Garner State Park Nature Trail

This is a short simple flat trail I hiked because of some time constraints.  I wanted to do a different trail here but the Old Baldy hike took longer than expected.  I decided to do this short loop trail to check out another part of the park.  This is a good starter trail for those just starting off hiking.  The trail had plenty to see to keep it interesting and no real elevation change.  The trail has plenty of signage telling you what you are seeing.  It was a good hike for myself to get my legs back from the high hill hikes the previous days.20190708_100744.jpgStraight and flat20190708_100137.jpgThis tree section caught my eye20190708_095917.jpgLots of green also20190708_100739.jpgA little of everything

Six more summer hikes.

Garner State Park Old Baldy Trail

The first time I was Garner State Park I did not get a chance to hike this trail.  I have hiked some pretty tough trails in the Texas hill country but this one was one of the toughest.  It is only about a half mile to the top but it is a 300 foot incline the entire way.  You get little to no break the entire hike.  It is not too long but on average you get 600 feet of elevation gain per mile.  For reference, to hike to Guadalupe Peak, highest point in Texas, you would get 375 feet of elevation gain per mile.  It is steep.  The trail is partially single track plus some bouldering and loose gravel.  I loved the trail and got the pictures that I wanted.  I once again hiked midweek but I decided to start early trying to get multiple hikes at the park.  The top already had several people up there relaxing and taking pictures.  I met some nice people on the way up and they were going to some hidden caves in the park.  I did not have time to go but I have taken a mental map for the location.  20190708_085743.jpgView from the top20190708_090047.jpgAnother view from the top, the water is so clear you can see the bottom of the river20190708_090326.jpgTrail near the top20190708_085558.jpgHalfway there and feeling the burn20190708_084413.jpgAt the beginning20190708_092004.jpgWhat a way to start

I cannot wait to get back and finish some other trails at Garner State Park.

Lost Maples SNA East Trail

I am still on my running break and I am getting to hike places I want to revisit.  I was here two years ago and loved it.  I have not had a chance to get back till now.  I wanted to do the East Trail because I missed it the last time.  The trail also has two landmarks that the park features.  I wanted to see Monkey Rock and the Grotto.  Plus I love the view from the top of the park and the waterfalls.  The park offers a view of the Milky Way due to the dark sky and lack of light pollution.  I wanted to get a view of the Milky Way and I did but no pictures.  I tried to get a few but phone cameras are not meant for this type of photography.

The day was very hot but not as humid as it has been lately.  I got a good 5 plus miles with over 1200 feet of elevation change.  It was a midday midweek hike so not many people on the trail.  I saw most of the people in the first and last mile.  I was lucky that nobody was up on top of mountain.  The views were awesome like last time but greener.  The rain has kept the trees greener for a longer time.  The hike was just as difficult as last time even though I went counter clockwise this time.  20190707_164205.jpgMonkey Rock20190707_170029.jpgThe Grotto20190707_170712.jpgAlmost to the top20190707_174041.jpgMade it to the top20190707_174712.jpgMust have picture20190707_180323.jpgBest picture of the day20190707_181510.jpgWaterfall

I had a really good time and I still need to do the West trail.

 

Spicewood Springs Colorado Bend State Park

I got back to Colorado Bend State Park and it was much overdue.  I hiked the Spicewood Springs area of the park.  I hiked down Spicewood Springs and up Spicewood Canyon trails and it was five miles of leg busting beauty.  My first trip I did Gorman Falls and that area but I wanted to do the other side of the park this time.

It was the usual hot and humid Texas summer weather.  I got to hike it with little to people because I was out there midweek and midday.  I can say I did not get lost but just misdirected two or three times.  Hiking these trails counter clockwise was not a good idea.  I hit all the steep hills on the back half of the hike and the gradual downhills at the beginning.

