Monday, March 2, 2009

Terry Hershey Park running route

My daily running route follows an asphalt trail in the eastern-most portion of Terry Hershey Park, alongside Buffalo Bayou, a murky river of sorts which winds through much of the western suburbs of Houston, before entering downtown and becoming the Houston Ship Channel, one of the most important commercial waterways in the USA.

Buffalo Bayou is not nearly navigable west of downtown. While hardly a tourist attraction, parts of it (that have not been scrubbed of the native vegetation) can be pretty, especially in the spring when patches of wildflowers line its banks. Terry Hershey Park in west Houston is quite heavily used by walkers, runners, joggers and bikers. I've been running in the park since the early 90's - well before the current asphalt trail was extended all the way to Beltway 8. Between Beltway 8 and Wilcrest Drive the trail is fairly hilly, at least for this part of the world.

My run starts from the back door of our townhouse - this is where we grow some herbs in containers

About half a mile further, the actual trail starts on the west side of Beltway 8, which forms a second ring around Houston, the inner ring being Loop 610. The trail head is just to the left, across the bridge from which the pic was taken.

For the next half mile or so, the trail skirts the southbound lanes of Beltway 8 West


It then veers sharply to the right, crossing over Rummel Creek just where it empties into Buffalo Bayou. This bridge is often flooded when it rains heavily in the area

The trail then continues alongside Buffalo Bayou, here separated from a waste treatment plant by a wooden fence (on the right hand side of the trail)

This may not look like much, but it is one of the steeper hills along the trail; I use it for my short hill repeats


A couple of runners just about to crest the top of the hill

Buffalo Bayou lives up to its reputation as a muddy, murky stream

The trail winds westwards, lined by trees and shrubs - much leafier in spring and summer

2 miles into the run, there is a small park with some outdoor exercise equipment

The trail is not all flat...

Further westwards, the area opens up more, with some floodplain and levees on the right hand side of the trail


Near the 3-mile point, this is one of the bigger bridges on the trail

From the 'new' bridge (previous photograph) you can see the old bridge which is often under water when the bayou backs up into its tributaries. In the 90's, before the new bridge was built, I sometimes had to turn around here due to the bridge being impassable

Daisy loves running the trail almost as much as I do. She gets very excited when she spots squirrels and rabbits, both of which are very common

At the 4-mile point (from our house), the park is quite narrow. This outdoor workout facility is within view of some of the homes which look out over Buffalo Bayou.

4 comments:

johnking said...

i need to take pictures of my route Bert, great idea. Goodluck with the final 7 week push.

Minken said...

It seems everyone is taking photo mosaics of the usual running trail these days - I think I will jump on the band wagon and do the same (but I am just waiting for some leaves on the trees so the pictures look better!). Great pics!

J Graham said...

I ride this route (east to beltway) daily and now for some reason there is some kind of chemical being sprayed over the top of the fence along the segment adjacent to the water treatment plant. I am concerned about breathing this and the impact to my health and many others who enter the park from the BW parking lot. Does anyone know why this is suddenly present and under what authority?

Bert Duplessis said...

I'd like to know too, will do some calling soon. Apparently an attempt to perfume the air downwind from the sewage facility. Too many complaints from home-owners in the area, I was told by another trail user.