Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Review: Mountain Biking Texas

Mountain Biking Texas (State Mountain Biking Series)  1st edition




The Background

Mountain Biking Texas (State Mountain Biking Series) 1st edition is a FalconGuide book by Christopher Hess.  As I’ve stated before, FalconGuide is a reputable outdoor publishing company which usually produces helpful, high quality books.  For this book, FalconGuide took a chance on Hess, as this is his first and only book.  Hess is nowhere to be found on the internet and the only information I could find was in the “about the author” section.  According to this section, “Christopher Hess is a copyeditor of educational materials, music writer for the Austin Chronicle and a wildly enthusiastic mountain biker.”

There are very few mountain biking books about Texas, so I picked one at random and hoped for the best.  This book is only average in my opinion.  My intentions for this book were to help me discover new trails in my area and across Texas.  Unfortunately, this book should only be used as a reference point for identifying possible rides because it contains limited and older information.  For detailed information, you have to search for websites that are more specific, again because there are few books on Texas mountain biking. 

The book begins with a quick description of the terrain types in Texas and then discusses the issue of no public lands available to mountain bike.  Next, Hess provides information on how to use his guide and defines his terms (like how he defines aerobic level).  The next section provides some basic mountain biking etiquette, which is beneficial if you’ve never researched or heard etiquette.  Finally, the book is broken up into 6 regions and begins with a regional description.  Each trail description provides useful information such as location, difficulty, a basic map, and a ride description.

BeeGee the dog reading the reviewed book
Mountain Biking Texas: BeeGee approved

The Good

This book is pretty good and does its best to provide information on as many trails as possible.  It also provides full descriptions on 50 trails and quick descriptions on 9 “honorable mention” trails.  In addition, Hess tries to prevent it from being too dry, so the text is as entertaining as a guidebook can be.  This book has provided me with a good list to begin my future mountain biking road trips.  Moreover, I find directions and difficulty levels to be helpful in planning.  However, what I find to be most helpful about this book are the trail notes.  Hess provides on trail directions and points of interest by mileage.  This makes it easy to find the scenery and keep on the trail.    

The Bad

The first and biggest issue is that the book was published in 2002.  This means that a lot of the information is no longer accurate or relevant.  An example of this is Pace Bend Park.  The book states dogs are allowed off leash, but this is no longer true.  Plus, the book is no longer in publication and is only available used. I also prefer ebooks to paper (much lighter that way), but no ebook is available.  Moreover, the book provides no additional sources to find information, largely because the internet wasn’t as helpful yet.  The final issue with the book is regional biases.  The author is from Austin and a large portion of the book is dedicated to Central Texas. 21 out of 59 trails described are in this region (this might be a good thing if you live in Austin).  Furthermore, South Texas was completely ignored and no trail information was provided.           

Final Thoughts

If you have read Mountain Biking Texas or any other Texas guidebook, let me know your thoughts.Also, if you enjoy the blog, please follow us on Facebook.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Guide to Keeping Your Dog Hydrated

Keeping Your Dog Hydrated


Just like people, our dogs need to stay cool and stay hydrated.  In BeeGee’s case, this is extremely true because of her thick coat and dark color.  She just absorbs all that Texas heat.  One of the best ways to ensure your hiking partner is getting enough water is to set up hourly water breaks or to provide water every time you drink water.  This includes providing plenty of water before the hike, after the hike, and in camp.  To keep your dog healthy and hydrated it is essential to carry along a water system for them as well.  

at Lockhart State Park
BeeGee panting to keep cool on a hot day

Dehydration

Dehydration is a negative fluid balance, which is caused by water loss or decreased water intake.  Water can be lost in multiple ways such as panting, vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, and infection.  Whatever the cause, dehydration leads to less blood to circulate and fewer intercellular fluids.  The big issue is that cells will not receive adequate oxygen and nutrients, which results in decrease system and organ function or even death.   

