Marsh hike and Baytown, TX


In an effort to explore more of Houston and the surrounding area, we headed east to a spot we've never been to before: J.J. Mayes Wildlife Trace and the Trinity River Trail. 

It was a beautiful day - bogs, boardwalks, feral pig tracks, marshland, fan palms, songbirds, lots of sunshine, and a cool breeze.

The area is named after Joshua Jackson Mayes, who owned one of the largest cattle ranches in the country during his lifetime, and the trail is an old cattle road that follows the river. As soon as you enter the park there is a picnic area with a dozen or so tables dotted along a winding path, shaded by some very old, moss-covered oak trees that were probably planted around 1850, when Mayes built his home there.

The trail is further down the road on the left, after you enter the trace. Wide, flat, muddy, and very exposed, this trail was perfect on the breezy January day that we went, but I imagine it would not be as enjoyable during the summer. My favorite part of the trail was the boardwalk and observation deck - I loved walking directly over the marsh grasses and gazing at the minnows in the water. Our feet were only inches above the marsh at times and it felt wonderful. 

After wandering around and getting lost for a while we got back in the car and took some backroads along the coast, eventually winding up in Baytown. Craving an oyster poboy and some beer, we drove around the town in hopes of finding something that would suffice - to no avail. We did, however, find some interesting buildings and hand painted signs, some plywood sculptures, and a few antique/junk shops to come back to!

We all need to explore more often, I think.