I wanted to do this section for the waterfalls and the crystal clear pools of water and it did not disappoint.  The views were breathtaking and it is hard to put in words all the combinations of sights and sounds.  20190628_101624.jpgA view from the top of the first big waterfall20190628_102138.jpgClear water pool from the waterfall20190628_104001.jpgOver the ledge view of another waterfall and clear water20190628_104347.jpgTwin waterfall20190628_104444.jpgAnother set of twin waterfalls and more clear water20190628_104720.jpgClear swimming hole 20190628_110209.jpgFinal view from the top

The Texas Hill country is the place to be this summer.

Revisiting an old post

 

Miscellaneous Hiking Post with a List

In this post there is a 15 before 50 list, I am happy to write I am done with almost half of what I listed.  I am surprised that I have done as many as I have done.  I focused more on trail running than hiking the last two years but still do some hiking in between races.  I am not going to change my list but will recap my progress.

Finished:

4. I hiked to the summit of Elk Mountain on my father’s birthday.20171209_090924

5. I actually hiked to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain twice and the second time was a great solo hike.IMG_0934

7. I had an amazing hike to Cedar Falls in Petit Jean SP. The waterfall was everything I had hoped to see.20180513_075758

8. Canyon Loop Trail in Caprock Canyon SP was awesome and dangerous due to the quick temperature rise.20171220_124508

9. I am counting hiking the Lighthouse Trail in Palo Duro SP even though it was cut off.  I hiked all of it that was open.20171220_085511

14. I found Twin Falls in Pedernales SP last week. It was a fun short hike.20190627_155638

15. The Moss Lake and Echo Canyon trail hikes were fascinating and one a my many times I got lost hikes.DSC00598

Not yets:

2. and 3. I had it planned for this summer but my schedule is getting crazy.

6. Mountain Top trail has not been in my plans. I will look to get this one in early next year.

11. and 12. Hiking Old Baldy and Crystal Cave Trail are in the plans for summer of 2020 because this might be a family trip.

13. My East Trail hike is planned this week. I will be heading to Lost Maples SNA and another state park in the San Antonio area.

As for #1, I had a chance to do Mount Scott hike today. I have also had two previous chances but did other hikes.  I am thinking about a day trip to get it done. I also want to do it as an overnight trip for the stargazing

 

 

Pedernales Falls SP Pedernales Falls Trail

I am back at Pedernales Falls Trail and this time I went further upstream.  Just to get this out of the way, I got lost on the way back and had to follow the horse trail to the main road.  I used a compass to go in the right direction and from the main road I hiked back to the parking lot and trailhead.

The falls were flowing with more intensity than the last time I was here.  I decided to go to the obvious picturesque spots then headed up the river.  I was happy that there were few people out today and got all the pictures I wanted.  It was a midday day middle of the week hike so I did not expect to see many people.  As most know I love waterfalls and I just kept following them further up the river.  I would have kept going but the sound of thunder and a cool breeze with darkened clouds cut my hike short.  It did not rain but this area is prone to flash floods and the river rises fast.  I did get to parts of the park I had been to before and it was a great hike.  The park gets better every time I am here and it did not disappoint.  20190627_170801.jpgMy favorite picture of the day20190627_171544.jpgFour armadillos20190627_172334.jpgTrying out new settings on my camera phone20190627_172817.jpgMy favorite beach spot20190627_180044.jpgSky was changing20190627_180744.jpgClear water and darkening clouds

I have one more day in the Texas hill country before returning home. I visit another park I have to but a different park.

Pedernales Falls State Park Twin Falls Hike

Two years ago a went to Pedernales Falls State Park to go see the Pedernales Falls.  I was very impressed with the falls and at the time the best waterfalls I have seen up close.  On the trail map there was another trail leading to Twin Falls, I did not have time to go to that trail.  I returned to the park a few months later for the single reason to see Twin Falls.  I, of course, got lost but hiked up the Pedernales river and had a great time. Third time’s a charm and I found the waterfall this time.  I cannot believe I missed the turn last time.  The hike was about a quarter mile and there was Twin Falls.  The trail leading all the down was closed but I got to the scenic overlook.  I was back to the trailhead in thirty minutes.  I decided to head back down to the Pedernales river and hike it again.  The river was packed with people by the Trammel Crossing trailhead so hiked down river and had some peace and quiet to get a few good pictures.  I ended up getting just two miles but it was a nice hike and finally got to see Twin Falls.20190627_155638Twin Falls view from the overlook20190627_161640.jpgPedernales River20190627_161954.jpgTrammel Crossing is under water20190627_163116.jpgHiking buddy20190627_155119.jpgTexas Hill Country20190627_192539.jpg

I stayed in the park to get another hike in and also visit another local state park. I love being in this area of Texas.

