Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Thru Hiking Pack List (LSHT)

I recently completed a solo thru hike of the Lone Star Hiking Trail. After completing it I decided to complete a pack list for folks interested in lighter thru hiking/fast packing. If you're interested in checking out my thru hike report from the LSHT CLICK HERE.

When I was new to "Fastpacking" and thru hiking I was always a bit curious as to what folks packed. Well now that I've finished my thru hike of the 96 mile Lone Star Hiking Trail I'm doing a post of my pack list for the hike with links and photos included. My beginnings in hiking of course started with heavy cheaper gear which overtime evolved into me buying more efficient (and of course more expensive) gear. Ultimately this was worth it and the quality gear I have now seems to be ready to stand the test of time.

My pack weight now (minus food and water) is normally around 15 lbs. For my thru hike of the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) my weight was an even 15 lbs. For my break down of what I carry I'll include links (if available) and any important details. Of course if you have any questions about any of it feel free to email me at eljacobevans@gmail.com.


Pack Cover: REI Duck's Back 60

We'll start with my pack. For the past few years I've been carrying the "Osprey Exos 38". This bag was target for folks that were ready for a lighter bag and this thing delivers. I've had zero complaints with this bag so far. As for the cover I've never actually used it, but carry it for emergencies just cause you don't want your bag soaked.

Eating/Cooking Gear

Stove: MSR Pocket Rocket (I used the first edition, the link is for the second)

This stove is incredible. It packs down to almost nothing and I can fit my ignition device inside! I've had zero complaints about this stove and it does exactly what I need. I've never run out of fuel on the trail and had cooked 6 meals plus made coffee on multiple hikes. As for the igniter it's never failed me and I hate to admit this but I don't even take a backup. Something I'll probably change soon.

Man, this kettle is by far one of my best purchases so far. It packs down to almost nothing and I can put my cup and coffee pourover inside. It takes up almost no space at all yet is such a valuable piece of equipment.

No complaints about this cup. It collapses down and is stored inside the kettle.

Coffee Pour Over: Collapsable Coffee Pour Over

This pour over is awesome. I can't do without some good coffee each morning. When I bought this exact model it was the only one available. Since they Sea to Summit has come out with their own version which I plan on upgrading to ASAP. HERE's a link to the Sea to Summit version. For my coffee I pre grind my beans and then store them in seperate small baggies with filters. The new Sea to Summit one includes a metal mesh filter which is very appealing.


Water shoes: Vibram Five Fingers

The shoes I wore appear to no longer be available, so I just linked to the classic 5 finger shoe. These shoes are great because they're super light and dry very quickly.

Man, what a controversial subject!! I won't go into this too much, but with my background in running and even more so long distance trail running there was no other option for me for long distance hiking other than a trail runner. These held up pretty well specifically to this trail. They're light weight and going with anything heavier just won't happen for me.

Safety Gear

Reflective Vest: Amphipod Reflective Vest

Specifically for this hike I'd recommend a decent amount of reflective gear. In total there's probably 10-15 miles of road hiking and it's possible some of it may be done in the dark. I was very happy I brought mine cause I did more than a few miles in the dark.

Knife: CRKT M16 Knife and a random multi-tool with phillips head

I don't necessarily recommend a knife this large, but I carry this at work and figured it would work well for this trip which it indeed did. As for the small multi-tool I bring that just in case I need to adjust my poles. I'd probably recommend a slightly more diverse mutli-tool for longer hikes.

Water Filtration/Bladders

Well as I stated in my previous trip report I didn't even use this, regardless I think this is one of the best filtration devices currently available since it's so diverse and light.

Bladders: Platypus 3L Bladder and a smaller Platypus Soft Bottle

Man, another controversial subject! I've been using this Platypus 3L bladder for awhile and it's held up awesome. No leaks and it holds over 100oz. I like the fact that I can fill it up with just one liter or three depending on the distance. The only downside to this thing is that it's difficult to clean. I picked up the smaller 24oz platypus bottle just for the extra water which really paid off on this trip. It fit perfectly under my "brain" between the pack and top with some compression.

