Things to Do

Visiting Government Canyon: 5 Must Do’s and 1 Dinosaur

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After hiking Pedernales Falls a couple weeks back, we decided that we could conquer a Natural Preserve — Government Canyon State Natural Area to be specific. Heck, six miles was nothing. Unless you have a map reader that can’t do numbers to scale correctly.

Here is a list of things one should take into account when hiking through Government Canyon:

1. The Weather

Government Caynon Moss

Photo: Regina Herry

Now this may seem like a “duh”, but just in case (it is the day before February so hot is not here yet). However, had we not looked at the weather report then we would have been in for a shock. In 2016, the last day of January was almost 80 versus the 60 degrees it should have been. We would have been way over dressed, but like the true experienced hikers we are, we did our due diligence so we could not only plan our clothing, but what to eat and drink as well.

2. Water Supply

Government Canyon Stream

Photo: Kim Ackerman

This one was a little bit of a fail for three reasons:

  1. The map reader added incorrectly the length of the hike (9 miles is much different than 6 miles).
  2. Recon on the Government Canyon trails was not done and a hard packed earthen trail is not as strenuous as a rocky tree rooted trail.
  3. 20-oz. of water is good for a six-mile hike at 60 degrees, but falls 10-oz. to 20-oz. short of a nine mile, 80 degree rolling rocks hike. Needless to say, none of us brought enough water, and the last 45 – 60 minutes was very quiet. I’m not sure if it was the heat or the dehydration that took our voices.

3. Food / Snacks

We all came prepared for this part of the day. We each brought our own protein, carbs, and for some, sugar. We started with lunch and cold water which would sustain us through most, but not all of the hike. In our packs, we each brought an easy-to-eat snack which helped give us energy towards the end of the hike (before we dehydrated). When hiking consider the ease of the snack. You don’t want to bring anything that could melt or spoil on the hike. Protein bars and trail mix without chocolate in them are great options.

4. Good Boots

A good pair of boots is a must-have for Government Canyon State Natural Area. I was probably the only one that was not happy at the end of the day. I thought I had fairly good hiking shoes, but through wear and tear, or feet shrinkage or something, I found them not so good for the rough and tumble rocky trails. I ended up with 2 blisters (one on each side of each heel). If you have new shoes or old ones, you may want to bring extra socks, mole skins, thicker band aids than I had, or walk around in your shoes before going on a six Regie-Mile hike.

5. Shillelagh

Government Canyon Beware of Snakes

Photo: Regina Herry

Green shillelaghs are the best. Why? Cause they’re green of course. This comes in handy when you need to cross algea sludge water to view the dinosaur tracks or poking around in the under brush before reaching your hand in to grab a container (geocaching remember?). I personally don’t like to get bit by anything snake like — or spider like — or, well, I just like my fingers and hands the way they are.

6. And…1 Dinosaur

Government Canyon Dinosaur Tracks

Photo: Kim Ackerman

The main attraction at Government Canyon State Natural Area (set by our mile challenged leader) was to see dinosaurs. Rather, dinosaur tracks. According to the signs that pointed us down the right rocky trail and the ropes that kept us mere humans at a safe distance, the divots we saw on the ground were made by Acrocanthosaurus and Sauroposeidon approximately 110-million years ago. I’m still wondering how those prints survived all this time.

So fun was had by all, more in the beginning and the very end as we rehydrated and ate or drank protein. Once the body was more in balance we talked all the way home.

The Park’s Rating

On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best):

Difficulty  

Shillelah

Shillelah

Shillelah

Shillelah

        spacer

Terrain

Terrains is 2 Hiking Boots

Hiking Boots

Terrains is 2 Hiking Boots

Hiking Boots

Terrains is 2 Hiking Boots

Hiking Boots

Overall

Texas State Blue Bonnets

Texas State Blue Bonnets

Texas State Blue Bonnets

Texas State Blue Bonnets

Texas State Blue Bonnets

Texas State Blue Bonnets

Texas State Blue Bonnets

Texas State Blue Bonnets