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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Brays Bayou Hike and Bike Trail - Central West

This section of Brays Bayou Trail was just more of a really good thing. I'm going to refer to this part of the trail as the central-west section; and even though it approaches down town Houston, I must say,  some parts of the trail feel very rural. While walking the trail, it was so nice, to get that feeling we'd succeeded in escaping the city.

As with most of Brays Bayou Hike and Bike Trail, this is an asphalt trail, un-lined  - but wide enough for walkers and bikers to pass one another yet still stay on the trail. There are drinking water fountains found every couple of miles, and this section even had a lowered fountain for our four-legged, furry friends. There are interval training stations all along the trail for those who desire a more dynamic work-out. Benches, for a rest, can be found occasionally. I haven't seen any toys or jungle gyms for kids to play on but we did pass two sweet tree-swings that kids would fight for a turn on.

Parking for this section of the trail is an issue. Of course one could always go into the surrounding neighborhoods and park on a public residential street, but Elaine and I try to avoid that when at all possible. This time we parked one of our cars at Chimney  Rock and North Braeswood Blvd (Braeswood Square Shopping Center), and another at the shopping area on the corner of Kirby and South Braeswood Blvd. We met at one locale, then took one vehicle to the other and started our walk from there. This seems to work out really good on the longer trails. It did make for a pretty long walk at 4.3 miles - not the longest we've done but we were pretty tuckered out at the end.

If wildflowers are what you enjoy, this section of the trail is a great pick (no pun intended) during spring time. They seem to have bloomed early this year but were still out in abundance.  On one section of the trail you can find a pocket prairie, where apparently the Houston Audubon works with other organizations to relocate wild-flowers from developing construction sites (where the flowers may be obliterated); thereby, saving the flowers and ensuring proliferation in the Houston area. It's a wonderful thing that the Houston Audubon does. Aside from the small pocket prairie, all along the trail, are flowers to see. We try our hand at identifying them but we may make mistakes here and there. Please send us an email if you happen to notice a mis-identification of any flower or animal species. We love to learn!

Cormorant and Texas Spiny Soft-shell Turtles
Mocking Bird
Along with all the flowers, we saw some animals too: a lot of caterpillars, which I had no luck in identifying, a mocking bird (seemingly mocking me as he sat just feet away from me on the back of a bench), a couple of Texas spiny soft-shell turtles, and a cormorant. We saw others too, but my camera, nor my photography skills are up to par yet. Don't tell Elaine this, but she is a better photographer than I am!

Orange Cosmos
To finish off, we searched (not far from the trail) off of Kirby 'til we found a very nice Target with a Starbucks inside. After such a walk, the coffee, sitting, and chatting were divine.

Happy Houston Trails


Wildflowers below  (clockwise from top-left): yellow Stiff-stem flax, Wine cup, wild Sunflower, giant Spiderwort, unknown, golden bell, Dayflower, scarlet Pimpernel

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