Preparing to hike the Lone Star Hiking Trail
The Texas Water Safari is the toughest physical and mental challenge I have ever faced. This 260-mile ultramarathon canoe race is not for the faint of heart. As one safari veteran cautioned, “You don’t just buy a boat and show up for this race. You have to train, train, train!” Over the past two years, I spent lots of my days off and several vacation days preparing for this great adventure by doing training runs on the San Marcos and Guadalupe Rivers. But, the training paid off and prepared me to see the finish line twice.
Because my son Jonathan is getting married later this year, we decided to take a year off from the safari to enjoy some more affordable adventures. He and I hope to bike the Caprock Canyons Trailway later this year. We are both training for this mountain biking adventure by riding as much as we can. Jonathan and I recently enjoyed an afternoon of biking at Palmetto State Park before participating in the San Marcos River Clean-Up. I really enjoy these times with Jonathan and look forward to riding with him later this year.
I also have another new adventure on the horizon — hiking the Lone Star Hiking Trail from start to finish. When I recently learned about this 100+ mile trail through the Sam Houston National Forest, I knew that I had to do it. But I also understand that you don’t just buy a backpack and show up at the trailhead. You have to train, train, train! Which is exactly what I have been doing over the past several months. My friends Bill Crenshaw and Doyle Lowrey will join me for this great adventure. The three of us have logged lots of practice miles in state parks and on local bayou trails.
Yesterday, Doyle and I drove to the Sam Houston National Forest to do some onsite research. We talked with park rangers, a local who has hiked the trail, visited trailheads, and scouted places where we can possibly cache water. We asked lots of questions and got really helpful answers. The folks at the ranger station asked us to send them feedback on trail maintenance issues, a helpful thing that thru-hikers can do to help ensure good trail maintenance. We are excited to do that via GPS coordinates and photos.
Over the coming days I will post some blogs on our final preparations for this long thru-hike. We will take our first steps on the trail on Friday, March 21 and expect to spend at least 7 nights and 8 days on the trail. Over the next two weeks each of us will deliberate over every ounce that we will respectively carry on our backs and eliminate as many unnecessary ounces as possible. We must also plan every single meal, consider how much water we will need every day, carry water-filtration supplies just in case, and consider many other details.
I love the challenge of a big adventure like this. If we forget something or run out of this or that we will just have to figure it out along the way. Or, in the words of the Amish man to his new neighbor, “If ever thou hast need of anything come see me and I will show thee how to get along without it!” We have studied every detail of our maps, marked them with personal trail notes and cautions, and planned our tentative daily mileage itinerary. Soon all of our planning will meet reality on the Lone Star Hiking Trail. I can hardly wait!