While I don’t have explicit training in dog dehydration and heat injuries, I have extensive training in humans and many of the signs, symptoms, and treatments are the same.  Common signs and symptoms:
  •  Sunken eyes
  •  Lethargic
  •  Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth/nose
  • Gums dry and sunken
  • Confusion or odd behavior
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Failing the pinch test - lift the skin at your dog’s shoulders.  If it does not fall or is slow to fall, that is a sign of dehydration.

this is where you lift the skin
The Pinch Test: this is where you lift the skin. Courtesy of Peteducation.com

The key to realizing if your dog has become dehydrated is paying attention to their behavior.  If your dog becomes tired and lethargic or is just acting different from normal, this is a possible sign something is wrong.  Once we have determined something is possibly wrong, we can use the symptoms above to determine if its dehydration.  I recommend using the pinch test and evaluating the gums because it has provided the best results for BeeGee and me.

Treatment

Once we have determined our buddies are dehydrated or we think they are, it is time to treat dehydration.  The first step is to stop and find shade or a cool location.  A great place would be in the shade by water so your dog can wet their stomach.  If a body of water is available, take some of your available water and wet their stomachs by hand.  Through cooling off, we stop sweating or panting and prevent even more water loss.  Depending on the severity of dehydration, this might be the end of your adventure for a few hours or the rest of the day. 

at lockhart state park
A nice shaded creek to cool off in. Courtesy TPWD

After you get your dog cool, the next step is ensuring water is available.  Put out your dog’s water source so they can drink freely.  Be mindful though, that they may not want to drink any water until they have cooled off, so it could take a while.  As a precaution or for more severe dehydration, you can add Pedialyte (salt replenishing fluid for infants) to your dog’s water.  Provide Pedialyte in a max of 50/50 mix with water.  The formula is approximately 1 ounce for every 10 pounds for dog weighs.  So a 50 lbs. dog should receive 5 oz. of Pedialyte in their water.

Finally, if everything you are doing is ineffective or you feel like it’s not working; it is time to start planning your extraction.  This could mean slowly walking out with a lot of breaks to calling for rescue service.  If you feel it’s warranted or conditions persist and worsen by all means call for help.  I would rather look foolish for a day than know I could have done more to help BeeGee.  

Filtering

Just like you and me, dogs need to drink clean water as well.  It is true that dogs have a better immune system and that their stomach is more acidic, but they are still susceptible to water borne illnesses.  In addition, these illnesses can cause vomiting and diarrhea resulting in an increased dehydration risk.  Giardia and Cryptosporidium, both protozoans, are the two largest threats to dogs drinking out of lakes and rivers. 

It is because of these waterborne illnesses that it is important to treat or filter your dog’s water.  However, BeeGee prefers, what I considered yucky, water that is fresh from the source and unfiltered.  It can be difficult to make sure she doesn’t drink any water.  BeeGee likes to lie down in water to cool and she always drinks while doing this.  It would be difficult to stop her from drinking while cooling off.  The key is to use good judgment, try to avoid murky, stagnant water around fields or livestock.  Thankfully, dogs rarely get sick from untreated water, but it is best not to push your luck.  Filter your water when you can.

Final Thoughts

As with any post, these are just my thoughts so if you have any questions or concerns make sure you consult your vet.  Plus, keeping your dog hydrated is the key to having a good trip with your buddy.  There have been a few occasions in the heat when I feel like I let BeeGee get too hot.  Now I try my best to pay attention to her needs as well because it’s both our adventure not just mine. 

If you have any tips or tricks on keeping your dog cool and hydrated please share.  Also, if you enjoy the blog, please follow us on Facebook.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Sparkplug Gaiters

Outdoor Research Sparkplug gaiter:  A gear review on minimalist trail gaiters

Today’s post will be the blog’s second gear review.  The piece of gear under review is the Outdoor Research Sparkplug gaiter.  Gaiters have become an important part of the clothing system I wear.  While I don’t wear gaiters on every trip, I wear them when there is a high risk of getting ticks on me or uncomfortable objects in my shoes.  You can find the Sparkplug gaiters at REI.com.

get a sense of how they will feel when wearing them
Wearing the Sparkplug Gaiters

The Background

If you were like me, you have no idea what gaiters are.  I didn’t learn until recently after doing research into what Soldiers were wearing on their legs in movies like Band of Brothers.  It’s that khaki colored that covers the shin and some of the boot.  Leg gaiters are used to keep, snow, water, and debris out of your shoes or boots.  They also keep your body’s heat trapped, keeping you warmer.  The gaiters I wear are made by Outdoor Research, a Seattle based gear manufacturer, which was established in 1981. They are stretchy, lightweight, and breathable.  

