Ira Spring Trail - Mason Lake — Monday, May. 30, 2016
Like others we parked along the road but did not have to walk as far as some. I have not done this trail since the bridge was put in and I must say it's bitter sweet. I miss hopping rocks across the creek. Good move to put the bridge in it is functional and it also looks great! There are a couple smaller trees down along the trail before the Bandera/Mason Lake junction, they are easy to step over. Once you drop over the ridge toward the lake there are maybe a half dozen large trees across the trail most of which you can climb over and one that you can crouch under to get by. The bugs were out in force, annoying but nothing bit me. Dogs were out in force also, barking at the lake. There were several off leash dogs and quite a number of dog poop bags left along the trail. Please carry your dog poop with you and remember if your dog packs it in, pack it out. One Pitbull with a massive head who was off leash came right up to my 12 year old son. Although he is 12 he is small and still under 80lbs. I have been hiking and backpacking with my wife and kids for years and the only times I have ever felt unsafe has been by dogs.(The majority of these aggressive dogs have been some sort of pitbull/terroir. Not an attack just a fact from my experience. )They have cornered me and my family, growled and taken aggressive stances toward us. I don't mean to rant, but this is real and makes me super nervous. Most times this happens I get an excuse from the owner that it's my hat, my kids coat, the fact that I am male or some other reason on why it's our fault their dog is aggressive. I say all this in hopes that a dog owner who lets their dog run off leash in a leash only area may have some perspective into why someone like me may feel uncomfortable when their dog who is the same size as my kid or bigger comes up to us. We don't know you or your dog. Now with all that said, every dog we saw seemed pleasant. I also saw a few plastic bottles in the privy by the lake. I don't understand this. People please don't put trash in the toilets either at the trailhead or in the backcountry. One more small rant is that along with the leash requirement posted at the trailhead there is a group size limit as well. No more than 12 people in your group. When I arrived at the trailhead there was a group that was saying they had 16 people. Please look into the rules, regulations before hitting the trail. At least read what's posted on the board. Sorry for the rants, I really don't enjoy ranting and it makes me seem like a crunchy old man. Other than that it was such a beautiful day and we enjoyed the hike!