Sleeping Gear/Sacks/Tent

I've had this bag for awhile and I finally put it to use! Switching to a quilt was a big decision but this thing is so light and so soft. It was a bit pricey but I wanted a down cold weather bag and this thing does not dissapoint. While it was probably a bit much for this hike, seeing as it didn't drop below 40 degrees it allowed me to sleep in minimal clothing. I could stick a foot or arm out if I got warm. I really enjoyed this bag and can tell it will work great for colder weather. I also picked up their down booties and down hood for colder weather. I also have a 40 degree marmot which I left at home.

Another wonderful purchase. While this thing is a bit pricey it is so light and packs so small I can't complain. It is a bit loud, but that's it. It does exactly what I want it to do.

For years I tried going sans pillow but once I found this it didn't really make sense anymore to not get one. I love it and won't camp anywhere without it now.

So I've also had this tent for awhile and I love it. It sets up in seconds and goes down in seconds. I can pack this thing up in less than 60 seconds without rushing. The link here is for the Pro Trail which is just an updated version of the Contrail. The only downside is that the stakes they included are light, but one of my snapped off in the ground. I didn't even know that was possible.

Compression Sacks: Sea to Summit E-Vent Dry Compression Sacks

I can't recommend any of my gear more than these. I have two of them. One small and one X-small. They will compress anything down to nothing. My small bag had my quilt, my booties, my hood, and my pillow. The X-small bag had my rain gear and sleeping clothes along with some cold weather stuff (Gloves, arm warmers)

Misc Gear

These are fairly basic but do the job I need them to do.  They also double as poles for my tarptent contrail.

Lights/Headlamps: Energizer Basic Headlamp(s)

For some reason I just refuse to go buy some overpriced big name brand headlamp from REI when I get these for $14 at Walmart or Lowes. These work awesome and have never failed me. I always carry two because you never want to be left in the dark.

Alright folks, that's all I can think of for now. If you want to know any other specifics feel free to email at eljacobevans@gmail.com. Also, remember if you want to check out my report from my solo thru hike of the Lone Star Hiking Trail CLICK HERE. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

2018 Lone Star Hiking Trail Thru Hike

As I'm typing this it's currently Thursday, March 15th, at  11:24pm the day I finished my thru hike... WAIT, SPOILER! I finished.

So now that's out of the bag I finished today at 5:41pm. If you don't want all of the nitty, gritty, details of the entire hike all you need to know is I started my hike Tuesday, March 13th, at around 7:40am and finished ~58 hours later on March 15th. Also, if you're interested in my gear I'll be posting next week about my pack/weight and the full breakdown with photos. HERE'S A LINK to my post detailing my pack list! Now, if you want to know the how, read on!

This hike was on my radar for over a year or two. It wasn't until about a month ago I'd had enough and found the perfect window to knock out my hike. I set the date, requested off work, and then checked with my wife. Surprisingly she and the kiddos were already going to be out of town so the hike was set! Wow, what perfect timing.

A very brief history of my experience. I started triathlon/running back around 2005. I built up to a 4 Ironman races and ultimately a straight double Iron triathlon (~26 hours). I then got into ultra running which ultimately resulted in 3 different 100 mile runs. That evolved into "Fast Packing" and I ended up being the first person to solo self support thru hike the "Northeast Texas Trail" which is still a "trail" in it's very basic stages (a rail trail that's very rough and still struggling to get up and going). It was 130 miles and I knocked it out in less than 3 days. I've hiked parts of the Ouachita Trail and the whole "Timberline Trail" around Mt. Hood. So, that in a nutshell is my experience.

