Loop Flag Pond from Nails Creek Unit
Lake Somerville Trailway
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Distance: 8.00 Miles
Duration: 4 minutes
I've heard of this trail for quite a while, so I'm glad I finally got around to hiking it. Having said that, though, I doubt I'll return. I just didn't find the trail to be scenic. I understand, though, that the spring wildflower display is impressive. If I were to hike it again, I would do so at that time.
The hike itself wasn't really bad. The wife and I had the trail to ourselves. We did not meet a single person the entire hike. However, about a quarter mile or so from the trailhead, we heard a loud humming, which turned out to be a well head pumping. The trail passes right next to it, and you can hear it for at least a quarter of the mile at the spot where you get your first glimpse of the lake. Later, somewhere along the west route around Flag Pond, we heard more oil well activity.
I was glad much of the trail we hiked was in the shade, as the day was hot. Two old foggies in their mid to late fifties really shouldn't be wandering around the Texas countryside in late June during the middle of the day. Also, much of the first 2 miles of the trail is very sandy, which makes walking difficult.
We looped the Flag Pond clockwise. I was surprised to find some cabins overlooking the pond (just outside the park fenceline), but I was disappointed the pond and much of the lake were covered by lily pads and other growth. The pond had very little water. If you do hike this way, be sure to stop at the wildlife viewing area near the northwest section of the pond. It is a good rest spot; however, there wasn't much wildlife to view.
We spotted one deer at the north end of Flag Pond and one armadillo early in the hike. The east side of Flag Pond is almost completely exposed to the sun, though the walking is easy on a roadbed. Most of the hike is fairly level with occasional inclines the first 2 miles from the Nails Creek trailhead.
My recommendation would be to save this trail for spring time when the wildflowers are in bloom.
Bikers and Hikers Everywhere
Huntsville State Park
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Distance: 7.00 Miles
Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Although the day started cool, it soon warmed up, and people flocked to the park. As we hiked the Chinquapin Trail around the park, we probably encountered no fewer than 75 people, including 3 groups of at least 10 people each.
Despite the traffic on the trails, we did enjoy this hike. The trails are well-marked and maintained, and we encountered no problems. Numerous roots on the trail are probably the worst thing about this trail, and they are not bad at all.
This is a typical hike through the woods. The only unique features would be the numerous boardwalks (2 in the northern part of the hike, and another across Big Chinquapin Creek) and the lake, including the dam and spillway.
If anyone else hikes this trail, I would like to get their impression of the area just north of where the Chinquapin Trail intersects the Triple C Cutoff just north of the dam. There seemed to be a depression there where the trail dipped down for perhaps 100 yards or more. The trees and underbrush were more dense there, it seemed; very little sunlight filtered down there.
For others who might be considering this trail, pack a lunch and plan to eat at the spillway. On the south side of the spillway is a picnic table with a good view of the lake; it's a good spot for lunch.