Heading east down the Middle Lake Trail (not to be confused with the Middle Lake Hiking Trail), I came to the Deep Gully Trail. To the north it was another wide dirt roadway, to the south I saw a fairly well worn but slightly overgrown singletrack. Feeling adventurous I decided to try the singletrack. Worst case, if it dead ended I’d just turn around.
I was enticed to go off trail just a bit, dive into the woods a little and explore. I really wanted to walk further but not without a GPS; not that I would really get lost because I could walk south or north and hit a dirt road, but I still wanted the reassurance of a GPS to get back. But, in the future I think this area warrants off trail explorations.
Shortly after finding the persimmon I found myself in a red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) recruitment cluster. The box in the tree is an insert to assist the birds in nesting. They are extremely slow at building cavities, especially in their preferred tree of old-growth longleaf pine, and paired with open pine habitat loss these birds are extremely endangered. More information here..
Some more information about the birds in their range in Texas.
I found a good video about RCWs shot at the forest too:
I will definitely be visiting this forest again soon to explore even further south inside the park. It’s nice to have something this wild in a suburban setting.