Saturday, May 23, 2020
Hike: Hill Country State Natural Area near Bandera, TX – Wilderness and Spring Branch Trails
Weather: Partly cloudy, breezy, HOT, mid 90s
Hikers: Ian, Court, Biff, Finn
Length: 4 miles
First hike of the Covid Era! We finally broke out of our quarantine and got out to some trails this past weekend. We drove out to Hill Country State Natural Area, one of the few places in Central Texas that we hadn’t experienced, near Bandera, just west of San Antonio.
The State Parks are allowing a limited amount of day passes right now that you have to reserve online in advance. As Texas starts to open up, people are flocking to outdoor areas. We got the last available pass for Saturday afternoon at HCSNA, but I think a lot of passes went unused, as there were still a dozen or so waiting to be picked up when we left the park to come back home.
The good old Texas heat is starting to hit and the dogs (and humans) haven’t acclimated yet, so this hike got cut a little bit shorter than originally intended. I did bring a ton of water, so the pups were well hydrated, but tired.
We started off on the Wilderness Trail, which was marked as “moderate”, but was really a pretty flat jeep trail for most of the way. This is prime snake country, but we didn’t see any on this day. HCSNA has a lot of trails that we need to explore, but we only did parts of two. We cut the Wilderness loop short and hopped onto the Spring Branch trail, which was more challenging, but also prettier.
There were plenty of lizards scurrying about, much to Finn’s excited delight. We had to stop and take a few breaks in the shade and drink plenty of water. The views were nice and the breeze coming down the hills was a welcome respite from the heat.
After a 4 mile loop, we were back at the car and cranked the AC for the 2 hour drive home. It’s now what I call “sunrise hiking” time in Texas, where you have to start early in order to avoid the heat. Hoping to add more hikes to the blog soon as we start up a delayed hiking season.