Great Plains State Park

Great Plains State Park is located in Mountain Park, OK., which is about about 45 minutes west northwest of Lawton.  The name of the city is an ideal name because it is surrounded by mountains.  It is between the Wichita Mountains and the Quartz Mountains.  The Great Plains State Park is miss named because it is nothing but hills and mountains.   This was also my headquarters to go between the two mountains ranges.  I unfortunately did not make to the Quartz Mountains.  The prior day I spent more time than I thought at the Wichita Mountains.  Plus this being the first trip with my camper I had some “forgot some stuff issues.”  I did get some hiking time in this state park.

The park had the usual lack of trail markings I come to expect while hiking in Oklahoma.  This time my hike to an unusual turn for the worse.  I headed to the trailhead which was marked by an orange bucket with a flag in it.  I had a map, it looked like somebody just drew it, and a compass so I felt comfortable.  I also started the hike with plenty of sunlight and the park was not that big.  At the first split in the trail I went in a direction that would take me back toward my campsite.  The trail had no markings but there were cairns on the side of the trail every few feet.  I quickly realized that this trail was not taking me up the mountain but around it.  I wanted to get some elevation change plus look down on the park and see other mountain ranges in the distance.  I back tracked to the split and headed the other direction.

This trail was a bit more defined but still no markings.  I started to see blue tape on trees by the trail.  I was guessing this was the trail marking.  I followed them up to the top of the mountain overlooking my campsite.  I got to see everything I wanted and had markings to follow to get back down.  I followed the blue markings and quickly realized this is not the way I got up here.  Then the markings went away, I tried to backtrack but I could not find the trail I was on originally.  The trail map was no help at all.  I went back to one of the higher ridge lines of the mountain and found the dam that was close to my campsite.  I decided to take a direct route to the dam.  I was on a trail most of the way down until the trail started to circle back up the mountain.  I stayed the steady course downward and I had to bushwhack a bit to get to another clearing.  As the sun was setting and trees were now blocking my view of anything, I thought of calling 911.  I gave myself fifteen more minutes of straight hiking to find something I recognized.  I continued in a straight line and I saw a campsite.  It was the one in which was camping at but I did not know at the time.  I finally get to the road and feel good.  I see my camper and now I know I am about a half mile from the trailhead.

I hike the shoreline trail back to my car and the trailhead.  I make it safely before the sun sets.  The funny thing is I was not prepared to camp in a camper but was prepared to get lost hiking.  20190419_184628.jpgTrail markings20190419_184452.jpgMore trail markings20190419_185554.jpgMaking my way up20190419_191548.jpgThe reason I hiked to the top20190419_191652.jpgThey were waiting for me.20190419_192233.jpgMy way back downhill.20190419_194843.jpgFinally the Shoreline trail.

I survived to hike another day.  Next up, I went back to the Wichita Mountains to finish a hike I started over a year ago.

 

Eagle Mountain Lake Park

I actually was here before I was at Grasslands. The park is located on the far north west side of Fort Worth. I have hiked here before but this time I did every mile of the trails. I also found out the deer here will only move when they want to not when I want them to move. I hiked to the highest point of the park and got a good view of the lake. Last time I did not go past this area. The trails always seem nice and even with plenty of rain recently the trails held up well. The park has some good elevation changes and a couple are quite technical. The park is basically broken up in two sections and I got to hike the other side which lead me to the boat docks. The hike was around 10 miles so it was a good day.20190223_094956.jpg20190223_095102.jpgcaRMtN_8WTXs5wJ-Ln7xOG09RQ_-t4DJikgv_fqv5pc-2048x1152.jpgnZz3Q4rK0JEuc9eGPUo00Y4jsuuyHwFP6FjWlbN3ZGA-2048x1152.jpgTj_twFrYo5QjC5Z7BlEUtnjtDi0gC1tPTzJIZoPgUUY-2048x1152.jpg

From hazy to sunny this was a nice hike and also did some trail running also. Next up is my second half marathon. It happens to be at Grasslands and a warm up for my second 50K.

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park Part 2

My second day at Lake Bob Sandlin State Park consisted of a morning fog hike. It was another hike with no one around. The fog made the park really majestic. I liked the way the park and the fog merged to make the hike more enjoyable. I have had several hikes in the fog this year and they were all enjoyable. This was the most dense fog though and it took several hours till the sun burned off the fog. I could not get photos of the sunrise or the lake. I did get some wooded area photos of the hike.20181218_084614.jpgDSC01444.JPGDSC01440.JPGDSC01451.JPG

This was hike 48 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I am getting use to fog hikes this year.

I have one more hike in east Texas.

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park

Lake Bob Sandlin State Park was my home base for the east Texas trip. It is about two hours east of Dallas in Mount Pleasant, TX. This park had Christmas decorations at every turn and that made the easy hikes fun. The park had no difficult trails and I was there at an odd day and time so I had the park to myself. The hikes were very peaceful. The sunset was magnificent turning the sky blue and pink. I also got to hike around in the dark and see the Christmas displays lit up. This is what I expected all east Texas parks to look like but of course they all are different. The bonus was seeing dozens of deer and a mini waterfall.20181217_162914.jpg20181217_170118.jpgDSC01414.JPGDSC01431.JPGDSC01438.JPG20181217_203617.jpgDSC01411.JPG

This was hike 47 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I really enjoyed the peace and quiet and the Christmas decorations at this park.

Next day is the same park but different trails and a different point of view.