So fast forward to my prep which was basically me running maybe 10-20 miles a week max. I'm still a fairly good runner and avg. around 7:20-7:30avg/mile on my 4-5 mile runs. I regularly run sub 7 min miles and very occasionally sub 6 miles. I'm a right at 6' and my weigh fluctuates a lot between 175-190.

Moving forward I coordinate the specifics of the hike. I knew I'd need a ride so I posted up on the Facebook page for the LSHT (Lone Star Hiking Trail) and got a response from one of the admins fairly quickly. They recommended a local trail enthusiast that went by the trail name, "nails" who aided in my transportation plan.

I went and picked up my go to freeze dried meals, some new propane cannisters, and snacks. I was all set and ready to go. For my pack list, etc I'll do another post in the next week with the specifics. Know for now that I keep my basic pack weight (minus food and water) around 15lbs. I had done plenty of research on the trail, but honestly didn't know what kind of mileage my legs could knock out so I just decided to eye ball it each day and let my camping spots fluctuate depending upon my mileage.

On the night before I drove down from about 30 miles north of Dallas. I decided to drive down the night before instead of the 4 hour drive the morning of. Last minute I decided to cache some water jugs at two spots. The first was at Trail head #8 at the beginning of the Four Notch section and one more at the next trail head for the Big Woods section. I got down to Hunstville as the sun was setting so I ended up staching the jugs in the dark. Of course the roads ended up being gravel for the most part, but it was dry and no issues. I stached my bottles and headed the Trailhead #15 at the very end where I was going to park the car. I got in around 9:30 or so and got my tent set up a few hundred yards down the trail. A continuing theme for me was I could heard the road noise which was oddly comforting. I slept fairly well considering and was up by 5:30am. I brewed some coffee, packed my bag, and waited for Candace to give me a ride to the start. She showed up exactly as planned at 6:30am.

I hopped in and we began the 50 minute drive to the start. On the way we had a very nice conversation and discussed as much as we could in 50 minutes. I was surprised to find out the entire trail (all 96 miles) was pretty much volunteer maintained. This blew my mind seeing as this is a "National Scenic Trail" in a National Forest.

We arrived at Trailhead #1 around 7:30am. I grabbed my stuff and loaded up. A few minutes later around 7:30am I was off!

The sun was up enough that I didn't need my headlamp. I started off and the trail was beautiful. Nice smooth pine covered single track with towering pine trees. In hindsight I'm so happy I started on this end (as you'll see) because it was just beautiful. I remember miles 6-8 being really nice with some great trees. The miles were ticking by and I was feeling good. It was around this time that I started to notice I was knocking out around 20 min miles when I was moving. I didn't go in with a goal pace, but was happy to see it was around 20 min per mile.

I crossed FM149 and was soon at mile 10 where I took my first break of the day. I took the pack off and rested on a log across the trail. As for the trail so far it was SO well marked and fairly clear of debris. I was very impressed. The miles around 10-12 weren't too memorable, but from around 12-16 it was awesome. Tons of towering pines with more wonderful single track trail. It was somewhere in this section I hit what I'm going to call one of a few "flood plains". These were low areas where it was obvious that it was river overflow area. The trail was holding water and there was tons of mud and soft ground. Granted my hike was done when the overall trail was fairly dry and the water levels fairly mild. My water plan was to get my first refill at Stubblefield Campground at mile 20 or so. Based on some of the stagnant water I'd seen so far I was happy I'd made that decision. I was carrying around 120oz of water with me from the start. I had a 100oz bladder, plus an extra 24oz collapsible handheld.

At mile 15-16 I started smelling strong smoke. Candace pointed out that they were doing a burn just south of Stubblefield on the way in. Looked like I'd made it! At mile 16 I crossed FM1375 into the fresh burn. This section was super enjoyable. The fresh burn was awesome and there was a lot of fresh smoke. There were even some logs still smoldering.

