Houston Happy Hikers
Listed here is a potpouri of descriptions, comments, stories, etc about previous walks.
West University contributed by Charles Christal
I'm a little late on letting y'all know about the results of the West U. walk last weekend. It was a good walk with a better than expected turn out. The weather was on our side completely. Those of you who missed it miss a great walk. There was a little confusion in my directions that I apologize for but for the most part, everyone figured out what I was trying to say. We had 6 new membership applications and sold 10 new walker packets which says we reach some new people, which I always think is a success even if they had been the only ones to come to the walk. But they weren't. There were 106 of us to register - a great turn out. Many of the West U. people came to walk with us and it was great meeting them. They have a wonderful neighborhood to walk in.
The New Balance shoe winner was Allen Ranft. I wonder if he will go to the Fleet Feet store we had the check point in front of. The manager was a nice lady and I hope some of our walkers used the 10% off discount cards she gave us. Thanks goes to New Balance for their sponsorship. We still have a lot of water bottles to give away, so if you didn't get one last weekend, pick up one or two at our March walk in Stephen F. Austin State Park.
I want to thank all the volunteers who made the walk a success: Carol & David Jackson; Trish & Virginia Drum; John & Pat Deibel; LaDora & Eric Jernigan; John & Becky Rabon. Plus a few others that I can't resist making a couple of remarks about. Mary Wheat & her Granddaughter Megan McGlynn - Meagan signed them up to volunteer for the March walk. Megan is the youth that the national organization keeps talking about, a sweet young girl who loves to help. I believe she has more walks than I do. :-) Ed Brodie worked the finish. Gaye had planned to be there but she was sick and could not come. Ed wasn't feeling so well himself and I wondered if he shouldn't be at home as well but he did a great job. Lois Good came by for a while on her way to the arboretum for a class and was a big help talking to some of those who were new to Volkssporting; just helping to make them feel comfortable. Lois is always a lot of help. Our volunteers deserve the thanks of all of us for making these walks possible. Let them know you appreciate them when you see them. Thanks to Catherine also for recruiting, and reminding our volunteers of the jobs they were helping with.
Stephen F. Austin State Park contributed by Charles Christal
We had a great walk in Stephen F. Austin State Park Saturday. Once again, those who missed it missed a good event with a lot of nice people to walk with. It was not a difficult walk but there were a couple of steep slopes on the 10K that would have been some trouble if we had the rain that had been threatening. But there was no rain and the temperature was just right to be out roaming the woods. I enjoyed the open areas among the tall trees and walking along the Brazos River. I took the side trails a couple of times so I could get a good look at the river and saw a couple of places I would have liked to have tried a little catfish fishing and one day, I may go back to do just that.
I didn't hear of any reports on wild life sightings but when John, Becky, Catherine, and I marked the trail the evening before, we saw about 6 deer that were like shadows among the trees and one snake (unidentified) about 20 inches long. There were also quite a few birds. Those I heard and even saw a few when I helped to sweep a part of the trail. I enjoyed the walk very much and hope the 107 others who came out did as well. Our friends from San Antonio came over again and a couple of people from Austin, and even a couple from the Dallas area. It is always nice to see those that are not local to our club. Of course, there are many of our members who travel quite a distance and they are really appreciated.
I want to thank the volunteers who worked on Saturday; they keep the walks working. John & Becky Rabon worked with the Park Rangers to layout the trail and marked it Friday afternoon. Then, John worked the startpoint and ran errands later. Pat Powers worked the startpoint and made a lot of people smile with his jokes. We need to have him work more! Carol Jackson - Start/Finish - a regular and always appreciated. Linda Risinger - Finish - seems she is always there. John & Pat Deibel - Checkpoint - I always love to hear their stories about places they have walked. Mary Wheat & Megan McGlynn - Check Point - Megan keeps Mary busy volunteering. She is a sweet girl and I wonder how Mary can keep up with her. Yvonne Mattingly - Check Point - and helped sweep a part of the trail. Perry L. Eliasson - Sweep / Start-Finish - Perry is one of our newest members. He lives in Port Authur and camped out at the park for the weekend. He helped all day long. Maybe I can talk him into putting on a walk on in Port Authur.
I hope I didn't miss anyone. So many seem to just pitch in and do things that I sometimes don't hear about. We have a great group of people who walk with us. As always, thanks to Catherine for recruiting volunteers and reminding them of the walk. Also, thanks go to the staff of the park for all the help they gave us to make the walk a success. I almost forgot Andy Howard who makes the magnets for us for the walks. We have cut back on the numbers. I think we have hit on the right number because once again we sold them all. Thanks to everyone.