Sutton Urban Wilderness Area

The Sutton Urban Wilderness Area is a nice bit of nature in the middle of the city. It is located in Norman. OK which is fifteen minutes south of Oklahoma City. The trail is flat with a few off shoot trails that have elevation change. The trail is a two mile loop around a small lake. It was a nice peaceful hike. I liked the trees and the water mix but also the open fields. The flat trail made it a speedy four mile trail run. I had to cut both the hike and run short due to the incoming storm. 20181024_121923.jpg20181024_122152.jpg20181024_123315.jpg20181024_123304.jpg20181024_124822.jpg20181024_124838.jpgThis was Hike 41 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I like the different parts of Oklahoma. I have been to both east and west Oklahoma and now central Oklahoma.

The next blog is going to be back at a trail race. I am building up some trail mileage in preparation for my 50K.

Lake Thunderbird State Park

Lake Thunderbird State Park is located in Midwest City, OK which is just southeast of Oklahoma City. I did not know if I would be able to get a hike in due to all the rain. The rain held off and I got to hike and run about nine and a half miles. The views of the lake were nice but all the wildlife was the highlight. There were deer and other woodland creatures all over the place. The trails were not marked as well as I would like but most trails I have been on in Oklahoma are not marked well. There were some elevation change but not too steep or long. The trails were very runnable. The were some muddy spots but the trails held up really well. 20181024_084650.jpg20181024_085510.jpg20181024_084556.jpg20181024_091223.jpg20181024_092903.jpg20181024_094204.jpg20181024_094214.jpg

The fall colors were a nice surprise. The different trees and grasses were fun to see. This was hike 40 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

Next hike is down the road in Norman, OK.

Lake Brownwood State Park

Lake Brownwood State Park is located in Brownwood, TX which is about three hours south west of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. I was looking forward to this park for no particular reason. It was good park to hike. The trails had a bunch of elevation change. There were some narrow trails surrounded high rock formations. The were some beach views but I did not do a lake trail hike. The views of the lake were interesting from the different angles and cliff edges. The day was hot and very sunny. I appreciate blue sky hikes. The contrasting blues coming together on the water and in the sky. I ended up getting close to three miles of good trail hiking. DSC01227.JPGDSC01224.JPGDSC01216.JPGDSC01208.JPGDSC01206.JPG

This was hike 36 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I had a good time on this hike. The people I met on this hike were great. The next hike was at a park that I have run more than hiked. I will finally hike the other part of the park.

Lake Colorado City State Park

The park is located in Colorado City, Texas which is between Abilene and Midland. I really like the west Texas and Panhandle parks of Texas. This park was going to be a throw in park but turned out to be the highlight of the weekend. I did not get a trail map at the entrance but the trail was very easy to follow. The main problem is that I hiked a trail I did not want to hike. The only other park trail is the trail I was planning on hiking. Even with that mistake, the hike was great. The Cactus Trail was an one mile out and back. I of course turned it into a 2.5 mile scenic adventure. The trail was appropriately named. There were beautiful cacti lined up all around the trail. The trail had the rock desert feel of west Texas and a great view of the lake. The rock formations were nice and made the hike more interesting.  20180817_143059.jpg20180817_143104.jpgDSC01122.JPGDSC01145.JPGDSC01133.JPGDSC01164.JPGDSC01153.JPG

This was hike 34 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. It was an enjoyable experience but I wish I remembered the other trail. I think next time I will sleep at this park as a hub to venture to some further west parks. The hike ranks fairly high on my favorite list.

Next up my yurt stay in Abilene.

Return to Cleburne State Park

I have finally returned to Cleburne SP.  I enjoyed my first visit in which I hiked with my son. We hiked all around the waterfall.  It was flowing pretty good the day we went.  I had plans to go back several times after some heavy rains to see the waterfall at full power.  I never made it back at those times. I went back this time and we are in a moderate drought. The waterfall was dried up but the hiking was still good. I wanted to see some other parts of the park.  The parts of Cedar Lake I saw were very clear. I was surprised of how clear the water was in the lake.  The other parts of the part had a west Texas desert feel. There were cacti and shrubs. The ground was white shale dry ground.  There was some good elevation changes and an overlook that was at ground level.  I still have one more part of the park I have not hiked yet.20180611_153549.jpg20180611_155008.jpg20180611_155543.jpg20180611_161102.jpg20180611_161821.jpg20180611_172413.jpg

It was a good hike on a hot and dry day.  I do want to get back to the park during a time when the waterfall is at full blast.

Copper Breaks State Park

Copper Breaks State Park is located in Quanah, TX which is about four hours north west of Dallas. This park was mind blowing. It is not as grand as Palo Duro or Caprock Canyon State Parks but they all three have similar features. The red rock with white stripes and the steep sheer cliffs is something that they all have as geological features. But Copper Breaks has some quirky looking features the other two do not have in them. The Permian Sea Tide Ripples were a nice surprise and the ripples in some of the elevation change areas were also a different aspect of the park. I am a fan of the natural balancing rocks and the park had many to see. The park trails also overlook Lake Copper Breaks and the Pease River. I only hiked the two most challenging trails but I ended up hiking double the mileage it showed on the map. I did not get off trail and never felt lost but my get lost factor is always high. This park also has part of the official Texas Longhorn herd and is an International Dark Sky Park. I am planning on making a trip out here for an overnight visit or a stargazing tour. The day I was here it was overcast and I saw no longhorns. DSC00810.JPG20180420_173918.jpgDSC00815.JPGDSC00827.JPGDSC00830.JPGDSC00845.JPGDSC00872.JPGDSC00862.JPG

I hope these pictures can depict how incredible this park looks. I look at the pictures I take and they still do not relay the imagery I see in person. This was hike 26 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I am at the halfway point in the challenge and what a great hike to get to this point.

Next blog is a hike but also a trail run. It might also be a trail run that turned into a speed hike. I might just call it a trail runhike with tons of pictures. Whatever it was it was very fun.