Exploring a New Section on the Lone Star Trail
Flowering Spurge, Euphorbia corollata
Last weekend we ventured out to do a new to us section on the Lone Star Trail. We originally wanted to hike starting at the Cotton Creek Cemetery Road trailhead near Huntsville but when we pulled up to turn down the road we found it looked like it went through a ranch and there was a no tresspassing sign. A man in a truck pulled up after he saw us sitting there contemplating our next step and after we told him what we were looking for he said that it was down a different road behind us. I pulled up the PDF maps and he was referring to the Bath Rd. Trailhead. I still haven’t figured out what is up with the other trailhead and the no tresspassing sign but I suspect we could actually access it. We didn’t want to deal with it and the other trailhead was just as easy to get to so we opted to head there.
Texas Ironweed, Vernonia texana
The trailhead wasn’t really labeled and we had to look for the metal blazes to make sure we were at the right spot and not wandering off into someone’s timber land or hunting club. Needless to say, no one else was on this section of trail! That said, it was actually maintained fairly well except for a couple of small sections between some creeks where it would be hard to haul out a lawn mower.
A lovely nearly ‘alba’ beautyberry! This section of the Sam Houston NF must have had rain recently because none of the beautyberries were drooping. The section closer to our house had beautyberries wilting under the pressures of our drought.
Blue Mistflower, Conoclinium coelestinum
Climbing Dogbane, Thyrsanthella difformis
A couple of fruits on Carolina buckthorn.
This stumped me for a while. I thought it was nandina at first but it was in the middle of the forest (which means nothing, birds can drop seeds) and usually there are a lot around if you spot one nandina. There were three plants and I think it might be Maryland Senna, Senna marilandica
All of the creeks out there were bone dry. If anyone planned to hike on the LST as an overnight right now I would bring ample water or put out water at trailheads.
Another creek dry enough to walk down and explore.
This was also a great section to look for Texas Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia reticulata, which we found! Now that we know the habitat it is pretty easy to keep an eye out for them. I suspect there are far more out there than anyone knows because no one is actually looking for them!
At an overgrown forest service road (FSR 243) we stopped to look in a creek and Forest and I crossed the creek and walked in the very overgrown road on the other side. It looked as if the road once went across the creek as there were exposed metal culverts there but that had since washed away in some previous storm event.
Bitterweed, Helenium amarum var. amarum
This is probably late boneset, Eupatorium serotinum, but I wasn’t totally sure.
Not sure which wasp this is on this croton but it was interesting enough to get a photo of!
First Elegant Gayfeather, Liatris elegans of the season! Looking forward to seeing more of these over the coming months.
Forest enjoyed the little meadow and wanted to take photos and luckily I had his camera in my bag from a previous trip. I need to download what is on his SD card to see what he’s got on there that might be worth sharing here.
Pencil Flower, Stylosanthes biflora
I’m still unsure on this particular plant but iNaturalist is suggesting tropic croton, and I’m leaning that way, but still not quite sure.
Downy Lobelia, Lobelia puberula – another first of the season.
This was a later hike than we had been doing this summer but it wasn’t terribly hot—I’m mean, yes, plenty warm, but not so suffocating that we were miserable. It had a slight tinge of light that reminds me of autumn hiking and I’m really looking forward to the next couple of months and getting some trail time in.
That does look like a Senna, by the leaf. It always tickles me when I recognize a few plants in your posts! The dogbane’s one I don’t know. I have some photos of that mushroom, but I don’t know what it is. I’ll have to look for it in my files, because I think I once ID’d it and added the name. My memory’s going!
What kind of camera does Forest use? Seems like a cool way for a kid to explore. James is always trying to take pictures with my phone, so it would be nice to provide him something of his own when the time is right.