I can't believe who won the New Balance shoes! It was Howard Ranft. Strange since Alan won them last month. I think I would consider buying lottery tickets if I were them. Alan dropped me a note saying the people at Fleet Feet treated him very well, making sure his shoes fit like they were supposed to. Those are the kind of reports I like to hear.
I talked to Charles Able about the Eagle Lake walk on April 13th and he says it is ready. The local Masonic Lodge will have some food that we can purchase and he has talked to the city to make sure the canal to the lake is full of water. Charles has done a lot of work on the walk and I'm looking forward to it; I've never seen the lake. We just hope his daughter cooperates and waits until after the walk to have her baby. :-) I'll see y'all at Eagle Lake.
Eagle Lake contributed by Charles Christal
The walk in Eagle Lake was really nice. It was especially nice for me since Charles Able took care of all the walk aspects. Trail layout, marking, directions, map, hanging around the start point answering questions, trail sweep. Thanks Charles, you did a great job!
A lot of people were disappointed that they didn't see the alligator that Charles told us about but there were reports from a few people that they saw a big one swim up to the observation platform then swim away, so we know the alligators are there.The museum had a couple of mounted alligators that had been taken from the lake that we were able to see up close and they were big. The museum director told me the game warden had reported there was a alligator in the lake that was a little over 20 feet long. That one I don't want to get too close to.
I didn't get the opportunity to see as many of the walkers as normal and I kind of missed that. I worked the Checkpoint until Andy came to relieve me. We had a few walkers that started early and I wanted someone to be at the checkpoint and I elected me. When I came back in Charles was doing such a good job and he had such capable help that I decided I could actually walk the trail on the day of the walk so I went out with Becky and John.
It was a good walk although the sun came out a little bit after we started and I had left my hat in the truck. That meant a slight sun burn, but it was worth it for the walk. I enjoyed the little underpass we went through to get to the lake and the path to the Lake. The LCRA has done a good job providing access to the lake. I saw a gar and some pink Spoon Bills but no alligator, wait till Brazos Bend. The marsh on either side of the trail reminded me of some spots along Brazos Bend trails. When we left the lake we went through a newer neighborhood and I enjoyed the flowers in their yards. Several had seeded areas with Blue Bonnets and they really looked nice. After leaving that area we went through an older neighborhood with large houses, some with very nice gardens. I'm always impressed by the old homes with the columns and screened in porches. We had 71 walkers which was a little less than I had hoped for but it was a busy weekend for a lot of people. I had received several notes from our members saying they wished they could be there but had other things they had to do. It was nice to know they were thinking of us. I did receive on piece of bad news. Lorna Nahrstedt (who has done our publicity for years) is moving to East Texas in July. It was a great walk all in all.
I want to thank the Prairie Edge Museum for all their help. They had someone there all day to help us and did all they could to make us comfortable. For those of you who didn't make it to the walk, you might want to put the museum on your list of places to visit. There is a lot of neat old tools and historical items on display. Some of them brought back memories, others I had no idea what they were used for. It is a neat place. I also want to express my thanks to the volunteers who gave of their time to make the walk a success: Trail Master - Charles Able; Start/Finish - John & Becky Rabon; Carol Jackson; Lydia Blagg; Martha Youngblook; Linda Risinger; and Alice Martinez. Checkpoint - Andy Howard; David Jackson; Mary Wheat; and Megan McGlynn. Volunteer coordination - Catherine Kellner. I hope I didn't miss anyone.
I almost forgot - the New Balance Shoe Winner was Jenny Southard. Congratulations Jenny! I have had some very good reports on how our members have been treated at the Fleet Feet Stores when they redeemed their shoe certificates. If any of you are in their stores, let them know that we appreciate the treatment they give us. Nice people to do business with!
Brazos Bend State Park contributed by Charles Christal
Those of you who missed the Brazos Bend walk last Saturday missed a wonderful walk. The turn out was not as great as I had hoped but there was a lot of competition for our walkers' time plus some competing walks that were well worth going to. I had notes from at least 10 of our regular walkers telling of conflicts they had. Even with everything that was going on, we had 67 participants. The weather was wonderful! The rain the day before cooled things off and the breeze kept the deer flies away, for the most part. The only complaint I heard was from a couple of walkers who had encountered snakes. You know how some of us are about snakes!
The alligators were very cooperative. The smallest number I heard of being seen were five. Most people said they saw eight or "a lot of them." The alligators were vocal as well; almost everyone I talked to had heard them growling and making noises.One couple told me they had gone to Louisiana last week to see birds and alligators and they had seen more of both at Brazos Bend. I think everyone had a great time. I know I did even though I wasn't able to walk. The pleasure on the faces of those who told me about their walk made it worth while.
