Monday, October 3, 2016

Goodwater Loop: Round 4 - First Taste of the Wild

Hiking with a New Friend

The Giveaway

First, Team Adventures with BeeGee wants to congratulate Angie on being the winner of our first ever giveaway!

Jack and Angie with Angie's new Stormproof Matches
Jack and Angie with Angie's new Stormproof Matche
This month we will be giving away a Wildo Kasa Mug, so read through our trip report and sign up for the giveaway at the bottom.

The Trip

On our most recent visit, Jack, BeeGee, and I took a new friend out for a taste of backpacking.  We decided to head out to Goodwater Loop because it’s the best backpacking location in central Texas.  This isn’t the first time we have taken a new hiker out to Lake Georgetown, you can check out Angela’s big adventure.  On June 11th we headed out on a nice and hot day to experience backpacking for the first time.

Stephen right before we head out to Goodwater Loop
Stephen right before we head out to Goodwater Loop

The Background

Location: 2100 Cedar Breaks Rd, Georgetown, TX 78633
Admission: $5 admission and $20 campsites. Primitive sites are free
Elevation: 790 to 950ft
Weather: Sunny and hot, 90 to 95F
Difficulty: Difficult

 Day 1: The Hike and Meet Up

Stephen, BeeGee, and I woke up and headed out to Cedar Breaks Park to kick off our adventure.  Even though we started out early it was already pretty hot.  Thankfully, most of the first 8 miles were shaded by trees.  As we made it down by the lake, the water was at the highest point I’ve ever seen.  Stephen was doing fine, especially for how hot and humid it was. 

Lake Georgetown was full of water!
Lake Georgetown was full of water!

We eventually made it to the first creek crossing, which is normally nothing more than a skip across.  This time, the creek was knee deep and over 10-feet across.  We decided it was best to take off our socks and roll up our pants before forging ahead. While we were doing this about 5 mountain bikers came from the other direction and crossed the creek with no issues which made everyone else feel a little better.  Wading across was easy enough, even if BeeGee had to do a little paddling.

BeeGee just finished paddling across this creek
BeeGee just finished paddling across this creek

Moving on down the trail, it was pretty much the same walk I remembered and blogged about before.  Except all of the water crossings were much fuller and the water was so high at Crockett Gardens there really isn’t a waterfall anymore. Normally you can hop across the stream at Crockett Gardens using pre-placed rocks, but this was not the case today. Plus, Cedar Hollow Camp was partially underwater, which made it difficult to find a flat location to pitch a tent if you wanted to camp there. After exploring Cedar Hollow a bit, I found 2 people kayaking that seemed a little hostile (a bunch of angry and intimidating stares) so we kept going and made our way to Sawyer Hollow Camp.

2 kayakers out on Lake Georgetown
2 kayakers out on Lake Georgetown

Once we found our campsite, I left Stephen to rest, relax, and protect our space while BeeGee and I set out to link up with Jack.  The plan was for Jack to park at Tejas Park and meet me in the middle around the 2-mile mark. Heading out again wasn’t bad, just the standard rocky trail, until we reached a flooded creek. Thankfully, the water was tranquil and shallow enough to ford. BeeGee and I struck out to get across. About halfway across BeeGee needed an assist and I carried her to the other side, which was a steep embankment.

The big creek crossing where I went underwater (thankfully no brain amoebas)
The big creek crossing where I went underwater (thankfully no brain amoebas) 

 Not much further BeeGee and I gleefully(sarcasm) found the trail was submerged. We skirted the edge of the lake and headed where we thought the trail went to the best of our abilities.  This forced us to walk through tall grass on steep angles. After about 3/4th a mile, the trail reappeared and we met up with Jack shortly after that. On the way back we discovered a snake that did not want to share the trail. After stomping and making noise to no avail, we were left with no choice but to spray water in an attempt to convince the snake to slither away.

The spring and creek at Crockett Garden
The spring and creek at Crockett Garden

We followed our off-trail path through the grass and eventually made it back to the “creek” crossing and Jack was super pumped. I went first in an attempt to swim his pack over the deep part while he kept BeeGee from following me. This didn’t work out so well and I was pretty certain I would end up with brain amoebas because I went underwater for a bit. 

