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  1. #1
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    Upland Island Wilderness, TX mini-hang

    I'm tossing this out there for folks who might be interested in a weekend mini-hang at the Upland Island Wilderness in the Angelina National Forest of Texas.

    The reason it will have to be a mini-hang will be because of relatively short notice on dates. I'm looking at finding a weekend in August or September to do this (it will be hot, too, so that will also pare down group size), but I don't know when yet.

    I signed up for a "summer" soccer league and I still don't know when the season starts/ends. I probably won't know more on that until the end of this month, so there may only be a couple weeks' notice.

    I also want folks to be aware that I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA about the presence of trails here. The trip may be partially or entirely off-trail.

    Here's the map the USFS published for the area. As you can see, there are no trails labeled. But being that there are several parking areas, I imagine that there are probably at least some social trails heading into the forest for some distance at each one.

    Here's some basic information about the place...not a lot. There's a little bit more detail posted here.

    I want to visit the area described here, this much I know.
    The area's most distinctive geological feature is a 2,000-acre ridge of Catahoula formation in the south central portion of the wilderness, nearly surrounded by creeks and 250 feet above the bottomlands at its highest point. Associated with the ridge is the largest undisturbed longleaf pine-bluejack oak parkland in the world; along its slopes, groundwater seeps from the impermeable Catahoula layer sustain rare species of orchids, club mosses, liverworts and ferns, as well as all four Texas genera of carnivorous plants.
    If you come on this trip, you'd better bring some long tree straps!
    The wilderness area is also home to some of the largest trees in the United States, including a longleaf pine that is twenty-seven feet in circumference, the nation's largest snow-bell and barberry hawthorn trees, and the largest Florida basswood tree ever reported. A 165-foot tall cherrybark oak and a shagbark hickory within the preserve are among the largest trees in Texas. The main northern approach to Upland Island is via Forest Road 303 from State Highway 63. Southern access is from Forest Road 314, one-half mile east of U.S. Highway 69. Several trails traverse the area, and limited primitive camping is allowed at selected sites.

  2. #2
    in it for the naps oldgringo's Avatar
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    Nate, I'd love to see that area, just not in August.

    I hope you'll consider leading a group back in there next winter.
    Dave

    http://www.uark.edu/misc/xtimber/rna/pattonsbluff.html

    It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.
    John Steinbeck

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldgringo View Post
    Nate, I'd love to see that area, just not in August.

    I hope you'll consider leading a group back in there next winter.
    Sure. I'd like to do some exploring this time around, and hopefully will have a better idea of where to go.

    I do believe there are group size limits in Wilderness areas, though.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kattelyn's Avatar
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    Nate, I've hiked through that exact stretch... 20 years ago. Totally with Old Gringo on loving to see it again, just not in August.

    If you don't drown in the humidity, you get carried off and eaten by the skeeters.

  5. #5
    UncleMJM's Avatar
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    You can color me interested in that area too as long as we are in a cooler season.

    The challenge with most Texas wilderness areas is it's too hot in Jun, July, August, and much of September; hunters are out after Bambi during Nov-mid Jan.

    Pretty much, the limits of the prime hiking time is late September-October, Mid-January-May and anyone involved in school is full up during that time.

    The other option is car camping in State Parks when no hunting is allowed.

    Looks like the bottom line is go out when you can!

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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleMJM View Post
    You can color me interested in that area too as long as we are in a cooler season.

    The challenge with most Texas wilderness areas is it's too hot in Jun, July, August, and much of September; hunters are out after Bambi during Nov-mid Jan.

    Pretty much, the limits of the prime hiking time is late September-October, Mid-January-May and anyone involved in school is full up during that time.

    The other option is car camping in State Parks when no hunting is allowed.

    Looks like the bottom line is go out when you can!
    Being that I don't like dodging bullets, it looks like summertime is when I go places in the NF that allow hunting.

    I'll see what the "evidence of hunting activities" looks to be when I go. I suspect that there will be relatively little compared to other places I go, since hunters cannot use ATV's or even game carts here. As such, I suspect that a cooler-weather trip here, even one during hunting season, would be reasonable with appropriate blaze orange apparel.

    But I will note that it's been pretty wet here lately, and as such the temperatures have honestly been relatively reasonable most days compared to the previous two years.

  7. #7
    in it for the naps oldgringo's Avatar
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    ...he better keep movin' and don't stand still. If the 'skeeters don't get then the 'gaters will. Runnin' like a dog through the Everglades...Kingston Trio

    As for the deer hunters, they all wear blaze orange, and for the most part, manage to avoid shooting each other. I imagine they'll extend the same courtesy to us...I ain't skeered. And besides, they're my woods, too.
    Dave

    http://www.uark.edu/misc/xtimber/rna/pattonsbluff.html

    It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.
    John Steinbeck

  8. #8
    UncleMJM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldgringo View Post
    ...he better keep movin' and don't stand still. If the 'skeeters don't get then the 'gaters will. Runnin' like a dog through the Everglades...Kingston Trio
    Thanks Dave, now I've got all kinds of Kingston Trio tunes bouncing off the interior of my skull.

  9. #9
    in it for the naps oldgringo's Avatar
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    And As Added Insurance

    ...deer don't whistle.

    Dave

    http://www.uark.edu/misc/xtimber/rna/pattonsbluff.html

    It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.
    John Steinbeck

  10. #10
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    After living in PA and knowing folks whose homes adjacent to huntable property got shot up by stray bullets on Saturdays during hunting season (Sundays up there are no-hunt days even during the season), I'm leery of hiking around hunters. It's common up there for families to spend their Saturdays holed up in basements to avoid the stray bullets.

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