I heard several of the walkers say it was the first time they had been to Brazos Bend and how great they thought the park was. There were also several first time walkers who joined us in the walk and all the reports I heard from them were positive. One even walked for free as a first time walker and, when he came back, asked if he could join the club and change the free walker to a credit walker. Those kind of things make you feel good.
I want to thank those who volunteered to help out; I hope I don't miss anyone. There were quite a few who helped make the walk possible, some of them first time volunteers: Megan McGlynn; Mary Wheat; Andy and Tina Howard; Mike Shay; Yvonne Mattingly; John Braum; John Rabon; Becky Rabon; Nancy Marsac; Frank Forestier; and Darrell Matula. I also had help loading up at the end of the walk and a couple of the park volunteers swept the trail for me. The walk couldn't have taken place without all the help we had!
The New Balance shoes were won by Megan McGlynn. Congratulations Megan! I hope to see you all at Hershey Park on June 8th. It promises to be a great walk in a part of the park we have not walked. I'm looking forward to it.
Trek In The Trees contributed by Charles Christal
I think the walk yesterday at Terry Hershey County Park was a great walk, even though the heat was something of a problem. We had 94 participants and I even walked a little way. It was a beautiful day and I really enjoyed the trees along the bank of Buffalo Bayou. I saw aLynn and Keith Clark; Frank Forestier; John Rabon; Patrick Powers; Carol and David Jackson; Ed and Gaye Brodie; Linda Risinger; Donna Villegas; Les and Regina Sharpe; Karen Comier; Trish Drumm. And, as always, to Catherine for her work to get volunteers. She told me that for this walk there were more volunteers than places for them. That is great to hear. Maybe those who always volunteer can have some rest.
I hope some of you will be able to attend our summer walks. If the heat is a problem, I understand. I hope that, even if you can't walk, you will attend our business meeting, after the July Walk at the Crowne Plaza. I will be sending reminders.Thanks again to all of you who braved the heat to walk with us and I hope to see you on the trail again soon.
Group walk of the Rice University YRE contributed by Charles Christal
We had a great walk yesterday. I agree it was a little, well maybe more than a little hot, but I enjoyed it. Andy Howard's frequent refreshment stops helped to endure the heat as well. We had 27 walkers which is the largest summer group walk I can remember. We had several new walkers who walked with us and they seemed to enjoy the walk as well.
As usual, there were a few who arrived a little late but Carol helped them toget started and they finished in time to attend our business meeting. I will wait for Carol's report to talk about the business meeting. John and Becky Rabon were a couple of the late arrivals but they caught us at the first rest stop and John agreed to lead the group so I could do what I like to do - visit with a few of the other walkers instead of trying to make sure I wasn't leading everyone off into unexplored areas. I do that a lot on my own and it is hard to break old habits. :-)
I didn't talk to everyone that I would have liked to but did visit with a few people and really had a good time. The Rice Walk brought back some good memories; it was the first volkswalk I ever did. The first time I wondered if I would survive, this time it was over before I knew it! I still enjoy meeting the friendly runners on the Rice loop, the shops in the village, the Sculpture garden by the museum, the pocket park with the statue of Columbus, the tall oaks along main street (the shade was most welcome) and the walk across the Rice Campus (we even found a great breeze there).
It was a great walk and I want to thank Carol Jackson, Andy Howard, and John Rabon for helping out and making it an easy, fun walk for me. I hope to see an even larger group out for the August walk, when we walk Hermann Park. I'm looking forward to seeing the changes they have made around the lake.
Group Walk of the Hermann Park YRE contributed by Charles Christal
Those of you who missed yesterday's walk missed a good time walking with a bunch of nice people. It was hot and I don't blame those who stayed in the cool for doing so. John Rabon ran a water and fruit stop for us which helped us to stand the heat. Instead of the normal one or two checkpoints for water and rest, he was able to meet us at three places without too much hassle from the park police. Becky lead the walk and had to head us up and move us out each time we stopped for water; a lot of fun. She got us around the trail and we didn't loose anyone.
We had 19 come out to participate and the flowers and plants were very pretty. The street work did provide one minor problem with about an 18 inch road cut we had to navigate but everyone made it through all right. We even gained a new member at the walk, Christy Geary, a very nice young lady. I think she said she and her husband would probably be at the Heights walk on Sept. 14th. Come out and meet her and see all those people you haven't run into since the spring.
