'Shroom Trail & Long Road Walk
By Lone_Star on 6/2/2013
Distance: 19.80 Miles Duration: 7 hours, 15 minutes
The Phelps Section of the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) was closed for many months due to dead and fallen trees resulting from a drought, so I was pleased to find this section was recently reopened and decided to hike it.
In comparison to the other sections of the LSHT, this section was disappointing and long. For explanatory purposes, I would like to break this trail log into two sections, which I will call "The 'Shroom Trail" and "The Long Road Walk".
The trailhead starts off Evelyn Lane, which is a narrow residential road off Hwy 75 near Huntsville. There is no parking lot, so I had to park my vehicle along the side of the road. There is also no trail registration or information kiosk. Only a basic trailhead with a trail that leads off into the woods. The trail is adjacent to a plot of private property, but it soon disappears into the depths of the woods.
The trail is surrounded by countless numbers of pines and heavy vegetation, which makes it well-shaded. The downside, however, is there is not a lot to see or photograph. What I found most interesting were the large number and variety of wild mushrooms of various colors and shapes.
Like the rest of the LSHT, mile markers are posted to help you gauge your location. The trail was still overgrown in parts and in need of some maintenance, but since the trail had been closed for many months I did not find this to be a surprise.
Most of the trail keeps you in the woods, but there are a few places where I had to cross a utility right of way or walk down a dirt road (another part of Evelyn Lane)to get to the next place where the trail dives back into the woods. This short dirt road walk is necessary because there are some pieces of private property that the LSHT has to go around.
Shortly after mile marker 42, the trail runs into and follows FM 2296 and the "Long Road Walk" begins.
THE LONG ROAD WALK:
I'll be frank and say I do not like road walks. I find them to be extremely boring and, in some cases, a little dangerous. In the case of FM 2296, the posted speed limit is 70 mph, so cars and trucks whip by you at that speed or faster. I only had to walk along FM 2296 for 1/2 mile, but it felt a lot farther because my anxiety level was high due to the traffic. Also, I saw an occasional LSGT blaze on trees and telephone poles along the road to remind me that I was on the LSHT, but there are no mile markers.
Once you get to Four Notch Road, it gets a lot better as this country road has far less traffic and any cars you encounter pass by much slower. There are a lot of houses and ranches on both sides of the road. A little over a mile down Four Notch Road, you cross over Winters Bayou. It's a good place to refill your water containers, but you have to filter and purify your water since the water in the bayou is mucky brown and often stagnant. A little less than a mile and a half further, you'll take a turn onto FS 213. Look for the "turn" blaze on a telephone pole at the intersection. You'll run into Trailhead #8 a couple of hundred yards down FS 213.
If the hike out was boring, the hike back to my car was even more boring. I was glad to be finished with this section, but it's not one I would want to repeat any time soon.