Leader
“We just passed the Dude Wipes.”
Oh, the joy of trail talk! When hiking a trail, you tend to look for unusual markers. This is especially the case if you hike in a group with different paces. Those markers are helpful to communicate where you are when checking in with each other. This package of wipes we all passed easily told our BCO friends exactly how far behind we were from them.
The Lone Star Hiking Trail is a 96-mile trail through the Sam Houston National Forest just north of Houston. It is the longest continuous trail in Texas often hiked in sections, but has well-marked, primitive camp sites for multi-day hikers. Several BCO hikers and I decided to hike the trail in sections to explore this beautiful forest. This is the second section for us — the 8.4-mile Tarkington section between TH#14 & TH#13.
The Tarkington section is just outside of Coldspring, about an hour drive north on I-69. The parking lots are well marked and just off busy Farm Roads. We started at TH#14 weaving north and west through the forest. The trail was flat, shady, and soft. Most of the way it was an easy hike, but there were a couple of areas that were overgrown. We passed three campsites of various sizes along this section. In a national forest camping is allowed anywhere, but these were nicely cleared and with fire rings.
There were a handful of hikers along the way, including one couple who had also camped. We also passed a hiker who was training for the Appalachian Trail. We hiked it out and back, exploring the campsites, for about 20 miles! It was a full day hike with the distance as well as stopping to enjoy the birds, flowers, and lunch among the trees.
Check out this beautiful trail near Houston for a stroll in the forest, or a training hike — and sharpen your Trail Talk!
Lone Star Hiking Trail Map:
TIPS FOR THE WALK:
• Wear long pants, long-sleeves, and hat to protect yourself. There are areas that are overgrown with high and low brush.
• I used my hiking poles to push the brush away from my body and feet, but they are not needed for walking support.
• Bring at least 2 liters of water, more if it is hot. There are a few water sources along the way, but they were stagnant.
• Wear insect repellent and bring more with you to reapply. The trail near Winters Bayou can get buggy.
• Keep your eyes peeled for snakes on the trail.
• Bring your phone or camera for some great selfies or artful photography!
• Park a car at each parking lot if you plan to hike one way.