Frisco Trail Race 15K

One of my last two races before a seven week race break.  This race was held in Frisco, TX and will be the last race at the Northeast Community park.  In the fall the park will be a golf course.  I am not a golfer so I think it is a waste of space.  The trails are nice and not too technical.  The main use of the park is as a mountain bike trail and green space.  This is also a race in which I chose the longest distance offered.  I usually do a shorter distance but I wanted to test myself to see if I could not come in last.

The race started at 6:45 in the morning so the temperature was not too bad but the humidity was still quite high.  We were lucky that most of the time at the race we had mostly cloudy overcast.  It was good because there was little tree cover on the course.  I started in the back like I always do but immediately moved passed a few people. I found a good pace group and stayed with them for a few miles.  It was a group of five and the lead runner was Amber.  I did not get the names of the other runners.

About 3 miles later it was just Amber and I.  We picked up two more runners but they also dropped off the back.  Amber said she was keeping a 13 minute mile pace but was actually going about 11 minute mile pace.  We ran together to about the seven mile mark and she said she was going to pick up the pace to the end.  I wished her luck and thanked her for pacing.  I could not keep up.

At about little over a mile to go the 15K and 10K courses merge.  I got into another group of five to get to the finish line.  This group ran at a random pace going fast than walking and passing each other every few minutes.  I kept a steady pace and then in the last half mile or so just took off.  I passed the 10K runners and dropped the entire group and finished quite fast for my speed.  I had a very good time for myself at a 1:48:49 15K.  I felt good afterwards and finished right before the clouds vanished and the sun was blaring.FB_IMG_1561296846669.jpgBack of the pack start20190624_231109.jpgAmber setting a fast paceFB_IMG_1561296790310.jpgThe aid station where I got dropped20190624_231329.jpgMe dropping some people before running solo.

This was suppose to be my last race but I signed up for a 10K just because.

Possums Revenge 17 Miler

I heard so many great things about running at Possum Kingdom Lake and this race in particular.  I just had to sign up and run.  I decided on the 17 miler which would give me one entire loop of the race.  I am glad I only did 17 miles because it was hot and humid.  The Texas weather has been very wet lately but also very humid but just in the last few weeks the heat has been turned up.  For many runners, this was there first hot race.  The rain has closed the trails and for those who do not road run they would have had limited running time in these conditions.  I was lucky enough to get run a 25K and a half marathon in last past few weeks.  I also have trails close by that rarely close since they drain really well.

I brought my sleeper camper to this race to stay at the state park but decided to stay at the start/finish line area instead.  I did not have electricity at the start/finish line so I had to make do with a cool breeze coming off the lake for my A/C.  We had a group of about 15 people stay in that location so good times were had by all the night before the race.

Even though the race start time was relatively early, it was already humid and warm.  The first 4 miles was uphill and sandy.  It was not an ideal start because both of those conditions take a toll on your legs.  The course had constant elevation changes so getting into a running rhythm was difficult.  Luckily about 4 and a half miles in there was a long flattish downhill section that lasted about a mile and a half.  I got into a good pace and felt fast and comfortable.  It was a trap.  It was the only part of the course that could be run like that and I went way too fast to early.  The first manned aid station was over 6 miles from the start. By the time I got there I was drenched with sweat.  I decided to go with a hand held instead of a vest.  I should have done a vest.  I got a refill and iced everything I could and started off down the trail.  The views I got until the next aid station were awesome.  The course turned extremely hilly and challenging but the views were worth it.

