Monday, January 30, 2017

Hike Report: Multi Trails at San Angelo State Park

The high today was expected to climb into the 70s with sunny skies. Donna and I felt it would be a good time to take a short hike at the park.

We're fortunate to have San Angelo State Park so near us. From our garage to the gate is literally only 3.5 miles. It's a great place to hike because there are about 50 miles of trails throughout the park.

We left our house at 10:00 with the temperature about 50 degrees but climbing quickly. We decided to put together a loop hike of several trails, including the following:
  • Chaparral Trail
  • Lankey Lackey Trail
  • Winding Snake Trail
  • Talley Valley Trail
  • Nature Trail
  • Red Dam Loop Trail
You can view all the trails on the San Angelo SP Trails Map, but keep in mind that not all the trails shown on the map are named. Also, we did not hike all the above trails in their entirety.

Almost our entire route today took us through an area of the park that was recently part of a controlled burn. As a result, everything looked much more open. Just over a year ago, I posted some pictures regarding a prescribed burn that had just been performed. You can view those pictures at "Prescribed Burn at San Angelo State Park" from December 12, 2015.

I started out wearing a hooded jacket, but I took it off after the first mile and was then wearing only a short sleeve shirt. It was simply a beautiful day for a hike. By the time we finished, the temp was 72 degrees. Basically, we hiked a loop trail from the parking area next to the Red Arroyo Camping Area near the park entrance to Burkett Trailhead and back. Below are the stats for our hike:
  • Distance: 5.4 miles
  • Duration: 2:13:51
  • Speed: 24:38 per mile
  • Elevation Range: 1808 feet to 1934 feet
I noticed that the Talley Valley trail near the start of the hike had quite a bit of erosion. I'm not sure of the reason. That area is heavily used by bike riders. Their use combined with heavy rains from the past year or so may be part of the problem. Overall, though, this is a good hike with several good ups and downs for exercise.

Also, the area downstream from the fishing pond between Isabell Harte and Burkett Trailhead was dry. The normally wet area along Winding Snake was completely dried up; we could have walked across it. In the past, there has always been water running along here. The fishing pond was considerably lower as well. I can't speculate on the cause, especially considering the good rain we've had the last year or so.

Below are a few pictures I took, but they really don't show the effects of the burn very well.

This area is usually very thick with mesquites. In warm weather, you can not see far at all. Notice the pale color of the prickly pear cacti.

The lake is still holding water well. Normally, it would be difficult to see the lake from this location due to plant growth.
Even though the burn occurred just about 2 weeks ago and it is still only January, we saw much evidence of new life, such as the greenery emerging from the burned clump above.

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