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.
...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.