I get a message from work saying I need to go to Greenville. Which isn’t far from farmersville.. where the Northeast Texas Trail starts. This trail will be 130+ miles when finished. It’s a rails to trails conversion. Many of the towns along the route are stepping up to the plate and making the effort to attract trail tourism. Farmersville is one of those towns. I finished up my work in Greenville and headed back west to Farmersville for what I do every day at lunch… hike or bike. I had the folding bike with me.. so I parked at the westernmost trailhead.. and headed east. The trail was paved or concrete the first couple miles.. then crushed rock. I road out about 3.6 miles and turned around to come back. A nice little ride on a 100 degree Texas day. The overall trail is still under construction. So a combination of biking and hiking over the next few months might be my best option. The NETT is popular with bike riders so far… I’m hoping to generate interest in hiking and push for better camping options.
I slept last night in just my mesh house. It was relaxing looking up at the stars through the trees. I got up before the sun for breakfast and found a spider my my lines on the tree as I reached up to untie them. We got on the trail by 630. We moved along slowly knowing we had less than 10 trail miles to the truck. This section has very little water chances, but we saw a few puddles. Not the sort of section you want to hike later in the summer. As we got less than 4 miles from the car is started raining. But off in the direction we were hiking we could see the sun. The rain falling through the trees was pretty.. but soon the humidity and wet grass was broiling us. The rain stopped and We got to the truck around 1030 and did a little camp showering with water we had. We drove over to pick up the other vehicle and into Huntsville to get lunch. One veggie pizza later I was a happy man. I sipped on liquids all the way back home to the kids. I’m now unpacking the pack and enjoying my rockstar welcome from the kids.
We started off shortly before 630 this morning from I45 near Huntsville. We had a couple mile road walk to get under 45 and over back into the woods. We hiked through the woods a few miles seeing little snakes in the trail. Before long it was back to another several mile road walk.
After a little rest we headed our down the trail and hit the midway point for the shortest path through the whole trail. Mile marker 48.
We came across another couple walking quickly in the opposite direction and they said they had seen us near Huntsville on the road. “You guys are hiking fast” they commented as they blew by in the other direction.
We stopped to filter water and took a moderate amount. Hoping to find more before dark. It’s 94 out today. Degrees and humidity. We burn through water.
We moved on through the forest and past mm51 and came to a forest road walking section of around 2.5 miles. This sapped the water we had just filtered. And the sun was sapping the energy. So we took a short break, knowing the trail back into the forest was soon.. and our goal for the day wasn’t far beyond that. But we didn’t expect to find water near where we wanted to camp.. so we hoped to top up.
As we were about to walk back into the forest we found a tiny puddle to filter. Yes. We were thankful for that.
A couple hundred feet up.. I reached the point where I’ve hiked in the other direction before. So as of today I’ve completed the entire trail. But we have a good three days of hiking for Kenny to complete the trail. And I’m working on my second time.
Chris “Flood” Feese and Kenny.
I typically run with a self-combined setup for tenting. I have a LiteOutdoors Silnylon 8×10 foot tarp, a MSR thru hiker mesh house 2 bug net with bathtub floor, 12 stakes (could use as little as 6) dynema lines, and niteize clip line tensioners. For poles I use my Gossimer Gear LT3C trekking poles. I have had option of adding extra lines and tentioners for ventilation or crazy terrain- 1.4 ounces.
The weight of the tent tarp lines, tensioners and stakes alone. 2lbs 0.5 ounces
Add 6.5 ounces of trekking poles.
I woke up on my own as the light got good. I hopped up and packed up quickly. Left at 6:30 from the LSHT parking lot 9 and headed to where I had parked my Samurai at an intersection of forest roads 9 miles away to the west.
Dehydrated squash from garden.
Clean trail runners.
The feet were sore from the road walk and I was in no hurry. I had switched to my new balance trail runners, that dry faster. Knowing I had so few miles to go, I wandered along looking at wildlife. After a couple miles I came across a stretch of trail that was not maintained at all.. the weeds and trees grew in to the point I couldn’t see blazes and had to wander in and guess. Luckily I was able to spot blazes from time to time and made my way along.