Purpose

The Sparkplug gaiters’ main purpose is to be as lightweight as possible while keeping bugs out of your shoes.  The gaiters weigh less than an ounce each, which qualifies as very lightweight.  In addition, the gaiters are water resistant and they will prevent light rain from soaking your shoes.  Also, as I mentioned earlier, the gaiters will keep bugs off you when worn with pants. 

The gaiters extend about 5 inches above my ankle.  They have a beefy metal hook in the front to latch on to the shoelaces.  In the back, the gaiters attach by a Velcro pad.  The top has loops in the top to add a string (not included) to reduce the gaiter sliding down your legs. 

 at the front of the Sparkplug gaiter
The metal shoelace hook at the front of the gaiter

How I Use Them 

I have used the gaiters for 3 different outdoor activities: hiking, trail running, and mountain biking.  I wear gaiters in conjunction with pants to keep debris away when hiking overgrown, extremely rocky, and/or tick infested trails.  I have also used the gaiters for trail running.  When trail running, I wear running shorts and running shoes and will provide the same level of protection as when hiking.  The final activity is mountain biking.  I have worn the gaiters out on a few rides on particularly overgrown trails to keep vegetation from touching me and leaving seeds in my socks. 

 at the top of the Sparkplug gaiter
The drawstring loop at the top of the gaiter

Performance  

The performance of the Sparkplug gaiters has been excellent so far and I predict that will be the case in the future.  While hiking in the knee-deep swamps of the Neusiok Trail, NC, my shoes remained dirt and swamp muck free.  Moreover, on the return hike through the swamps, I lost a Velcro stick pad and the gaiters still kept me debris free.  No matter how muddy and thick the water became, I could always count on my gaiters.  On another hike where the trail was infested with ticks, I took my shoes and gaiters off for a quick rest.  After the rest, I did not put my gaiters back on and within half an hour I had to pull the trip’s first and only tick off my shin.  Finally, when wearing the gaiters biking, it always seems like plants grow just high enough to attack your ankles.  However, wearing the gaiters reduces the seeds left in my socks/shoes and helps reduce the itchy feeling I get when encountering skin to vegetation contact.   

Issues

The Sparkplug gaiters are not without their issues albeit very minor ones.  The first issue is that the gaiters sag some when I wear them without pants. However, even sagging they have kept me debris free.  Plus they have the loops for drawstrings.  The second issue is with the Velcro pads.  The pads are easily lost when hiking and even more so if they get wet.  The gaiters also only come with one pair of Velcro pads so you cannot wear the gaiters with multiple shoes unless you get more Velcro.  Fortunately, the Sparkplugs are covered by a lifetime warranty and OR will ship more pads hassle free. 

this pad is a little lose already
Velcro pad in the back: this pad is a little loose already

Final Thoughts

I have really enjoyed the benefits of owning the Sparkplug gaiters and I will continue to wear them as needed.  I am planning a trip to Matagorda Island and will be wearing them to walk through the grass when I’m not on a bike.  I highly suggest these gaiters if you are new to the gaiter world and are looking for something lightweight and comfortable.

Let us know your thoughts on the Sparkplug gaiters or your favorite pair of gaiters.  Also, if you enjoy the blog, please follow us on Facebook

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Basic Bike Maintenance 101

Basic Bike Maintenance 101

Today our post will be a continuation in our mountain biking series.  This post was inspired by a reader question, “how do I get my mountain bike ready to ride after not using it in a while?” However, this quick guide will be beneficial to both road and mountain bikes.  In addition, the trail I ride is extremely dusty so a good cleaning is in order.

