Along the Lone Star Trail | Four Notch Section


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Over the weekend we got out and stretched our legs a bit on the Lone Star Trail. Chris picked a trail head near Coldspring, NE of I-45. The drive there wasn’t too bad and I want to come back to this section to complete the loop trail here. It would make an excellent day hike or a short overnight hike with Forest.

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Our plans originally were to backpack over the weekend, do a short mile or two in and camp, but the weather looked sketchy for overnight Saturday/Sunday—turns out we never got that weather so I guess we could have gone. Oh well, you can only go with what the forecast gives you.

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This particular section was gorgeous with many creek crossings. While much of the area we walked through was planted pine, some of it was a pine/mixed hardwood area with some diversity.

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Next time we come out this way I’ll have to bring my dSLR. I wasn’t feeling in the mood to deal with it so we only took the point and shoot. As you will see later, a dSLR would have come in handy!

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Hello!

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Chris and Forest scoped out several of the creeks, scouting for orchids or other interesting plants that would line the side of a creek.

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Forest lost interest early on in walking on his own so Chris toted him for pretty much the entire hike.

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We wandered off trail for a few minutes to look for plants and came across a snake which Chris believed to be a coachwhip!

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The cloudy eyes gave us the clue it was looking to shed its skin soon.

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After awhile we crossed a forest service road and found a makeshift camp/parking area to stop and take a break.

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We continued on down the trail and the habitat certainly changed in this section with a more open forest than back when we were in the planted pine area. After we came up a slope from a creek crossing, we stopped to look at our surroundings because the section was ripe habitat for something interesting. Sure enough we immediately spotted may apples, Podophyllum peltatum!

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They were covering the entire slope of that area!

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If you look hard you can see the may apples dotting the leaf debris with green.

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Chris was excited with the find and knew we were ripe for finding orchids!

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Not much further was another creek crossing (the same creek) and it was also piquing our interest as an opportunity for exploration and so Chris headed off down the creek by himself while I stayed back with Forest.

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A few minutes later he reported across the way that he had found an orchid! So Forest and I found ourselves trying to figure out how to get to Chris, which ended up being the entirely worst way! We hopped to the wrong side of the creek, only I didn’t know it was not going to be a good way to go until I saw where Chris was located. Forest in tow, we hopped across the creek again. I placed Forest up on a small ledge above me and as I tried to get up onto it myself, my right shoe was sucked off my feet by the creek mud! Oops! This followed by the other shoe getting sucked off, too, and a few moments of trying to finagle myself out of the creek without getting too muddy.

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You can see how well that all worked out!

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We all checked out the orchid, a southern twayblade, Neottia bifolia, and then looked at a patch of cranefly orchids (seen here), Tipularia discolor, nearby.

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I think this is a Smilax pumila seedling.

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After our botanical finds we turned around and headed back towards the car. Now that we have a spot for these orchids and they aren’t too far in from a trailhead, I think we’ll come back next year for some better photos! And we might as well camp out while we’re at it!

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2 thoughts on “Along the Lone Star Trail | Four Notch Section

  1. Joan says:

    Seeing these photos of the pine forest in early spring makes me miss Georgia. I love how the woods look sort of bare, and yet, there are these little bits of spring poking up. The mayapples and orchids are great finds! How lovely!

  2. Cloudy snake eyes = shedding skin soon? Cool fact … I’ll share that with our students as we see tons of snakes with them spring & fall. When do they typically shed their skin?

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