I have been intrigued by this park for a long time. I have heard great things about this park. The Guadalupe River flowing through a picturesque park with high vistas, I thought this would be a great park to visit. I think I put this park on such a high pedestal. I really liked to park but it was crowded and the trail system was fairly simple. I would have liked for the trail system to run along the river longer and less people. The amount of people cannot be controlled by the park. The park is attached to the Honey Creek SNA which is available by guided tour only. I will need to do that hike and see what the other side has to offer.
The park is located in Spring Branch, TX which is north of San Antonio. This is in the hill country of Texas and a great area to hike all of the state parks. It is a great park if you like fishing or floating and playing in a river. The hiking is good but it is more of a water park.
The trails went through many different types of landscapes. They past lakeside, vistas and prairie lands. The trail was very rocky but that is not unusual for this area of Texas. There was not much elevation gain on the trails even though they start on the river and end overlooking the river from a bluff.This part of the river was moving pretty good.The river looked like this but full of people.My favorite part of the hike looking down on the river.Near the edge of the cliff.Hiking through a large open prairie.
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.
I started this blog as a hiking blog. The first posts were strictly about hiking but the blog has evolved into hiking and trail running. The blog has gone back and forth between both activities. This summer I did much more hiking than usual because I wanted to get out in my camper. I have one more trip planned then my blog will have a change of direction. My blog direction change will come after I finish blogging about my summer hikes and after my first tune up race in August. My blog will primarily be about me training for my first 100K.
I have 14 weeks till my first 100K. I have done a lot of trail running but nothing like this distance. I do not train like most trail runners i.e. find a tried and true program per a coach. I run as much as a can and listen to my body. I do not particularly like long runs so I do races in place of a weekly long run. I have set up a race schedule that will hopefully get to the point where I can finish a 100K. I have a midday 30K in August to start and find a baseline. I have four half marathons also on my race schedule. I will rerun a 25K that physically and mentally broke me down last year. Plus for a bonus run I will do my third 50K.
My 100K race.