So I tried the mini Judgement Day trail run on the south side. A judgement day run is doing multiple trails in one day. The trails included Windmill Hill, Boulder, OCNP, CHSP Dogwood Canyon and CRP. I got an average of 3 miles per park and a bonus 2 for good measure. This was easily one of the three hardest runs I have done along with my first 50K and last year’s Piney Woods 25K.
Started at 11AM at Windmill Hill, got a good paced 3.28 miles at 11:21 minute miles. This is a small park with short and steep elevation changes. I felt good and took a ten minute drive to Boulder.
Boulder was a leisurely paced run. The drive in the car wore me out more than refreshed me. This park is a bit more level with one long hill but it is not too steep. I got 3.45 miles at a 13:20 pace. The late start hurt due to the temperature rising at noon. The next ten minutes were driving to OCNP.
OCNP was the first park I had to make a trail decision. I did the white and blue trails. The blue trail is hilly and technical but the white trail is relatively flat. I started to tire on this run. My morning fuel was depleted but my hydration was still good. I had some fruit juice and a banana for breakfast. I did 3.28 miles at a pace of 13:34 minute miles. I got back to the car and got a banana and a nutri-grain bar and took the long 15 minute drive to CHSP.
CHSP was hot. I had my first thoughts of a DNF but it was not a race but still. I was tired and my legs were turning into jello. CHSP is a sneaky hard trail. It has a bunch of switchbacks and elevation changes. I did the Green Loop and got 2.75 miles(really 3) at a very slow pace of 15:23 minutes per mile. I also had a clothes change. I needed a new shirt but that was all. The next was a quick seven minute drive to Dogwood Canyon.
I knew Dogwood Canyon would be the shortest trip. This is another small park but it has several nice views from the canyon rim. I did forget about the climb up the canyon. The quarter mile climb is steep and was tearing my legs up. It was hot and I was just trying to get up this hill. The trail was also longer than I expected but I trudged on. The trail was 2.23 miles total but had the most elevation gain of all of the trails. My pace had slowed down to 16:28 minute miles. My final drive was six minutes to CRP.
I got to CRP and was sitting in the car debating on getting out. I got out and tried to get it done as fast as possible. Fast being a relative term at this point. I was exhausted and did not eat enough to get me through this run. I did drink plenty of water and SOS electrolyte drink. I struggled through the 3.31 miles in a turtle like pace of 17:20 per mile. I decided to avoid all of the hills and steep climbs and did a flat loop around the top of the park.
I finished the 6 trails and 18+2 miles in seven hours including the drive, change of clothes and the thoughts of stopping. The two extra miles came with warmup and cooldown miles. I saw a familiar face at the end which is always nice. Thanks for the chat Elisa. My thought is this was not one of my best ideas. It was a good training run.
Cedar Hill State Park is located twenty minutes southwest of Dallas. If the location sounds familiar, it is located within minutes of Cedar Ridge Preserve, Cedar Mountain Trail and the Dogwood Audubon Center. The park has many different activities to do like fishing, boating and camping but I am here for the trails. I have hiked on these trails almost as many times as Cedar Ridge Preserve. The park has six hiking trails covering twenty six miles. I have hiked and trail run on five of the six multiple times and the scenery seems to be a bit different each time. The park is in the middle of a restoration project so one of my favorite trails has been closed for over a year. They recently opened two other trails that were closed but the maintenance on one has been a bit shoddy. The DORBA trails are always great but overly protected. If it rains just a little, they are immediately shut down. When open, the trails are awesome. The trails give you a bit of every type of habitat. I have hiked the DORBA medium and short trails but not the long yet. The DORBA medium takes you through forest type areas then beach type areas and prairie lands and also hilly vistas all in a six plus mile hike. At one point, in a grassland opening on top of a small hill I could get a picture of both AT&T Stadium and Texas Stadium in the same frame. The park also features Joe Pool Lake and the Joe Pool Lake Dam.
I will start with the recently reopened Duck Pond Trail and Plum Valley Trail. The Duck Pond Trail leads to the Duck Pond and by a small stream and bridge. Plum Valley Trail Trail connects the trails to an overlook. Plum Valley has good elevation change but is not always well groomed.
The DORBA medium and short trails are really nice. The scenery is ever changing and the views are nice. There are not any big elevation changes but there are plenty of elevation changes along with switchbacks. Plus the randomness of the wildlife is amazing. I have seen snakes, turtles, roadrunners, bobcats and armadillos. The trails go by Joe Pool Lake and hearing the waves is peaceful. The lake is not the clearest but it is nice.
It is funny that I have been here so much that I take the park for granted. I do not have many pictures and it was not one of my first blogs. When I started the 52 Hike Challenge, I did not hike this park until the fifth or sixth hike. I also ran my first five miler here and they found some hills I missed. I usually do not do many road races but this was the exception.
I am almost caught up with all my hikes so the blog will slow down. I recently headed back down to the Texas country for the summer and had a great time hiking in places I have never heard of before.
We again in 2011 to back to Estes Park but this time I had plans to hike four local peaks. I had to get into better shape. So for a few months before we left on vacation I starting hiking two local hiking spots. First was a return to Ceder Ridge Preserve, the best hilly spot to hike in the DFW area. The hills are steep and pretty long.
The second place was Cedar Hill State Park. I love this park and when all trails are open the trail system is amazing. The park surrounds Joe Pool Lake and it has a pond hidden off on a side trail. At one time you could actually see both AT&T Stadium in Arlington and Texas Stadium in Irving, it would have been a nice picture.
So off we go to our second trip to Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park. The first day we did some mile high hiking in the Rocky Mountain NP and found some great spots but not the 9000-12000 elevation peaks I was planning on doing. The first peak which I cannot remember the name was 9300 feet and we got to the base and could not find the trailhead. The second was Twin Sisters East Peak at 11500 but that did not work out well either. Dade and I found the trailhead but hiked in the wrong direction. We got back on the correct trail and at 11000 and above treeline we both got altitude sickness and we went back down. The failure was amazing with views that literally made me breathless.
I also decided to schedule us for some non city adventure so this time was ATVing through the mountains. My worst idea ever because it turned into ATVing on the mountain. It was about as scary as anything I have ever done. It was not what I expected. After an ATV accident, my quest for the last two peaks was over. BTW, I was not the one in the accident.
I was still not as hooked on hiking as I am now but the spark was now a little flame. I was mad at the two hike attempt failures but intrigued at what I saw on the other hikes but I was still out of shape to do any major hikes to the best places in the park.
Stay tuned for my return to Colorado in 2013. You might even find out if this was the trip that made me an avid hiker. Plus I found another close by hiking spot to go along with the Cedar Ridge Preserve and Cedar Hill SP.