I want to thank John Rabon for providing the water stops, Becky Rabon for leading the group along the route, Linda Risinger for handling registration and stamping books while we were out and David Jackson for forcing me to walk rather than doing the water stops myself. Speaking of books, someone at the walk left an insert card at the startpoint. It has event written on it and contains a stamp from our Galveston walk from Jan of this year plus a stamp from yesterday's walk. If you know who owns it, let me know.
Those of you who missed it, remember it is a YRE and is available all the time. Just go to the front desk at the hotel and ask for the walkers' box, register, pull the directions and head out. All three of the walks are worth doing.
Hiking in the Heights contributed by Charles Christal
The Heights walk was a huge success. We had 104 walkers, many of them new; we sold about 10 new walker packets. The only complaints I heard were about the heat. Well, some people fussed that the baked potatoes at the Hickory Hollow Restaurant were too large. One fellow said he thought he should do the walk again to work off the meal. I took a little time to enjoy some of the food as well and think I will have to go back again sometime.
Rock did a great job of laying out this walk. For a change, you could walk and talk without worrying about having to watch for the next street sign. There was a short area where it was necessary to pay attention, after we got to the end of the Heights jogging trail but, for the most part, it was a very easy route to follow. I heard some of the guys lost their wives in some of the antique shops and a few walkers made some side trips to price a few of the homes that were for sale.
I always enjoy walking in the Heights and seeing the memorials along the walking trail and the gardens around some of the homes. It is interesting to see the changes that are taking place in the neighborhood. There is a lot to see in the Heights and we only covered a part of it, but a very interesting part. I even went into Harold's Mens' Store. I've heard about that store as long as I've been in Houston and finally had a chance to take a look at it. It was a nice point of interest for a checkpoint and I heard that Harold came out and talked to a few of the walkers. They said he was a nice guy. I'm afraid I missed the opportunity when I was picking up the checkpoint but felt I needed to get back to the startpoint so the volunteers who were still holding down the fort could go home; maybe I'll have a chance to meet him another day.
I want to thank all the volunteers who made the walk possible. Without them, these events just couldn't take place.
For working the event, thanks to: Linda Risinger, Mary Wheat, John & Becky Rabon, Ken & Daralyn Schubert, Karen Cormier, LaDora & Eric Jernigan, Trudi Stafford, Yvonne Mattingly. Thanks to Rock Robinowitz for all his efforts in making arrangements for two different start points, laying out the route and assisting in setting up the checkpoints, then staying at one of them until he was relieved. Thanks also to Catherine for working to schedule the volunteers. I also want to thank the restaurant manager, Ray, for allowing us to use the patio. He said to pass on his thanks to all of the walkers who stopped in to eat after the walk. I also want to thank all those who came out and walked with us. That is what makes it seem worth the effort, those who come out to participate. We had several walkers from San Antonio and Comfort who came over to walk with us. If you have a chance do some walks out there to return the favor.
We did give away a pair of New Balance shoes -- and the winner was -- Delores Bentke. If you see her, tell her congratulations! One other piece of information. I'll see y'all on the trail.
On the boat to Bolivar Point contributed by Charles Christal
Even with the threatening weather, we had our walk in Bolivar yesterday. There were only 22 people who came out to participate due to the weather. We did have two ladies from the Dallas area who attended. I still think it was a good walk, even with the rain. The media built the weather up as a major flood and we did have a few puddles to walk through that were about half way up my shoe but the rain was not hard. A couple of the walkers mentioned some high water on Broadway when they came through Galveston, but it was still dark when I came through that area so I didn't see the water.
For the most part it was a drizzle with some occasional larger drops. Later, in the afternoon, the sun almost came out but the rains moved back in as occasional drizzles. It made me think of how people describe the Seattle weather to me. Someday, I hope to see if that is how their weather is, but for now I only imagine.
There was one place where the water was running across the road between the bay and a body of water on the other side of the road. I think that was due to high tides and a little bit of wind. The walk through the grass to the seawall in Fort Travis had a couple of places where the puddles were crossing the hump. There were also some puddles along the road that were hazards from passing traffic. But even with this, those who walked talked about the walk in a positive way. A couple of people even suggested that we do the walk again and we may do that.
I wish I had been able to do the walk yesterday to experience the rain and puddles but trying to make sure everything is going okay kept that from happening. That means I made the walk when it was nice and dry and the experiences of those who walked yesterday aren't mine. I did find time to walk out to the seawall at Fort Travis Park and found the view to be more impressive in the rain than when the sun was shinning. I do hope all those who came out felt their time was well spent, I know I did.