Getting your bike ready

All the steps covered here will be easy enough to perform yourself.  However, if you find any issues out of your ability range or don’t have the time, there is always the option of taking it to your local bike shop.  Your local bike shop will charge you around $60 for a basic cleaning/tuning job.  If there is a repair issue, it could get more expensive.

Our required tools for the job: towels, mild detergent, and a toothbrush (if you have fancy bike cleaning brushes, use those too).  If you have one, using a bike stand will make all the task easier.  If you don't have a bike stand, either prop your bike on a chair or flip in upside down so it rest on the seat and handle bars.

The supplies I use to clean my bike
The supplies I use to clean my bike

Step 1: Clean the Bike

A clean bike will stand up to time better than a dirty bike.  Dirt increase friction on your moving parts, which results in wear and tear.  In addition, dust can allow rust spots to form on metal components, which weakens the structure.  Therefore, it is important to occasionally clean your bike.

Begin by wipe down the frame, pedals, and seat first.  Then move on to the drive chain (chain, chain rings, derailleurs, and cassette).  Third, wipe down your brake system.  For disc brakes clean the disc and for v-brakes clean the rubber brakes and wipe down your rims.  Remember when cleaning your brakes, it is essential not to get oil or grease on the pads or disc.  Oil on your brakes will result in reduced friction and decrease your ability to stop.  Finally, use a clean dry towel to remove any moisture from your bike.   


I use a bike stand to make maintenance a little easier
I use a bike stand to make maintenance a little easier

Step 2:  Check the Wheels

First check out the tire by visually inspecting to make sure your tires are inflated, there are no rips/tears, and nothing has punctured the rubber (like a big cactus needle).  Next, inflate your tires if needed.  Once inflated, if your tires don't hold air, you will need to replace the tire tube.  Finally, give your tire a spin and look for any wobbling or squeaking.  If your tire has serious wobble it is no longer true and needs to be aligned (by a professional).  If your tire squeaks look to see if the brake pad is rubbing the wheel or the wheel rubs the frame.

Use a pump with a gauge to check your tire pressure
Use a pump with a gauge to check your tire pressure 

Step 3: Check the Brakes

Initially, visually inspect your brake pads, which is either the rubber pads that contact the rim or the metal pads that contact the disc brake.  If the pads are significantly worn, go ahead and replace it or have a professional do it.  Next, squeeze your brake handles one at a time.  Your brakes should make full and equal contact on both sides of the rim/disc.  If not, your brakes need to be adjusted.  Finally, spin your wheels and use your brakes to stop the spin.  If your tires are unaffected or slow to stop, your brakes need adjustment.

Step 4: Check the Drive Chain

First, lift your rear wheel off the ground, if on a bike stand or upside down you are good to go.  Next, begin pedaling and ensure your pedals are effectively spinning the rear wheel.  Third, slowly shift through all your gears.  While shifting, listen and watch to esnure the chain is moving between gears in an easy and smooth fashion.  If your bike is slow to shift, doesn’t shift, or the chain slips off a ring; your derailleurs/shifting cables need adjustment.  Finally, visually inspect your chainring and cassette teeth wear.  Worn teeth will begin to look pointed or look like “shark fins”.  If you find worn teeth, you will need to (or have a professional) replace the cassette or chainring.

Step 5: Lubrication

First, apply a small amount of chain lube to your chain as you pedal counterclockwise.  The key lubing your chain is to lube the joints and not the outside of the chain.  Then apply lube to the moving parts of the brake levers and any exposed metal cable.  Next, apply lube to the moving parts of the derailleur.  Finally, wipe away excess lube with a dry, clean rag. Wiping away excess lube is essential because it will attract dust and grime, which will increase how often you need to clean your bike. 

make sure it goes on the joints not the outside of the chain
Lube the chain: make sure it goes on the joints not the outside of the chain

Step 6: Test Ride


Now if everything is working correctly take your bike out for a test ride.  Make sure the brakes are still working just fine.  In addition, switch through your gears, ensuring you have smooth shifts and no chain slips.  Furthermore, make sure the ride is comfortable and smooth.  If it isn’t, check your tires to see if they are inflated.  If your tires are still inflated, it could be your shocks need lube.  Finally, listen for any rattling or weird noises.  Noises are a sign of lose parts or other issues that need to be addressed. 

