Saturday, May 27, 2023

Between Two Trails - Hiking and Packrafting from Lake Georgetown to Granger Lake


It was all going so well, until it wasn’t. šŸ¤£

This is an adventure about hiking and packrafting along the San Gabriel River from Lake Georgetown to Granger Lake near of the town of Georgetown, Texas.

Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail. What's important is to always get back up.

Spring flowers in bloom along the trail.

Flowing water

The sun on my back

Ducks on the water

A beautiful morning

A new raft ready to launch

And then this happened!

Watch my hike around Lake Georgetown on the Goodwater Trail. Watch my hike around Granger Lake.

Other good stuff. 

Friday, March 3, 2023

Q&A - How To Catch White Bass

A friend asked...

Q: Hi Troy, I was near Granger Lake and got totally skunked while going for white bass. Meanwhile everyone else was killing it. Any tips on lures? - M

A: I've been out a couple of times and have been skunked too. I don't think the main run has happened yet, but they should start moving any day now. Some people say that the white bass start to swim up the river to spawn after a good rain and when there is a bit of a flow to the river. 

Most of the people catching have been using river caught minnows. They bring a casting net with a very small diameter web and catch the minnows in the shallow water of the river. For some reason the store bought minnows don't seem to be as effective. 

Once you have minnows you want to find a place in the river with a deep pool of water. Often these pools are near a bend in the river or under a large tree. The white bass typically sit in water 5 to 6 feet deep. Attach a minnow to a number 4 size hook, add a small split shot 1 foot above the hook and add a thin bobber 5 to 6 feet above the hook. Cast into the pool and wait. 

When the fish start to move through the river it is much easier to spot and locate where to fish. You'll be able to catch the white bass on a white grub jig, white/grey clouser fly or live bait like minnows or shad.

Some very popular places to catch white bass in Central Texas are at Colorado Bend State Park, The Steps at the San Gabriel Wilderness Preserve and downriver of the San Gabriel Canoe and Kayak Launch

Lastly, please practice Leave No Trace principles when fishing. There is a tremendous amount of garbage that is left along the river bank. Consider bringing a net or bag to carry out some trash on your hike out. Every bit helps. 

Monday, February 6, 2023

Q&A: Do you have a recommendation for a Stand Up Paddleboard?

A friend asked…

Hi Troy! I recall a while back at this hike you and M held at Barton Springs you mentioned you had several paddle boards. I'm looking into getting one myself and was wondering if you have any suggestions on where I can get them and what to look for? Very new to this haha thanks! - T

I responded…

Hi T, 

I have one stand-up paddle board and one kayak. I’m not an expert, but I did some research on my own and tried out a few boards before I purchased my current sup. 

I currently have an iRocker All Around 11ft SUP. It’s been a good SUP for me so far, but I don’t think that I’d recommend it. They had a huge recall on some other models last year and the long-term quality might be dubious. 

For any sup,  as a beginner, I’d say get an 11 ft or longer and 32 inches or wider. 4-5 inches or thicker. A sup this size or larger will be the most stable as you’re learning. Other things to consider are how many grab handles, bungees and attachment points a sup has. Grab handles make it easier to move around, but also make it easier to get back on the board after falling. Bungees and attachment points help to fasten down gear if you want to bring stuff along, fish or camp. 

Many beginner sups come as a kit with a board, paddle, leash, pump and bag. Sometimes the paddle might not be the best quality, but it gets you out on the water and you can learn. You’ll also need to buy a paddling specific life jacket or personal floatation device as well.

If you’re just starting out, there is a really good deal at Costco for a Bodyglove Performer 11ft for $400. Sometimes it goes on sale for $300.'-inflatable-stand-up-paddle-board-package.product.100795963.html

I bought one of these as my first board and after using it for a while, I was able to sell it for the same price that I bought it. The backpack is not the best for transporting it, but it is ok for storage. It’s a great deal bc it’s a quality sup, stable, comes as a kit. The kit includes an electric pump which makes life so much easier. I believe that it is only sold online and you have to be a Costco member to purchase it. However, if you’re not a Costco member, I am a member and could possibly help you purchase it.

If you want to buy one of the best quality sups around, check out a Red Paddle Co sup. They are pricey. It’s my dream sup. 

The companies Bote and Isle also make good sups and I like their designs. 

Right now, I don’t really lend out my iRocker sup bc it is somewhat new and it was somewhat expensive. But if you want to test it out sometime, we can meet up and you can try it out. 

I do have a small kayak that I lend out to anyone bc it is pretty much indestructible.  Unfortunately, I do not have a rack to transport it, but It is 8 ft long and typically fits inside most suvs. If you’d like to borrow it, just let me know.

Hopefully this answers some of your questions. If you have additional questions or need help purchasing the Bodyglove sup at Costco, let me know. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Q&A: Do you have a presentation for newbies about backpacking?

A friend asked…

Hey Troy… this is O from ABP. I hope all is well.
My daughter has expressed interest in backpacking and wondering if you have a canned presentation for newbies or a recorded presentation?
Thanks in advance!

I responded…
Hey O, How are you doing? I was just thinking about you the other day bc I haven’t seen or heard from you lately. Unfortunately I don’t have a prerecorded presentation about backpacking in general.
We are planning a beginner backpacking workshop for March or April that your daughter might enjoy. Also, I would recommend the articles and videos by REI too. I’ll provide links below.



Monday, January 23, 2023

Q&A: What moderate day hikes do you recommend for first time visitors to Big Bend National Park?

Chatting with a Mexican Blue Jay on the Lost Mine Trail

People often ask me questions about travel and outdoor activities. So I’m going to start sharing some of these Q&As on my blog and Facebook page to help others that might have the same questions.

A friend asked...

Hey Troy, how's it going? I know you've been to Big Bend a lot. I wanted ask if you have any recommendations for some moderate day hikes? I'm going out there next week.
I responded...

I recommend The Window Trail, The Lost Mine Trail and Santa Elena Canyon. If you have a high-clearance vehicle check out Balanced Rock. The Window and Lost Mine trails are close to each other. Santa Elena Canyon is about a 45 minute drive.
The park provides a free brochure when you enter and it lists suggested itineraries based on how many days you will visit. It ranks trails by difficulty and length. You can find the abbreviated info on their website or app, however, I believe that it does not describe the difficulty ratings. You may also download AllTrails (paid edition) if you would like help with navigation.
Mostly, factor in that you'll be traveling to an area with dry air and at a higher altitude, so start hydrating on your drive to the park with at least 1 liter of water, hydrate once you arrive at the park with 1 liter and hydrate throughout your stay with 1 gallon per day. 

I'll provide a llnk below to the park's suggested itineraries.

Also, always fill up your car's gas tank before entering the park in either Marathon or Alpine. Once you enter the park, you will find that the driving distance between some of the sites and trails is often very far. From Marathon to Panther Junction is 70 miles or over 1 hour. To travel from the Chisos Basin to Santa Elena Canyon the distance is 45 miles or over 1 hour one way. Driving across the park from the Rio Grande Campsite to Santa Elena Canyon is 65 miles and 1.5 hours one way. There are gas stations near Panther Junction, Rio Grande Village and in Terlingua, but they are not always open.

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