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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Brays Bayou Trail West

Today, we revisited one of the trails which first inspired us to search for good walks in Houston.  Brays Bayou Trail runs in an east/west direction and stretches from South Braeswood Blvd just passed Sapling Way in the west, and to McGregor Park at Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in the east – a distance of just over 14 miles.    The trail crosses the bayou a number of times and in some sections there is a path on both sides. 

In an effort to walk the trail in three sections, we parked a car at each end and walked between them. This required some parking shenanigans - we left one car in Braeswood Square on the north side of the bayou at Chimney Rock and drove west to the start of the trail, leaving the other car parked in the shopping mall by Fiesta Mart.  
The very first section of the trail is a little rundown but as soon as you cross South Gessner Road it improves dramatically.  The asphalt path is bordered by wide well kept grassy stretches planted with many young trees and dotted with small plantings of roses, oleanders and other flowering bushes, all of which serve to keep the traffic a very comfortable distance away.  The swallows love this combination of water and open grassland and swooped and dived in numbers all the way along the bayou. The steep grassy slopes down to the bayou have been left uncut, providing good cover for ground nesting birds and ideal conditions for a wide variety of wild flowers to become established.  We spotted (from top) yellow Stiff-stem flax, Blanket flower, Granite Spiderwort, Showy primrose, and yellow Coneflower  (bottom of page, right).
The trail is well used and we encountered several in-line skaters and many bikers – some out for a recreational ride, others hurrying off to work. Although the path itself is quite exposed to the elements there is ample shaded seating along the way and we even passed a water fountain near Chimney Rock. 

The new pedestrian bridges at Atwell Drive and Bob White Drive have now been completed and we enjoyed a very peaceful “construction free” walk. I love the feeling of wide open spaces and long views here.  Somehow the sky seems bigger and the city fades into the distance.  This trail is a must for bikers and walkers alike.  More on the next section soon! 

We do like to stop for a coffee after our walks but we have come to realize that the further we stray from the city centre the harder it can be to find a coffee shop.  I really do not want to admit how far we drove today in our quest for refreshment but we had a lot of fun exploring the area a few miles west of the beltway …!

Enjoy Houston


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