If you have any tips of tricks for cleaning and getting your bike ready to ride, please let us know.  Also, if you like the blog please like us on Facebook.

Jarrett Morgan
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

(Video) Firearm Cleaning 101

(Video) Firearm Cleaning 101 With Jack

Today Jack is back with another post.  He has created a video detailing how to clean a bolt-action rifle and a pump shotgun.  I hope the video shows you a few tricks and you enjoy the presentation.

at Palmetto State Park
A Picture of Jack and BeeGee at Palmetto State Park

Firearm Cleaning Video



Or you can check out the video on The Adventures With BeeGee YouTube channel.

Transcription

Jack: Hey guys this is Jack with Adventures With BeeGee. We're gonna do a shotgun and bolt action rifle 101 cleaning real quick.

Jack: So first thing you guys are gonna need is some eye protection number one, always. And then you are gonna need some sort of firearm cleaning lube.  I've got some Hoppes here, but my favorite happens to be some CLP. It’s made by Break-Free. Another good one out there is Frog Lube.  A little expensive for my taste but great stuff. Pretty much every company makes their own cleaner. Next you're gonna need a cleaning kit. I recommended buying the all caliber cleaning kit. That way you don’t have to worry about going back and buying a whole other kit. If you just get the all caliber cleaning kit. Then you are gonna need some cotton swabs and cotton pads. You can probably use cotton balls if really want, but I mean they sell these thousand for a couple bucks.  Maybe a rag.  I like rags.  Then a light or a bore light. I just got this little Maglite for like 10 bucks. Not that big of a deal.

Jack: So you want to put your eye pro on.  And, you want to make sure that all your firearms are checked, and you want to check them twice. We happened to check them off screen.  But, I'll go ahead and give you guys a little look. That way you guys can see that, that guys clear. And check this guy [gun] real quick. Here we go. I hope you guys can see that.  So, I'm gonna start off with this guy [gun]. Most bolt-action rifles will have a little tab either I think the Remington 770s have a little flip up thing. All you gotta do is push down. Let's see.  I figured this one out. Push down on this and the bolt should come right out. Easy Squeezes. So, take that out and set aside.  Then clean it a little bit. So you want to get your ramrod. It should come in your kit. If not you are going to want one these bad boys. Make sure you get 3 pieces. I think they sell two pieces. For your rifles you're gonna want a 3 piece. Otherwise it's not gonna go all the way down into the breach and you're gonna have a bad day. So get one of your cotton pads. Get your favorite cleaner and wet this guy down [cotton pad]. Take it under and grab the rifle and the ramrod. See if I can do this with you guys seeing it. Now shove it down in there. And it will come out the back. See this guy [cotton pad] happens to be already pretty clean.  So we're going to quit with that. You can also run your wire brush down in there [gun barrel]. Most cleaning kits come with them [wire brush]. You can clean off any lead, copper, or what's left. Set that guy aside [ramrod].  Get your rag or you can one of these. I happen have this triangle bandage I use. Get this guy [triangle bandage] pretty wet. You want be pretty liberal. Especially with the cleaner. Cleaner, lubricant, preservative. Like the CLP, like I like. Then clean and wipe this guy down real well. It helps keep a little rust off and all the crude. Then all you have to do is; most both have some aligning tool. This one happens to have these two little dog-ears.  Let's see if I can do this. You should be able to align it just right. Like so. It just slips right back in and locks in. Then you want, it's a good idea generally to wipe the barrel down. Wipe your scope. Make sure nothing is rusted or loose. Then I like to check my bore. A little trusty flashlight. Just to make sure there is nothing down in there. The last thing you want to do is have something down there [barrel] next time you go shoot. Then have a catastrophic failure. So we cleaned that guy [rifle].

