A nice walk

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User: kharker - 10/22/2006

Location: Balcones Canyonlands NWR - Doeskin Ranch

Rating: 3stars
Difficulty: 2point5stars  Solitude: 4stars
Miles Hiked: 3.70 Miles  Elapsed Time: N/A

Comments: My wife and I decided to get out of the house on a gorgeous fall afternoon and drove from northwest Austin out to Doeskin Ranch. The drive out on 1431 was scenic, and the park was easy to find. We saw one other couple out hiking, but only in the last quarter mile of our hike. There were more cars than that parked in the little parking lot, so I presume everyone hikes in the same direction (we looped counter-clockwise, which is the way the signs point you). The scenery is interesting with both substantial grassland (in late fall, the grass waving in the breeze and sunshine is very beautiful) and the mixed oak/cedar forest on the hillside. The trail that circles the top of the grass-covered hill is just an old jeep trail, and does not visit the high point of the hill. The best view of the hike was from one of the trail bends on the way down. Unfortunately, once we got down the steeper hillside and crossed the gully, the remainder of the trail to the creek is just an old jeep trail that is straight and gravelled, which is both a little uninteresting and occasionally slippery in spots. Overall, the terrain is very representative of central Texas, and does not seem to be very crowded even on weekend afternoons with excellent weather.

Area around Balcones Canyonlands NWR - Doeskin Ranch
Recommended Item
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The southwestern United States--in this case, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas--harbors several dozen federally administered wildlife refuges, 31 of them open to the public and profiled in this guidebook. Some of the refuges, such as New Mexico's heavily visited Bosque del Apache, are stopovers for great numbers of birds (in this instance, more than 17,000 sandhill cranes alone) and residences for diverse plants and animals. Others, such as Texas's 3,500-acre Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, are devoted (but, of course, not limited) to a single endangered species. Natural-history writer Daniel Gibson gives a thorough description of the region's wildlife refuges and of the wildlife they shelter, providing a guide that nature-minded visitors will want to have on hand when visiting the desert country. --Gregory McNamee