While the smoke was a bit off putting towards the end early on it was novel and nice. Miles 16-20 clicked away fairly quickly and I was soon at the Stubblefield Campground where I was getting some water and getting another break with my pack off. I also noticed that I was still averaging around 20min miles. Granted the trail was very flat with nothing more than a few 20-30 foot short inclines in creek draws.

I refilled my water and ate a snack. The next 1/4 mile is controversial (from what I've learned). Feel free to email me at eljacobevans@gmail.com if you're curious about the 1/4 past Stubblefield. As I started the next section past Stubblefield it was really warming up. Miles 20-23 are difficult for me to remember, but nothing to exceptional happened here. The next section from 23-26.5 were nice from what I can remember, but at this point I was fading a bit and started getting into "push through it" mode. Lots of power hiking and moving on. The "gravel" road section started around 26.5 and I was actually looking forward to this. Early on I was a bit frustrated the trail had so much road hiking, but honestly in the end it ended up being really nice because it helped break up the miles!

I started knocking out the Bath Road section which was enjoyable gravel roads. I really pushed through here to the next trail head around mile 28.5. The sun was obviously lower in the sky here and I was starting to do some math in my head (this hasn't worked out well in the past). I was thinking I'd camp around mile 33-34 and eat around mile 32. I was really moving around 28.5 - 32. The trail was enjoyable with plenty of solid single track. I knew I could eat around 32 so I was really focused here as the sun was getting low. Finally I broke out of the trees at mile 32 onto some pavement which led me to a spillway behind a nice little neighborhood. The sun was starting to set and I found an awesome little bench next to a private lake. I grabbed a seat and started looking through my maps, getting dinner set up, and refilling water.

About this time  gentleman came out of the house on the corner I later identified as Frank. He immediately asked if I needed anything and insisted I use his spigot on his house instead of the one from the brick water building. He was incredibly nice. We had a great little conversation as I boiled some water and then had my first freeze dried meal. He even let me empty my trash in his trash bin. I enjoyed my dinner by the lake, called the wife, and loaded up my water. This was a great stop. As I was sitting there I did some math and noticed that I could easily make it to mile 34 before setting up camp. This would put me about a mile from I-45. I looked at the map to see where I'd be the next day. I knew that the East Fork of the San Jacinto was near there and did not want to do it in the dark.

To my joy I found a primitive campsite at mile 68 and the San Jacinto crossing was around 71 miles. This would put my crossing the East Fork right past sun up. Perfect!

Around 8pm or so as it was now almost completely dark I knew I had about two miles before camp. I headed out with my headlamp on. There was a spillway right here at the end of a series of private ponds. I had heard it could be fairly slick by multiple people so I didn't take any chances here and put on my Vibram Fivefinger shoes (A because they have good grip and B) I didn't want to get my only pair of hiking shoes wet.The trail was good, but winding. Around a mile in I heard some SUPER loud Coyotes. It was so creepy, but luckily the trail turned the other way. I past mile 34 and still hadn't see a good spot to set up camp. Finally after a small bridge I found a fairly flat spot and set up my tent. It was up in no time. I crawled inside, bundled up and did my best to get some sleep at 34 miles for the day. I was impressed that all I hiked in the dark that day was 2 miles.

Day 2:

I definitely tossed and turned during the night, but the second half I slept pretty good. The woods were fairly quite, but about a mile away I could hear the dull purr of I-45. Believe it or not it was oddly comforting being able to hear the highway so lightly in the background. My alarm went off around 5:30am again and I was up. I of course made one of the few luxuries I bring along (my coffee) and then made my freeze dried breakfast hash which was highly enjoyable. I finished breakfast and then packed up my bag. I was ready to go and on the trail by around 6:40am. My goal was 6:30am so I was a bit behind schedule.