For those of you who did this walk with us a few years ago the route was pretty much the same as before except I reversed the direction so the 5K walkers could walk with the 10K walkers for the first part of the walk. I also shortened the walk a little. I think the view of the lighthouse was better across Horseshoe Lake where the road made the s curve between the bay and the lake. I'm sorry most of you missed it.
I rode the ferry several time to set up check points, then check on how things were going and again to load up the checkpoints and saw dolphins each time. I even saw one that was swimming ahead of a ship that was going out to sea. It was just like the pictures I've seen with them just ahead of the ship in the edge of the breaking water. I always thought those pictures were composites but I guess not. In one trip I saw several groups of dolphins. Some groups had three swimming together and breaking the surface. They were fun to watch but you had to be watching to see them. They would break the surface about three times and I wouldn't see that group again. Unless they were the same ones just going to another spot.
I also saw a lot of Pelicans. I saw them last Monday when I went down to check out the route "one more time" but then they were mostly flying around or sitting in the water. This time they were diving and taking off as well. I really enjoy watching those big birds. Of course, the air was filled with gulls at the back of the ferry. Next time, I take something to feed them! I sometimes wonder if the ferry ride is why some of those who come out come. :-)
I want to thank the volunteers who were so helpful and made the walk possible: Perry & Barbara Eliasson, Mary Wheat & Meagan McGlynn, Ken & Daralyn Schubert, LaDora & Eric Jernigan, Trish Drumm, Helen & Jose Flores. Thanks for all your help and support in making these walks successful. Thanks also to all the others who came out to walk with us even with the threat of bad weather.
The winner of the New Balance shoes for the Bolivar walk was Karen Cormier. Congratulations Karen! I hope to see all of you in La Grange for the Friendswood walk next weekend and then back in Seabrook for our November walk. The rain at the Bolivar walk was nothing compared to the rain in Seabrook last year. Those of you who missed it last year are in for a treat this time. It is a little longer this year because we have extended it to take a very interesting area. Last year, a part of that trail was under about five feet of water. See y'all on the trail.
Seeing the "sea" at Seabrook contributed by Charles Christal
Those of you who missed our walk in Seabrook missed a great walk. We had 89 walkers and about 18 of those were from Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas areas. There was one walker from Calgary. The walk was longer than most of our walks but the comments were all positive. As one walker put it in an email, "Good walk! We really enjoyed it. Nice walking trails, nature trails, Galveston bay, a cemetery, pelicans, small coastal town back streets, 2 or 3 parks, and a couple of historical markers. Gosh, I don't know how you could have done any better."
The main reason for the longer walk was to take in a city park on the bay that followed a bayou / salt marsh into the bay. Everyone I talked to said the extra distance was well worth it to see the park. That was my favorite part of the walk and, if I had been able to have worked a checkpoint, I would have picked that one just for the view. The time I was there was spent watching birds and ships as they moved into the bay. I enjoy watching the big ships and the waves off shore were large enough that you could see the water rolling away from the prow of the ships. Neat!
The weather was great for walking. Not so great for the start point where we had a lot of shade and a very cool wind but it wasn't really bad, just cool. The thing that impressed me about the wind was what it did to the water. There was one place where we walked along a road by the bay that had a big mud flat extending out about 200 feet from the shore. A couple of weeks ago when I was pre walking the route the water had been right against the bank with pelicans swimming where the mud flat was. I suppose there must have been a combination of the wind and low tide to accomplish that.
The lady who drew the picture for the t-shirt we had for the walk worked the first checkpoint, so many of the walkers met her without knowing it. She was very nice and the picture was great. We still have a few of the shirts, if anyone would like to have one.
I want to thank all the volunteers who made the walk possible. Brenda Lightfoot, who did all the coordination with the city and the Eco-Tourism Committee and her husband, Tom, who worked on the laying out the trail. Chris Kuhlman designed the brochure, put out the trail markers and a bunch of other things.
Start-finish volunteers - Patrick Power , Kathy Goldfarb, Erica Hill, Carol Jackson, Linda Risinger, Kelly Riley
Check Point volunteers - Dori Nelson (designer of the t-shirt, worked last year also), David Jackson, John & Pat Deibel, Bill & Sandy Lawson (who came out to help since they live close by but were unable to walk because of health problems. It always makes me feel good when our members help out even when something prevents them from doing the walk as well.)
There was another member of the Eco-Tourism group who helped me to set up the checkpoints and manned one until relieved by our volunteer whose name I don't remember (it is Mike I believe). This walk was a pleasure for me because there was so much that I didn't have to worry about. A great walk! I hope we can do it again next year!
This page was last updated on 11/29/02.
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