Balcones Canyonlands NWR – Doeskin Ranch 10/19/14

October 19th, 2014

Hike: Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge – Doeskin Ranch, Northwest of Austin, TX

Weather: partly cloudy, upper 70s, breezy

Hikers: Ian, Court, Sara, and Ryan

Length: 3.66 miles

 

This was our first hike with Ryan and Sara.  We couldn’t have picked a better day weather-wise.  We hit the trail around 10:30am after an hour drive from Austin.  The sun came out about halfway through the hike and the breeze was nice.  This hike actually had some of the most elevation of any of our previous hikes in Texas.  Real switchbacks on the this one, but a short hike overall.  There is also a spring fed creek towards the beginning of the trail that is always running, regardless of rainfall.

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first creek crossing

first creek crossing

into a small wooded section before gaining elevation

into a small wooded section before gaining elevation

looking down the hill

looking down the hill

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at the top

at the top

 

This hike also had a lot of varied terrain.  From prairies, to woods, to more desert-like vegetation, it was constantly changing.  We connected several loops to make one big loop of a little over 3.5 miles.  We saw a couple of other hikers and it was nice to not have to share the trail with any bikers.

 

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Sara really loved these random man-made wood piles.  Kind of like cairns, but not sure.

Sara really loved these random man-made wood piles. Kind of like cairns, but not sure.

Not much wildlife, save a lizard, a turtle, and one rabbit.  Plenty of birds as well, but no Monarch butterflies, which supposedly peak in their migration through this area at this time.  This hike was very beautiful and actually exceeded my expectations.  It was great to have some elevation change and views compared to a lot of the flat Dallas hikes we had gotten used to.  It was a lot of fun to do with Ryan and Sara and hopefully they will join us for some more hikes in the future.

 

bat houses

bat houses

creek on the way back

creek on the way back

turtle!

turtle!

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old cabin

old cabin

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finish

finish

map elevation profile

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