I started hiking east towards I-45. The sound grew louder and louder the closer I got. Soon I was at mile 45 and popped out onto the I-45 service road. I started hiking the paved road southbound. I was soon enough at the underpass at the entrance for the Huntsville State Park. I crossed under I-45 (which was oddly satisfying) and pushed on down the road section. This section of pavement went fairly quickly. At mile 37 I jumped back into the single track for the Phelps section. This section last till around mile 42. The miles ticked by and were enjoyable. The sun rising through the trees was awesome. Around mile 39 I saw some white tailed deer crossing a pipeline section. At mile 42 I popped back out onto pavement.

This section of pavement really drug on for me and was difficult. It was really warming up and the sun was shining good. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the temps were in the high 60s but it felt much warmer. It was a solid 3 miles of road hiking here to get to the next trail head for the Four Notch Section. Around mile 41 I had some dogs run at me, but they were easily scared by my hiking poles which immediately double my height! Finally, at mile 45 I was back on the single track for the "Four Notch" section. This was the first water stash I had so I refilled and was fully topped off. I sat down and took a quick breather. Candace had told me before hand that this was a nice remote section.

I started heading out really looking forward to it. After the long road hike the trail was very refreshing. The single track was great and the miles ticked by. I continued on past a primitive camp site near mile 51 named after a Gymnastics camp just a few hundred yards away. I later researched it and found out why the name sounded so familiar.

I hopped back out onto a beautiful forest road with towering trees and great shade. The hike was very enjoyable. I had drive then section in the dark and it was far my enjoyable on foot in the day! I came to a fork in the road which I stayed to the right. A short distance later I hit another fork in the road that I didn't recognize. I looked at my maps that I'd printed off the LSHT website but this road wasn't on it and there were no blazes that I could see. Based on my brief memory in the dark I stayed to the right here which ended up being a good choice. This section of forest road was highly exposed (albeit beautiful!). I didn't have any sunscreen so I put on my arm warmers to protect my arms from the sun along with my big hat. This section felt like it went on for awhile, but I was finally able to see tall trees ahead where the start of the "Big Woods" section was and my last water stash.

Around mile 57 the trail took a turn to my left or to the east. There was a 4 wheeler trail off to my right/new forest road and it went straight. For some reason I missed the trail markings and wondered down this for maybe 50 yards. I realized I hadn't see a blaze so I backtracked (ALWAYS better safe than sorry!). I realized my mistake and kept on towards the east. This section was incredible. Smaller trees, but very dense.This was a LONG stretch and I knew it going in. It was around 8 miles or so. In my mind I went ahead and broke it up into 5 miles, break, then the last 3 or so. It was starting to get later and I was planning on eating dinner at a church around mile 64. I wanted to get there with plenty of sunlight and knew I had a three mile road hike after dinner, possibly in the dark on an FM road which I wasn't too keen on, but didn't have much of a choice.

I pushed the pace here and knocked out some steady 20 minute miles. Right near the end I observed a younger couple with their dog. It was late enough I found it odd they were about to head out, but figured they were maybe just gonna hike a few hundred yards and turn around. I finally was back on a gravel road and enjoyed a nice 2.5 mile hike to the next FM road. This was the 2nd and last encounter with dogs. I again held up my hiking poles and they immediately turned around! No issues. I really dug down a bit and pushed the pace to the church. I was hoping for a nice spot to sit down, but there were no stairs and no benches, and on top of that it was Wednesday night and people were showing up. I seriously doubted they wanted to see my stinky self in front! I then noticed an old shut down store across the street which had a ledge to sit on, so I sat down over there and started up my stove for dinner. I'm sure I was a sight to all the folks driving down the busy FM road. After eating my delicious (no seriously!) freeze dried meal I refilled all my water and loaded back up. I put on my reflective gear and headed towards the Magnolia trailhead. The road section was actually really nice! The only downside was doing it in the dark with fast moving cars. I of course moved ALL the way off the road and had plenty of reflective stuff on.

