Lone Star Hiking Trail 2015

Solo Thru Hike of the Lone Star Hiking Trail – 12/28/2014 – 1/2/2015 (Entry #7)

Journal Entry #7: Friday, January 2, 2015

Hike Plan #6: – Tarkington Camp to Winter’s Bayou Parking Lot (FINISH!) – 13.22 miles

Weather: Overcast, drizzly, 43 degrees

I am finished! Yippee! Just when I think each day has more challenges than the last, guess what? Today was the most challenging day yet and the one that almost broke me emotionally and physically. I woke after only getting 2 hours of sleep as it poured down and my tent was dripping into the inside….only soo much seal a tent can have when it never dries out when you put it up and the rain just keeps coming. LOL! I awoke also to ankle pain which was new for me so it was a restless night to say the least. I think the excitement of having the end near had a big part too to my restlessness. I wasn’t even hungry last night so didn’t even make dinner so I knew the end was near. My body is in a groove now and it is utilizing the nutrition it is receiving it adequately so I wasn’t worried when the thought of eating just wasn’t appealing. Also every time I turned from hip to hip, I felt the soreness from small bruises developing on my hips from the rubbing and weight of my pack with the skin being constantly wet. So at 5:30am the call of sleep was abandoned and packing up was the new priority. If boots can hit the trail by 7:30am, then arrival at the truck should be at the truck by 1pm. I am now not naive anymore to think that this last stretch wouldn’t have something up its sleeve to make it more exciting though. I am confident there will be something unexpected happening today that may cause a delay. Half a bar for breakfast and having become quite proficient in packing up quickly, I was on the trail at 7:31am. Good thing too as had I known was was coming up trail, I might have tried to leave at 6:30am and maybe I would have taken a small bottle of that Sutter Home I saw in the ditch that may or may not have been wine. Ha!

The day started out uneventful, normal crazy wet trail under a thick dark canopy of pine, no sun, drizzling. That ankle was bothering me a little but I just reminded myself that pain is temporary, this trail is temporary, so suck it up and walk gal. No one cares here about your pain or so onward Watson! I come to a trail sign that says 5.6 miles to Winters Bayou trailhead #15. Keep in mind that I have already stopped at trailhead #14 and wrung out my socks due to the extremely wet trails and the immense amount of water that has seeped through my gaiters and boots. I made a silly video about my wet socks and how backpacking isn’t always glamorous or sexy, drank water and then hit the trail excited to almost be at the truck! The end was almost where I could touch it.

Ok, so had my brain being fully engaged at this point, it should have hit me that the section I was in was Winter’s Bayou and that Bayou means what???? SWAMP…what happens in a swamp when it rains straight for 5.5 days? The swamp gets deeper and with it being lowland, there isn’t much elevation to allow for high points along the trail. The last 5.6 miles of trail was now under ankle deep water and the i couldn’t disseminate between where the trail and the swamp were divided. Had it not been raining, I would have taken a picture of this exact observation. Thanks to the great blazes high on the trees that lead me from point A to point B all the way to my truck as the trail path was gone. I tried the first few miles to step carefully, stepping on rotten logs that might keep my feet out of the water as much as possible, but after an hour of that, I pretty much said screw it and just walked straight through the water….it was pointless to wring out my socks at the last trailhead as I was up to water to my calves and ankles now…I was wading not hiking. A huge benefit of it being cold was that I didn’t see one water moccasin or snake in the areas I know they normally resided. I was slightly grateful for this as that could have made my adventure even more adventurous. Ha!

All the sudden, I begin to walk out of the swamp and onto drier pine straw…hmmm, could I be getting closer to the end? I turn a corner and guess what i see? I had to laugh because I see this beautiful huge bridge crossing the 2nd passing of the San Jacinto River…..wow! That bridge back at mile 71.1 could have made a huge difference, but then again…there would be no story to tell the boys right? As I slowly walk across the bridge relishing in the fact that this bridge meant I was close to the end, I pause and close my eyes also realizing that coming to the end of the trail also means the end to the silence that I enjoy soo much. It is always bitter sweet to end a long distance hike…excited to be back with family/friends, warm, cold, being home and also having the satisfaction of knowing that I finished solo but also that means having to come back into society and pick up where I left off with anxieties, apprehensions, loneliness, expectations to be a great mom, wife, daughter, etc. whatever the emotions may be on any given day. These emotions are all self inflicted and I know this. God never intends for us to carry such heavy burdens, so my journey will continue, my seeking will continue as I come back to this society refreshed and ready to face whatever needs to be dealt with. I will be back soon to head into the real world of the wilderness to breathe, reevaluate priorities, be convicted of things that I need to work on and also be reminded of strength and resilience God has given me to get through the storms but also will continue to love on others during my own storm…what a gift that is when we can learn to focus on others when deep inside we too are struggling and seeking. 

Winter’s Bayou trailhead comes into site and so does my little truck…waiting there patiently like a best friend waiting to give you a warm hug! She looks no worse for the wear, no vandalism so this is it. Emotion overcomes me, exhaustion, gratitude, pain, elation…It takes 15 minutes to compose myself before I was ready to call Brian to let him know I was done. I had to laugh because normally I am very organized and had prepped everything for the end of the hike. I had a clean shirt, pants, socks, underwear, bra, a brush, deodorant, water and food waiting for me. Guess what I forgot? Shoes! There was no way I could keep those boots on any longer not to mention they were disgusting after all the swamp trekking I just completed. So, I got to drive home from Houston in my socks with very swollen feet pushing on the pedals…just praying I wouldn’t have to get out to get gas or use the bathroom as I had no shoes to wear! Hahahah! See, this girl is normally prepared but in that case, I failed miserably. Thankfully it was just shoes at the end of the hike! 

Thank you so much to friends, family and God for giving me this opportunity to experience yet another adventure and for having a part in stretching me to be a better person through it all. Your prayers, love and encouragement are what made this trip happen and helped me through rain. 🙂 Each one of you have become part of my heart, my spirit and my journey. I am blessed.

(** If you want more information about the Lonestar Hiking Trail, please visit The Lonestar Hiking Club website:http://lonestartrail.org/)

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul”. — John Muir 

By: Owl



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