Jack: Move on to our little trusty pump-shotgun. It's pretty much the same deal. You just bust this guy [shotgun] down into two pieces. Unfortunately, I don't have a semi auto [shotgun] to show you guys. But it's the same concept. You put the bolt back and just run the ramrod down as needed. The same thing. Wet that guy [cotton pad] down pretty good. Ram this guy [ramrod] down, down the shotgun. See mines pretty dirty. Do it as needed and run your wire brush down there. Make sure you get that clean. If you have a semi-auto you're dove hunting or something like that, and you keep stove piping. Chances are your gun is filthy. So just go ahead and take that guy [shotgun] apart. And then go ahead and clean it up real well.  It's a big problem. Wet this guy down [rag]. Wipe this guy [shotgun] down. Get in the breach a little bit. Whatever I can reach, I wipe. Check down in here [barrel].  That looks super good.

Jack: Sometimes if you want to be real lazy, sometimes I put a towel down inside my safe. Then I spray them [firearms] down with CLP real well. Then I stand them [firearms] up on the barrels and let it drain out. Not the best process, but sometimes it works really well.

Jack: Alright guys thanks again, signing off, and have a good one.

If you have any other cleaning tips go ahead share them.  Also, if you like the blog please like us on Facebook.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Trip Report: Good Water Loop

Trip Report: Mountain biking; Goodwater Loop, Georgetown, Texas

Today is the second mountain bike trip report for Adventures With BeeGee.  Unfortunately, it is still too hot out for BeeGee to be out on adventures, but I did grab Jack for the trip.  This trip had problems from the beginning and I made a few mistakes.

The first issue being I didn’t prepare fully for the horrible traffic while driving across Austin.  We left from Lockhart around 6:30 AM and the heavy traffic resulted in a 2 hour drive instead of the normal 1 hour.  The second mistake was not researching the trail fully.  I read that the trail had some rocks, but I completely underestimated how rocky the trail would be.  This made the trail extremely technical and required a lot of leg strength to ride up and down all the rocks.  The final and biggest mistake was that I took Jack to ride a difficult trail for his first real mountain bike ride.  It is essential to ease riders into the activity and ride at a level you are comfortable with.        

at good water loop
Example of the many rock gardens you will encounter

The Background

Location: 2100 Cedar Breaks Rd, Georgetown, TX 78633
Admission: $5 admission
Elevation: 790 to 950ft
Weather:  Sunny and hot, 84 to 96F
Difficulty: Difficult
Website: https://files.georgetown.org/goodwater-loop-at-lake-georgetown/

Goodwater Loop is a 26-mile trail that loops around Lake Georgetown in Georgetown, Texas.  The trail varies from dirt path to rocky limestone and travels through juniper trees, oak trees, and grasslands.  In addition, the trail is the second longest available for mountain biking in Texas.  Furthermore, don’t expect too much climbing; however, there are a few short climbs.  Moreover, this trail is very technical with limestone rock gardens almost continually along the trail. 

at good water loop
The Crockett Creek Crossing at Crockett Gardens

The lake and trail are maintained by the Army Corp of Engineers.  In addition, there are multiple parks available along the trail with potable water available.  Furthermore, the parks can be used to create a shorter ride if the 26-mile trek is too long.

Good Water Loop

At Cedar Breaks Park
Good Water Loop Trailhead
We started our ride at the Cedar Breaks Trailhead and headed clockwise.   We rode out about 5-miles and came back on the same path.  The trail began with crushed rock and was mostly a smooth ride; however, the trail quickly became filled with limestone rock gardens. Also, the 1st mile rides through oak and juniper forest and the trail is almost doubletrack wide.  All the rough riding caused my rear wheel have some major issues early in the ride, which caused us to take at least 15-minute repair halt.  Because the trail was so rough and bumpy, my rear wheel took some punishment and lost its true.  To make matters worse, the rear wheel dropped out of the frame.  It took some time to get the wheel back in place and to realign the gears/brakes.  I then had to ride on a wobbly back wheel the rest of the day. 