I finally head the Magnolia trailhead and knew that the primitive campsite I was looking for was just a few miles down. I headed in and soon enough past mile 68. The campsite was around 68.5. I moved on for what seemed like awhile and still no campsite. I was getting a bit worried that I'd missed it, but sure enough I found it a short distance later with no issues. As I was getting my tent out I heard an extremely loud and close howl. It sounded like a coyote, but was oddly deeper. I very quickly started trying to put up my tent. I started putting my stakes in and sure enough the ground was nothing but pebbles a half inch down. I couldn't get my stakes in at all. Of course the whole time I'm picturing this behemeath coyote jumping out on me. I then tried to force my stake and it SNAPPED IN HALF! Oh lord, of course I didn't pack extra tent stakes. I mean who does that!?

I then look up to see the beedy reflective eyes of my howling friend. I went to grab my hiking poles and all the sudden hear a human voice that I couldn't see. I then hit him with my light and believe it or not it was the young couple I'd seen at the last trailhead! Thank God! It was his dog that was howling. He was very friendly. I of course asked them if they had an extra tent stake which of course they did not. I finally decided I'd try to tie off my tent line from a small tree. At first this wasn't working, but finally did. After searching for 10-15 minutes I finally found a section of ground that would take a stake. Granted, not very well. Regardless of my tent not being as taught as I like it was going to work, plus there wasn't a rain cloud in sight. I got inside, but not before admiring the bright stars above with minimal light pollution. For the day I'd pulled off another 34 miles and was now at a total of 68. My feet were definitely starting to feel it but I was confident I could pull off another 28 tomorrow.

Day 3:

My alarm went off a bit early this morning because I wanted to be sure and be on the trail by 6:30. I brewed my coffee and had some delicious freeze dried "Breakfast Hash". I got changed back into my hiking stuff and got all loaded. I was right on schedule this morning and was on the trail moving eastbound by 6:30! This was oddly satisfying know that I was on my final day and would hopefully be done in less than 12 hours. I knew that the crossing of the East Fork of the San Jacinto River was coming up soon, but before that I just enjoyed the awesome sun rise. I only had to use my headlamp for maybe 30 minutes.

Soon enough I was starting to notice I was in another flood plain. I sure sign that the river crossing was coming up. Within a short time I was at the river and happy to see that it looked fairly low. I changed into my water shoes and got down into my undies for the crossing. I decided to try and cross with my backpack on so that I could use my poles to get across. As I was trying to get down into the river I slid out on some mud and got nice and dirty. It was extremely slick. Once I was in I was happy to feel it wasn't that cold, but the ground was fairly soft. I used my poles to feel out the crossing and never got any deeper than halfway up my thighs. My bad never got wet. Once across I changed back into my gear and continued on eastbound. Overall I maybe spent 10-15 minutes here.

The trail was enjoyable here and the sun continued to rise. My next significant stop was the Double Lake Campground where I was going to refill my water, potentially for the last time. I originally was thinking about getting water from a stream halfway between Double Lake and the finish, but around this time I decided I would go ahead and fill all the way up with 120oz at Double Lake and hope that it could hold me over till the end.

I rolled into Double Lake still feeling pretty strong and ready to grab a snack and more water. I filled up using a water fountain. I snacked on a pop-tart and enjoyed the beautiful lake. I headed back out and started the Double Lake section. This section of trail was absolutely beautiful. The trees were huge and the single track was picture perfect. If there was any downside here it was that the trail was a bit muddy in parts, but it was hard to take your eyes off the incredible single track. I frequently forgot I was only a hundred or so miles from the Texas Gulf and not on the PCT.

While this section was incredible I was really looking forward to the next section and rolling into the Big Creek Scenic Area. Unfortunately this area ultimately was disappointing. A few miles from the trailhead for this section I stumbled upon an older white guy fullhy outfitted in camo from head to toe. He creeped me out immediately, and this was before he told me he was a big foot hunter......

