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Austin Explorer's Logbook


Total Log Entries: 307 (Rank: 3rd) [List Them] [Map Them]
Total Distance: 1,215.21 Miles (Rank: 4th)
Average Distance: 3.96 Miles

Average Rating: (3.04)
Average Difficulty: (2.22)
Average Solitude: (2.52)

Earliest Log Entry: 4/7/2001
Latest Log Entry: 4/15/2017

Average ratings are based on the published values and not the values entered in your own log entries.


The pause that refreshes

Coppertone pauses before heading down the steep trail leading to the bottom left of the photo. [Caprock Canyons - Upper Canyon Trail]

Log Entries

Full Creek
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park - 4/15/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 4.69 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 54 minutes

Coppertone and I made a second visit to the park to map some more of the trails we missed out on the first time.  We were impressed with Ritchey Creek.  The wet winter has fully recharged the stream and it was gushing water throughout our hike.  The white noise sound of rushing water was nearly constant all along Redwood Trail.

The trail parallels the creek, much to the delight of Coppertone who loves waterfalls, no matter the size.  The name of the trail is evident given the many tall coastal Redwoods found here.  The parks boasts of the farthest inland stands of Redwoods in a state park.

The heavy rains over the last few months has caused major problems for the trees in the park and the volunteers who help maintain the trails.  Numerous trees, some quite large, have fallen in various directions and knocked down several neighboring trees, opening up the canopy.  In addition, large logs had to be cut up since they had fallen right across the trail.

Another large thing we found right across the trail was banana slug.  Not wanting him to be crushed by the next passerby, we used a couple of sticks to move him off to the side of the trail he seemed eager to get towards.

Ferns love the moist environment along the creek and under the Redwoods.  Their new growth was beginning to uncurl.  New growth on ferns almost look like coiled up caterpillars.  

Our plan was to hike as far back as we could manage and even took along some snacks to fuel our endeavor.  About 2.5 miles into the hike Redwood Trail crosses Ritchey Creek and joins up with Ritchey Canyon Trail.  But we could not find a sure fire way to cross over the stream without getting a bit wet.  Had we brought a towel we could have taken our shoes off but we were not so prepared.  So we ended up doubling back the way we came along Redwood Trail.

On the trip back we saw a Fire Rescue individual crossing the stream at another crossing, and getting a little wet.  Turns out someone on our side of the stream had injured themselves and had called for help.  By the time we cleared the area there were at least four team members there to help.

Hike to Grist Mill
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park - 4/2/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 3.65 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 9 minutes

Coppertone and I came here to hike without much of a plan.  After consulting the park map we decided to check out the pioneer cemetery and continue on to the Bale Grist Mill.

The History Trail connects the cemetery with the Grist Mill and roughly parallels Highway 29.  The trail does drift far enough away from the highway to provide some peace and quiet from road noise.  It turned out to be rougher and hillier than expected.  We both came to the conclusion that we have some work to do to get back into hiking shape.

The grist mill was an entertaining and informative stop at the halfway point of our hike.  A few docents had the mill in complete working order and showed oats being ground into a fine powder in a matter of minutes.

Since we had started the day with a wine tasting at nearby Rombauer we were a bit tired and it was getting later in the day we decided to just hike back to the car and call it a day.

As we were driving out of the park I noticed what appeared from a distance a stick in the road was in fact a small snake.  To ensure it was not run over by subsequent vehicles I got out and ushered the small rattlesnake into the grass on one side of the road.

Easy trail with city park amenities
Fuller Park - 3/26/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.47 Miles Duration: 43 minutes

Coppertone and I finished up our day of hiking in Napa with a stroll through this neighborhood park after having visited Trancas Crossing Park and the Napa River Trail.

The park was packed with people. 

Almost all of the trails are still there!
Trancas Crossing Park - 3/19/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.52 Miles Duration: 52 minutes

The first of several trails Coppertone and I hiked in Napa today.  The paved paths here are all paved and easy to traverse.  An extra benefit is the informational kiosks that provide a bit of information on both the history and natural aspects of the area.

At one point the trail disappeared, having collapsed into the Napa River.  Extensive winter rains have caused widespread numerous fallen trees and landslides, of which this is but one example.  Temporary safety fencing has been placed around the perimeter of the slide as is a mulched path showing the short detour.

Along one segment of the trail an exorbitant number of park boundary signs were lined up about every 20 feet.  The placement seems excessive and unnecessary given the eight foot barbed wire fence a short distance behind the Maginot Line of signs.

Close, but not quite on the Napa River
Napa River Trail - 3/19/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.54 Miles Duration: 1 hour

Hiked this trail after finishing up a hike at Trancas Crossing Park just north of here.  Starting out from the north the trail is hemmed in by fences on both sides of the trail, one to keep walkers away from the river and the other from the private property uphill.  It's not the most picturesque start to the walk, but things will improve later.

At point we stopped to pet an old, tired dog that plopped in the middle of the path to rest, much to the chagrin of her owners.  With the energy absorbed by our attention she was soon back on her feet and making progress on doubling back to where they started.

The trail parallels the Napa River, but never really gets close to it.  When the fencing disappears either dense vegetation or steep inclines make approaching the river difficult, if not impossible.  In some cases safety fencing and signs have been erected to keep people away from the steep and highly eroded bank.  A couple of folks ignored all of this and hopped the fence to go fishing below.

The trail came to an abrupt end at Lincoln Ave. and we doubled back to our starting point.