The 2nd mile of Good Water Loop is where the trail begins to slim down and become singletrack.  In addition, it takes a very scenic route overlooking Lake Georgetown from Limestone cliffs.  Unfortunately, the lake is low on water and a no-fishing warning was issued.  

during a mountain bike ride ad good water loop
Lake Georgetown From a Cliff

The 3rd mile is more rock gardens and a few sections of grasslands.  In addition, we came across Crockett Garden and Crockett Creek.  Crockett creek is spring fed and environmentally sensitive, so there is no wading or trash allowed in the area.  Moreover, the creek runs down to Crockett Falls and feeds the lake.  Then we met the Sun City Hiker Club.  On our return trip, we stopped at Crockett Creek again for a break.  While stopped, we used Jack’s Sawyer water filter in the creek for a water refill.

during a mountain bike ride on good water loop
Jack Drinking from Crockett Creek Using his Sawyer Water Filter

The 4th and 5th mile was still more rock gardens. However, towards mile 5, there were more frequent grasslands and there was more flow in the trail.  Sadly, this is the point where we became pretty tired and started our long trek back to the car.

at good water loop
Jack Riding on a Natural Stone Wall

Final Thoughts

The Good Water Loop is truly an Epic ride as stated by the International Mountain Bike Association.  I will one day ride the entire trail and add it to my finished list.  Good Water is a scenic backcountry experience requires expert mountain biking skills.  If you are a little weak in your riding, I’d skip biking it for now and just hike it.  As far as hiking it, I would also love to make a two-day hiking trip out of it in the future.

If you have ever mountain biked or hiked Good Water Loop let me know about your experiences.  Also, if you like the blog please like us on Facebook.

  
Jarrett Morgan
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Friday, September 5, 2014

A Little Early September News

News in Early September

Today I am doing a post over some of the outdoors news for early September.  The articles cover geocaching, paddling, and mountain biking.  Two articles are Texas specific and one is specific to Colorado. 

Geocaching in Texas State Parks

In recent history, geocaching has really taken off as an outdoor activity.  Geocaching is the modern day version of treasure hunting.  The most common way to find a geocache utilizes GPS or smartphone app to find a specific location. In addition, you can still use a map and compass to navigate to a geocache.  In the geocache, there is usually a list to sign and a small trinket. Furthermore, if you take the trinket it is customary to replace it with another treasure. 
 
 Courtesy of TPWD
Geocaching in Texas State Parks.  Courtesy of TPWD

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is increasing its geocaching outreach for kids.  There are more than 90 state parks with over 1,200 geocaches.  In addition, many of those state parks offer free geocache 101 courses with admission.  Furthermore, to boost its geocaching outreach, Texas Parks is reminding everyone that the Texas State Park’s Geocaching Challenge is still ongoing.  The challenge provides prizes for finding caches.  I’ve never really been a done any geocaching, but the challenge looks fun enough to get me involved.

New Paddling Trail

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is opening a new paddle trail on the Neches River.  The dedication is set for September 6th.  In addition, the dedication will take place at the Lower Neches Valley Authority’s saltwater barrier boat ramp at 6790 Bigner Road in Beaumont at 11:00 AM.  The new trail will be relatively short at 4.8 miles. However, the new trail will loop through moss-covered marshes and oxbow lakes throughout the Big Thicket Nature Preserve.  This will provide the paddler with an all-day adventure if they explore the marshes and lakes. 
 
Kayaking at Lake Rim, NC
Kayaking at Lake Rim, NC

Opening a new outdoor trail of type always get me excited.  It increases the availability of being outdoors to the surrounding area.  Reading this articles makes me want to get an ocean kayak so I can try the paddle trails of the Texas Gulf Coast.  

Land Protection Legislation

Late in August, Congressman Jared Polis introduced the “Rocky Mountain Recreation and Wilderness Preservation Act” (RMRPWA).  The act would protect land and provide new outdoor recreation in Colorado’s central mountains.  In addition, the act is highly supported by the mountain bike community as the area has a significant amount of mountain bikers.

While the RMRWPA may not directly help outdoor adventures in Texas; the RMRWPA does help preserve the outdoors we love so much.  In addition, I would recommend taking a family road trip.  The area is beautiful and is great for day hikes, backpacking, and mountain biking.

If you have read any interesting outdoors news recently, let me know about it.  Also, please like us on Facebook.

Jarrett Morgan
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