He then went on to ask me if I'd seen anything suspicious and started asking me questions about whether I was alone or had seen anyone else on the trail. Maybe he was completely innocent, but it rubbed me the wrong way and seemed creepy. I was happy I wasn't a female by myself, but instead a 190lb 6'00" male. Maybe it was the full camo attire with the video camera in his lap......

I put my head down an bit here and just pushed on. I wasn't too interested in spending too much time here and emotionally I was feeling a bit drained. Fortunately around mile 81 I passed a jeep road and came into a beautiful section with more dense tall pines. I really enjoyed this section and it was around here that I was noticing it was definitely warming up. I put on my full hat and started drinking a bit more water. I had been trying to be conservative seeing as I was hoping my 125oz would last me till the end, but it was too warm for all that. I was already starting to think about the next section which was my last long 8 mile stretch. I think I let it get into my head a bit, but I continued with my mantra of continuous forward motion. One foot in front of another.

Soon enough I was around mile 83 and passing another FM road at trailhead 13. I saw a gentlemen with his son and decided not to stop just there, but move on to the next mile marker and try to take a breather there. At the mile 83 mile marker I took a breather and ate a snack. I knew the next section would be long, but was ready to get it done. I knew the sections after that were short and would tick by quickly.

This section started OK, but the sun was high and it was getting hot. I very quickly faded and the miles were barely ticking by. The scenery was of course still good, but the miles were difficult. I decided to break it up into a 5 mile section followed by a 3 mile section. Miles 84-87 were mentally very tough, if not some of the toughest all week, but just after mile 87 my spirits picked up and I started to think about the fact that I was only 9 miles from the end. This was uplifting for me and brought my spirits up quite a bit. The trail here was enjoyable and ran next to a small creek, that had plenty of water in it. Soon enough I was just past mile 88 and found my resting point. I took my bag off and relaxed a bit here. Thankfully there was some great shade, and I all the sudden noticed some clouds were rolling in. After eating a snack and some water I moved on.

This section was nice and very shaded. Around mile 89.5 I noticed the clouds were increasing even more and they were now giving me plenty of relief from the heat. I even thought for a moment there was coldfont coming in. I took my hat off and wouldn't put it back on for the rest of the hike. This was a life saver and helped a TON. Once I passed mile 90 my adrenaline really dumped and I started pushing the pace. I was ready to have a seat and grab something to eat. At mile 91 I passed trailhead number 14.

I continued down some solid single track and didn't know anything about this section at all. It ended up being VERY swampy and low. The mud was horrible and the mesquitos were 10X worse than the mud. If I even stopped for a few seconds it was horrible. This ultimately really kept me moving quickly. The trail was very flat with some slippery and at times very thick mud. I couldn't imagine this section in a legit rain.

After two or so miles I crossed the last FM road and I knew it was only about 3 miles to the finish. At this point I was really moving and fully motivated. The trail continued to be low and soggy, but still beautiful. Nothing changed in regards to all the mosquitoes. For some reason there weren't any mile markers here so I was just going off my estimated pace. Very occasionally I'd glance at my map for reference. It was also obvious that someone had (fairly recently) brought some horses onto the trail. I dodged their dropping and large prints through the mud for some time. Finally I crossed the San Jacinto and knew it was close. The mosquitoes continued in intensity and were relentless. With no mile markers I wasn't too sure how much longer, but I soon saw the church right by the trailhead and knew I was close.

Within a few hundred yards I was at the end and done with my entire solo self supported thru hike of the Lone Star Hiking Trail. It was of course very anti climactic, but no less enjoyable. I did my best with the swarms of mequitoes to get a quick selfie and then changed into fresh clean clothes in the back of my car.

I finished at 5:41PM. Right around 58 hours and 1 minute after I'd started.

Next post will be a complete packing list for the hike. HERE'S A LINK to my post about my pack list! Feel free to ask any questions you want or email me at eljacobevans@gmail.com. I'd love to help anyone anyway I can!