Friday, May 7, 2010

Jones State Forest

Thursday, May 6

This place is for the birds...no, seriously, it is...



This 1700-acre state forest is Red-cockaded woodpecker habitat, the only woodpecker to nest in live trees.  The birds peck the bark around the entrance to make the sap flow, which keeps predators like snakes away.  I went to the Texas Forest Service's Conroe District Office to sign in and obtain the lock combination to the nature trail as instructed on the website and was informed that due to the construction project widening FM 1488 there was no access to the parking lot.  I could, however hike about a mile along the other trails to reach it.  

      

Unauthorized vehicles are not allowed, but hikers are welcome along the dirt-road-like trails throughout the forest.  Most are multi-use for horseback riding, hiking, and biking.  Road bikes are not recommended - bring the hybrid or mountain bike.  

 

The trails are clearly marked at intersections with street signs.    Look for the yellow signs (top picture) and green paint on the nesting trees to find the RCWclusters.

    

This is the head of the nature trail (hikers only).  Cross the bridge and follow the yellow blazes on the trees.



This trail is not as wide as the others, but not difficult to follow.  There are bridges and boardwalks across ravines so I would rate this as an easy hike for a healthy, reasonably fit person.  It is not wheelchair accessible and a person requiring the assistance of a cane will find it difficult if not impossible.  

When you come to this blaze:

 

Go right across the bridge to return to the beginning of the trail or stay left to hike the full one-mile length.   

This bridge: 

 

 ...is where you'll cross the creek if you're hiking the full trail.  It's also where you should start looking for this:   

It's a geocache.  These are like Easter eggs.  I need to get a GPS so I can find more of them.  This one was created by a Boy Scout troop.  You sign the little notebook and can take an item if you leave one in return.  I signed my name, my hometown, and left my blog address.  I wonder if anyone will come visit?  

 
Along the trails I saw squirrels, quite a few birds, butterflies, lizards, and even spotted a deer running across the nature trail.  I took the following photos in the butterfly garden behind the office.  

 


    

The squirrel clung motionless to the birdfeeder for at least five minutes...hiding...


I said I wanted to be a travel writer...I'm giving myself my first assignment - the Texas Forest Trail.  I can't start visiting and blogging about the national parks until July so I'll start closer to home.  I need to figure out how to add a separate tab just for my travel posts.    

12 comments:

Eternally Distracted said...

I love that bridge!

Brian Miller said...

cool place.....i would love to go geocacheing...that is a cool bridge. smiles.

Sage said...

Nice bridge. I've never done geocaching... It's amazing how the southern coastal forest look about the same all along--from NC to Texas.

jack69 said...

Looks like a great place to hike and enjoy nature. I really like well marked trails now, since age has caught up with us.
I have thought for awhile that Geocacheing would be a great pastime.
Take care, watch for ticks.

Kelly said...

Great photos!! That's a type of woodpecker I'm not familiar with.

Geocaching seems to be quite popular. A friend on one of my BOW events took a workshop on it and enjoyed it.

The bridge looks a little scary to me. I have problems with heights and "moving" things. It's why I hate a ferris-wheel! Funny, tho...I can fly with no problem and even got my private pilot's license at one point.

Jen said...

@Eternally Distracted: It is a fun bridge. They painted the wooden slats all those colors and it looks great in photos.

@Brian Miller: I think kids your sons' age would love it.

@Sage: The trees in this forest were thinned to help protect against pine beetles and to help keep predators away from the birds.

@jack69: It is a great birdwatching spot for sure.

Jen said...

@Kelly: They are very rare and endangered. I don't think many people have seen them in their backyard.

jack69 said...

Full hookups in State/Nat'l parks.
Most have water, some have elec, few have the sewer hookup for the RV's. Corps Parks along lakes are usually very good with most hookups. Keep traveling!

John McElveen said...

SUCCESS!!!!!


JOHN

PICS AND WORDS = PERFECT! THERE IS NO STOPPING YOU NOW!

Sorry- my caps lock affliction hit--- The Goecache is awesome!!!!

Jen said...

@John McElveen: I want to get a GPS and start looking for more geocaches. I think they're awesome, too. I might even make one myself and hide it. It would be fun to see who finds it.

Heather said...

Thanks for the lovely tour. Loved it!

To get new tabs: go to "New Post" then click on "Edit pages" and create your new page.

Jen said...

@Heather: Thanks for the tips. For now it's on my sidebar, but that may change.

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