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Monday, December 12, 2011

Houston Heights Bike Trail (north/south along Nicholson St)

For those not familiar with the Heights bike trail, there are two trails of the same name which intersect. The longer of the two trails runs west and east along 7th St, and the shorter runs north and south along Nicholson St. I’ll refer to them as the w/e and n/s trails. Both are great trails but today I’m sticking to info about the n/s trail. We love walking anywhere in the Heights neighborhood and this little path was on our list of “to-walk” trails for a while but for reasons unknown it kept getting put on the back burner. Finally we arrived at a walking day when nothing else was planned so we opted to walk this little gem. I’m so glad we did.

Finding parking was easy. There is parking along Nicholson St., just south of 8th St. An alternative parking spot, on the south end of the trail, would be a few blocks west at Lawrence Park - then walk along the west end of the w/e trail until it intersects with the n/s trail. We chose to park and begin the walk at the south end of the trail simply because we are more familiar with the area. Once we got going we could immediately tell this was a fabulous walking trail, seemingly frequented less by bikes than its w/e counterpart. To me, this is a perfect length trail, 2 miles one way if you start where the trails intersect and walk all the way to the Starbuck’s at the 610 freeway.  The trail technically ends abruptly at 26th St., but we topped it off with the last three blocks of residential area just before the 610. Since Starbuck’s is so conveniently located at 610 and Nicholson, we decided to stop in for coffee. This is a good place for a bathroom break too, if you started at the south end, as it is exactly mid-way. On the return we just couldn’t resist stopping off at the nice little shopping center at 19th and Nicholson. We picked up some spices at Penzey’s and Elaine bought a comfy pair of shoes in the shoe store located there; we also walked through Joshua’s native plants located one block down on 18th and Nicholson.  We had our hands full by the time we picked up the trail again.

In terms of nature sightings along this trail, I can’t say there were any unique plants or foliage to speak of (other than in the plant shop), but we were pleasantly surprised to see some beautiful chickens in a yard at the north end of Nicholson. I got pictures but they didn’t turn out very well as you can see – one is posted here just for proof that we did actually see some of our beautiful, flightless friends within city limits. Other than the odd occasional chicken, most of the sights to see in the area are the lovely and unique - new and newly remodeled homes. They all seem to be tidy and proper, boasting kempt yards and lovely colors. The architecture in the area is always a point of pleasant conversation and never ceases to be interesting.

Over all, this is a nice and easy concrete trail, with the only down side being that one must cross busy 20th St without a crosswalk. (This proved to be a challenge going both north and south).  Although we did get side tracked by the shopping and coffee (turning it a bit into a stroll at some points), I suspect, on a second try, we’ll be able to turn a blind eye to the shopping and stick to our exercise…maybe.

Happy Houston Trails

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