Hike #5 – Red Line South – Jan 31, 2020

So I got the idea of hiking to the ends of the Metro Commuter Rail lines and then taking the train back home.  It makes a nice way to end a long walk – in air conditioned comfort! This route took me southwest along Braes Bayou then south to just outside the loop before heading east back to the terminus of Metro Red Line. This was also my second hike with my new Arc Blast 55 backpack.

Cool building along the bayou
Reliant Stadium and the old Astrodome
Urban nature
Nice hair!
The bayou underpasses are a popular place for the homeless.

 

Hike #4 – Rail Line North – Jan 27, 2020

Hike north to the end of the Metro line.

In 2020 I started doing some more Houston area hikes in preparation for my (aborted ) attempt on the AZT in the spring. This first one was a walk north to the end of the Metro red line (and then I took the train back – smart, right?).

Building along a railroad
Public art
????
Downtown near the start of the hike.
More public art
Tough place to sleep

Hike #2 – East to Houston Ship Channel – July 5, 2018

These first series of hikes in Houston were in preparation for my Colorado Trail hike in the fall of 2018. This was a one way hike east as far as I could go along the Braes Bayou trail (and a little beyond).

High water mark along Braes Bayou
Definitely not wildflower season
Herd of mattresses in East Houston
Pretty bridge along the bayout
Sad

Hike #1 – Columbia Tap Loop – July 3, 2018

Columbia Trap Trail Loop

This was my first longish hike around Houston. It was in July and very warm. This course basically circumnavigates Montrose/Midtown.  Starting in Montrose you head south the Herman Park, hook up with the Braes Bayou trail along MacGregor for a mile or so before heading north on the Columbia Tap Trail.  The CT trail loops back west heading toward downtown where it ends. You then wind through downtown to catch the Buffalo Bayou trail along Allen Parkway and then back south to complete the loop.

View of downtown from just north of U of H.
Downtown from Allen Parkway – getting ready for a festival.
Braes Bayou near Herman Park
Art in Buffalo Bayou Park

 

 

Hike #3 – Northwest Along White Oak Bayou – July 8, 2018

This was my longest hike yet in Houston – over 16 miles. The route followed the White Oak Bayou Trail to where it ends (near Fairbanks-North Houston Road). I nearly made it to the beltway (my goal) but it was hot so I stopped a bit short after 5 hours.

Early start to beat the July heat – downtown from White Oak Trail
Bridge along WO Trail

This hike basically parallels 290. Starting from Montrose I headed north till I hit the White Oak Bayou Trail and followed it to then end (just inside the beltway).

White Oak Bayou rapids!
Official trail end
Hiking past the trail end
Hollister Retention Pond

 

Selecting a Kayak

I wanted something that I could backpack and also ride my bike.  I settled on the Sevlor K5. It seemed like a pretty good compromise. At 26 lbs it is not too heavy and the reviews were mostly positive.

Sevylor Quikpak K5 One-Person Kayak

It cost about $250, quite a bit cheaper that some of hardshell collapsable kayaks.

Backpack

The backpack, unfortunately, is not really designed for long hauls. There is no frame and the hip belt rides high so it is basically a rucksack. With water, food, etc. the pack ends up weighing north of 30lbs which is on the heavy side for a rucksack.  I modified the hip belt by attaching a more comfortable belt from an old pack. Even with this modification, hiking for more than 5 or 6 miles would be rough.

Above: The backpack as delivered. Note how high the hip belt rides. Below: Modified hip belt.

 

Kayak

The kayak is great. It does not track as well as a standard kayak and rides a bit higher but it is perfectly adequate. And it is a really cool design. The pack turns into a quite comfortable seat. The included paddle is a bit cheap but works alright if you are careful with it. The pump is very light and pumps on both strokes so the three kayak chambers are quickly filled.

Bike Hauling

I quickly realized that if I wanted to get the kayak more than 5-6 miles from home I would need to use my bike. Riding with the kayak on my back works but I still need to hump the kayak back to the bike after kayaking. I wanted to essentially add wheels to the kayak so I could pull it with my bike or push it when hiking. I found a bike trailer I thought would work, the Sepnine Bike Cargo  Trailer.

Sepnine Bike Commuter Cargo Trailer

The trailer is 11.5 lbs and collapses so I can put it on my kayak when I reach my put-in spot.

Kayak mounted in the bike trailer.
Collapsed bike trailer mounted on kayak