Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 31, 2014

Three Men and a Dog | 4

Thru-Hiking the Lone Star Hiking Trail

The Lone Star Hiking Trail is indeed a Texas treasure — a heaven for hikers. Over the seven days on the trail we hiked through some of the most absolutely beautiful scenery I have ever seen. Tall pines accented by blooming dogwood trees. Splashes of color swaying on fragile green stems reaching upward from the pine-needle carpeted trail. Every step of the way held interesting sights. And there is no way to describe the sounds made by the wind plucking notes on the trees like a master virtuoso.

Trees
One misconception about the trail is that it is all on level ground. Not so. The trail meanders up and down and through miles of the Sam Houston National Forest. In places, the trail follows winding bayous for miles, often bisected by these natural waterways. Footbridges make it easier to cross boggy sections or deep ravines. We also encountered mud along the way, that kind of mud that tries to suck the shoes off your feet. And, there are so many places where the trail gently slopes upwards for long distances, making the placement of each step a deliberate and sometimes painful exercise.

Omar and Bill Cemetary Road
Doing a thru-hike does require a few miles of hiking along Farm to Market and Forest Service roads. This is where we encountered so many dogs along the way. Every house along these country roads, it seems, had their fair share of dogs that sensed our approach and barked smack in an effort to scare us away. There are some beautiful properties along these routes as well as old cemeteries and fields littered with the debris of old farm equipment. At one place, an old helicopter and a Central American looking rock carving stood at the entrance to someone’s property. The Lone Star Hiking Trail is indeed an interesting trek.

Resting Along FM 946
Hiking the trail means factoring in times of rest along the way. These rest times were opportunities to sit silently in the woods, allowing us to look up at the sky through the tall pines. We also took advantage of these quiet moments to do a little foot care, to down some extra nutrition, and to study our maps. Every segment of the trail presented its respective challenge — an incline, crossing a ravine, dense and low-hanging overgrowth, mud, pounding pavement between trailheads, finding a water source or campsite. Each challenge made our trek all the more adventurous.

Crossing River
For several days, the one nagging thought in the back of my mind was how we would cross the East fork of the San Jacinto River. Not knowing how much water was in the river or whether an old log reported by other hikers was still the best way to cross the river made me anxious to get there. Worst case scenario would mean backtracking and taking a long detour. Fortunately, we were able to cross the river by walking slowly across the old partially submerged log. We all made it across without incident and saved time by not having to take the long way around.

Omar Climbing
I often had to remind myself to focus only on the mile I was hiking. I knew that if I could make it through that mile then I could make it through the next one as well. I also found myself taking advantage of the opportunity to pray about lots of concerns. I prayed for miles and miles every day, sometimes weeping, lost in communion with God. These are the moments that added a great deal of value and significance to my long walk through the woods. This adventure was about a lot more than backpacking and camping. It was about finding rest and refreshment in God in the midst of His amazing creation. I am thankful for the experience and find myself thinking about it often throughout the day.


Responses

  1. What a great experience. Thanks for sharing the stories.

    • Thanks, James, for following our adventure.

  2. Love the stories from the trail! Something I would love to do someday…

    • Thanks, Jason. I hope you can hike the LSHT someday. You will absolutely love the adventure. I hope to complete the loop portions of the LSHT someday soon.

  3. This has been a really helpful posting. My wife, dog and I are planning a trip there in April, so thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Enjoy your hike. The Lone Star Hiking Trail is absolutely beautiful.


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