Guadalupe River State Park

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.20190708_161635.jpgThis part of the river was moving pretty good.20190708_161857.jpgThe river looked like this but full of people.20190708_163920.jpgMy favorite part of the hike looking down on the river.20190708_163955.jpgNear the edge of the cliff.20190708_171401.jpgHiking through a large open prairie.

 

Judgement Day Run 6 Trails 1 Day

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.21765050_1440469806006426_8076358115759936169_n.jpg

Run report:
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.   14495274_1102904826429594_910515625703402285_n.jpg

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.

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.

A change of direction

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.  dsc00263

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.

cb75d96f006c66550d1dc0590be294d0.pngMy 100K race.

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.