The group setting up at Sawyer Hollow Camp
The group setting up at Sawyer Hollow Camp

After 12 miles for BeeGee and I, we made it back to camp. Stephen was just hanging out and was a little worried about how long we had been away. Plus, another guy showed up and was setting up camp. Once the sun finally went down, everyone expected it to cool off significantly; however, this was not the case and it remained hot for a long time.

BeeGee relaxing after a long day's walk (her beard is full of beggars lice!)

Day 2: The Long Trek to Car

The next day turned out to be pretty miserable. The group bummed around camp too long and we didn’t set off until it was entirely too hot, which made it a much harder 4 miles than it needed to be. The walk to the flooded creek wasn’t bad and thankfully the water was a little lower, so there was no need to swim the bags across. Plus, Stephen charged ahead like it was no big deal, with a real rugged mentality.


The next portion was much harder where the lake swallowed the trail, forcing us to do some mild bushwhacking. In the heat of the day, we fought through tall grass, climbed over fallen trees, while on a fairly steep incline.  I tried to keep the conversation going over this mile stretch with some success. Finally, back on the trail, we stopped in the shade by a small waterfall to film a review of Millennium Energy Bars.

The flooded pasture with no shade that spanned the last 2 miles of our trip
The flooded pasture with no shade that spanned the last 2 miles of our trip

This small bit of shade was pretty much the last we saw for the day. We made our way into more of a pasture that had a few intertwining trails. This made it harder to find our way in the heat. By this time Stephen was mostly shut down and just trying to finish out the hike. Because of this, we were relying on Jack’s knowledge of hiking the area the evening before, but he always thought we were about 400 meters from the finish. We were much further than that as it turns out.

I just finished my 3rd creek crossing of the trip.  At least being wet kept me a little cooler
I just finished my 3rd creek crossing of the trip.  At least being wet kept me a little cooler

After lumbering along for what felt like hours, we finally made it to the final shaded section. Thankfully Jack was parked here and blasted the AC to cool down.  Jack took us to grab a quick lunch and dropped us off at our starting point so we could head home. After all that, I was definitely impressed with how motivated Stephen had been. This adventure alone provided much more experience than other campers have ever dealt with.

Wildo Kasa Mug Giveaway

The Wildo Kasa Mug - Our October giveaway item
The Wildo Kasa Mug - Our October giveaway item

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6 comments:

  1. Man, I got hot just reading your adventure! I do have a question. What is beggers lice, how did BeeGee get them and how did you get rid of them?

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    1. Beggar's lice are seed pods covered in natures Velcro, they stick to everything that touches them. BeeGee got them all in her beard and body running around in all the grass surrounding the trail. To get rid of the ones on her body, I just brush her for a bit. For the ones on her face, she would usually get tired of them and rub her face in the grass until most were gone. We just had to wait for the small remaining amount to dry up and fall off of her.

      Great questions and thank you for reading!

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  2. Agreed. Sounds miserable in the heat, but definitely a good fall/spring experience!

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    1. Sometimes miserable is what makes it that much more fun and memorable!

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  3. Thank you for replying Jarrett. :) I now know what you are talking about, but have never heard them called beggers lice. I just called them wild grass seeds. :) I hope it's okay if I ask more questions. I'm very curious. Just wanted to know what kind of snake it was that was being so stubborn and when you put the price of admission, campsites and that primitive one's were free. Do they call the primitive sites primitive because it is exactly that? Do the paid campsites have facilities of any kind? Thank you!

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    1. It's no problem at all, I enjoy answering questions. The snake was most likely nonvenomous water snake because it was so aggressive (in the Nerodia genius). Thankfully it wasn’t a venomous water moccasin (cottonmouth).

      There isn't a 100% agreed upon definition, but primitive campsites lack water and restroom/shower facilities. The paid campsites are geared toward RVs and have various RV hook ups, water sites, picnic tables, and restroom/shower facilities.

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