Sunday, January 15, 2012

An Easy Day in McKinney Roughs

Clark and I have a goal of one awesome adventure per month in 2012 and with that requirement we drove a few hours northwest of Houston to McKinney Roughs Nature Park. This park is part of the little-known, publicly-accessible wildernesses of the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Clark and I left Clark's house in Cypress, Texas at 7am and were signing the McKinny Roughs visitor's logbook a little before 10am. This park has 18 miles of beautiful hiking and multi-use (mainly horseback, no motorized vehicles) trails. Clark and I managed to cover 13 miles of these trails before leaving at 5pm. Here are some of the highlights:

Visitor's center, classrooms, and dorms.

Inside the visitor's center were the usual displays of lizards, snakes, fish and bones.



A fake Native American lodge. It lacked the inner-sheath of a true lodge.

The trails ran down to the Colorado river and up to assorted bluff overlooking miles of farm and ranch land.






The Colorado river.


Cook's Island.

Clark on a bluff.

Clark at the Colorado river.

Me on the Colorado.

A cool tree.

McKinny Roughs is a beautiful place and relatively close to Houston. It wasn't touched by the wildfires which ravaged the nearby Bastrop State Park. Camping did not seem to be allowed in the park but I'm not totally sure on that. Hunting isn't allowed (and we saw some incredible buck deer) so it's a good place to go during hunting season if you are concerned about that sort of thing. The trails did have a lot of change in elevation, I think something like 500-600 feet from river's edge to the higher bluffs and it definitely had Houston flat-land hikers like Clark and I complaining a bit on the longer up-hill runs. We were there on January 2nd and didn't see too many other hikers other than a local hiking meet-up group and 3-4 families near the visitor's center. There were a fair number of ladies riding horseback, though. Hmmm, now that I think of it we didn't see any guys on horseback. Weird.

Anyway, Clark and I really liked it. If you are bored of the long, flat pine-tree trails around Houston this place is really worth the drive...assuming things don't go completely nutso over in the Middle East causing gas prices to leap up over $5 per gallon though that does seem more and more likely...

Adventure! Excitement! Women on horseback!!


Izzy G. said...

Nice place. Texas hill country is good country.

Anonymous said...

Looks like an awesome good time!
wildman800 & Laddieslady1294

Stacey said...
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Kelly the Happy Texan said...

Jealous of your adventures!

How have you been?! Looks like you're still up to exploring and eating the foliage. ;)

Hope to catch up with you again. Maybe take another class from ya.

Merriwether said...

Hi Kelly! On a 1-10 busy scale I'm cranking 11. Between plant classes, fermentation experimentation, the daughters' piano and dance classes, and my real job I've been too busy to blog. I feel really bad about that because I've been doing some really cool stuff, but there's just not enough time to right it all down, even with insomnia.