A sandy creek crossing.
I got started shortly after 6am from parking lot 14 on the Lone Star Hiking Trail. This is just barely west of mile marker 91 (The LSHT is numbered west to east.. but some “miles” are plus or minus distance).
The night before I had driven from Fort Worth, down to Huntsville and scouted trailheads. I have a way to tow one vehicle behind the other, and this lets me do my own shuttle. I camped in the back of the Tahoe at lot 14 and set my alarm for 530. I got up and got going right as the light was good enough to walk without a flashlight.
In less than two miles I came across a group of scouts camping along the trail. I greeted the silver haired lady trying to wake the kids and passed on through their camp as they were camped on each side of the trail.
I hiked the first couple hours in silence, admiring the view of the sun rising over the trees. I started seeing some water in low spots at about 4 miles. After I had hiked a little less than 7 miles I got some food out of my pack and walked a little slower as I ate. I stowed my food and got out my headphones to listen to an audiobook. Leaving one earbud out so I could hear the nature around me.
A couple who hiked the CTD trail had the mantra “10 by ten, 20 by two” (as in miles and hours) anything after that was gravy. I had 12 miles by 10am. 5 hours in I had 16 miles and came across the Double Lake Recreation area. A campground built by the CCC in the 1930’s. my guidebook had indicated vending machines. There were no vending machines. And right as I had my mouth set for a soda. I filled my water from the tap and asked a guy running on a golf cart about vending machines. I was told they were taken away during a change.
With an unsatisfied thirst I headed on.. I noticed several day hikers near the campground and once I got out of their range I stopped in the shade by the trail and took my socks off to air my feet as I ate. The asics trail runners I am wearing are not as breathable as my normal new balance trail runners, and the dew on the grass wasn’t drying from them. I had a tiny bit of cell signal and texted and made phone calls as I ate.
Food on my stomach and a bit of Gatorade endurance perked me up and I headed on down the trail. Before too long I came to the San Jacinto river.. the bridge has been out since a flood in 2005. I worked my way across it on logs and headed on up the trail.
Where I ran into a man coming my way with a hand cart, two posts, posthole digger, and a backpack 3 times as big as mine. He was headed down to put sign posts at the river crossing. He told me of things the forest service forced the volunteer trail maintainers to do. Now they aren’t allowed to run a chain saw without 3 people in a party. They aren’t allowed to clip with rose sheer type one handed clippers.. while alone. After some amusing stories and my complementing him on his excellent trail maintenance I headed on my way.
I hiked closer to water this time.. going past bits of the river. I’m hiking along listening to my audiobook.. when I feel a THUD on the front brim of my hat.. and off it falls a three foot snake. It was quite he start as it lands in front of my against my shoes. But I noticed immediately it wasn’t poisonous and it slithered off. The tree overhanging the trail had been a great place for it to lay in wait for prey.. but I was a little bigger than he planned. Since he was a flying snake, I named him Lucifer and pressed on.
Shortly after this I come to the 24-25 mile mark in my day.. and reach the longest road walk on the LSHT.. almost 5 miles of hot unshaded road. And I just finished my last sip of water.. rather than going back down the hill to the river.. I head out.. knowing the Suzuki I had left with water was less than 5 miles away. My feet.. good all day.. were burning with little blisters within a couple of miles on the blacktop. I stopped and taped my feet up and pressed on. Noticing little mud puddles of water I could filter if I had to. A little white church and a helicopter broke the scenery. The heat of the road walk off the blacktop sucked the energy out of me. I pressed on and made it the the gravel road section leading up to LSHT parking lot 9 in the woods. As I hiked up the road many of the locals were nice to slow down as not to dust me as they went by.
(Sucking the last drops out)
I reached the Suzuki well before 5pm, drank some water. 29 miles today. I stopped by a convenience store on my way to the Tahoe and got two Powerades and a snickers. I was hooked up and headed into Cleveland by 530. I’m currently eating at Agave Mexican Restaurant and a stop for a milkshake at Dairy Queen may be next.
Had a blast hiking Colorado Bend this weekend.