I got to the second aid station and stayed a bit longer and this time took in some food.  I re iced and refilled and headed off for the final six plus miles.  This section was not as difficult but I was exhausted.  I could not keep a decent pace and rarely found a running rhythm.  The hills were not as extreme but still plentiful.  There were also some nice prairie land sections which were flat but I could not get enough speed to make them fast.  I also took a nose dive in the section trying to swat at bugs flying around my head. I learned a lesson this day.  I cannot outrun bugs flying around my head and I can trip over nothing.  I get to the final aid station and I am absolutely spent.  I spend more time here than I should but get food, ice and refills.

I am on my way to the finish line knowing that the sand section is on its way.  I am so sweaty that the sand on my shoes look like mud.  I know that I am running downhill but it does not feel that way.  I am really tired so now I am walking a bunch.  I only start running again when I hear the noise at the finish line.  The sand ends and I get to the road and the short but very nice downhill finish.

It was a tough race made tougher by the heat and humidity.  I think the aid stations were spread out to far.  I ran out of liquids twice.  Overall a great course ran by a great company. Trail Racing Over Texas(TROT).20190525_065635.jpgFB_IMG_1558824502018.jpgFB_IMG_1558824509178.jpgFB_IMG_1558824515764.jpgFB_IMG_1558824552096.jpgFB_IMG_1558824533779.jpg

One more race till I take a two month break and stick to training for the 100K.

Hidden Hills Half Marathon

The race was amazing.  The race was held at Palo Pinto Mountains State Park.  The state park is not open yet but the runners got a sneak peek of what the future of the trails might look like at the park.  The park is located in Strawn, TX which is about an hour and a half west of the DFW metroplex.  The hill country of Texas makes up most of central Texas and this area in the northwest part is beautiful.  It has the hills and flowers and some great views.

The race offered distances ranging from 5K all the way up to a 50 miler.  I chose the half marathon because I am starting to like this distance.  It is long enough to feel like hard work but short enough to recover fairly quick.  The half marathon course consisted of two out and backs over a changing terrain.  The trails held up well from the rain overnight.  They were wet and had some muddy spots but overall in good shape.

The first out and back was a feeling out process and not difficult.  The course started with two small but steep uphills. The first major climb came after a water crossing.  The water crossing was not too deep so I rock jumped to keep my feet dry.  The top of the climb had great views but I could not get good pictures because of the weather.  It was cloudy and very very humid.  It was smoove sailing down the hill to an area filled with wildflowers.  The trail went into a forest type area in which the trail turned a bit muddy.  After the muddy section was the turn around point of the race.  I decided to get most of my pictures on the way back.  I was feeling good and I wanted to get the picture before the second out and back.  I got to the start/finish ahead of my three hour half marathon pace.

I started the second out and back drenched in sweat.  My shirt and shorts were soaking wet.  My shirt was feeling heavy and my shorts were clinging to my legs.  My nutrition and hydration was still good but my clothes were an added weight.  I had to tuck in my shirt to keep my shorts from falling down.  The water crossing was a bit deeper but crossable without getting too wet.  At the top of the climb the temperature dropped at least ten degrees.  The sky got darker and thicker clouds came rolling over the course.  I made it almost to the muddy part when it started to rain on and off.  I got to the turn around and the sky opened up.  It started to rain consistently.  The thunder and lightning started after I was out of the now swamp like muddy section.  I could see lightning bolts go from cloud to ground.  As I started up the backside of the biggest climb it started to pour.  At the top of the climb, it started to hail.  By now the trails were flooded and muddy.  There were mini waterfalls on the big hill.  The water crossing was shin deep.  The rock jumping idea was scrapped and I just ran through the water.  I finished drenched and exhausted.  My time of 3:17:13 was slow but I was happy just to finish.FB_IMG_1558287448257.jpg20190518_082225.jpgFB_IMG_1558287604486.jpgFB_IMG_1558287620636.jpgFB_IMG_1558287611176.jpg20190518_103242.jpg

Overall, I really liked to race but better weather would have made this race great.  I did get to see another Texas state park.  I have week till my next race in this same area.