Dangerfield State Park

Dangerfield State Park is located in Dangerfield, TX which is about two and a half hours east of Dallas. I have been looking forward to this trip for three months. Of the three parks I am planning to visit while in east Texas this was the one I was most looking forward to hiking. My west Texas hiking trip much like this one was three parks in two days. My destination park in west Texas was not what I expected and the throw in park was spectacular. The moral of the story is that the Texas state parks are full of surprises and you never know what you will see until you get in the park. Since it is near Christmas time the park had Christmas decorations all around the park. They also had the name of the park all over the park. You will definitely know you are at this park. The elevation change was very nice. Mountain View Trail has three different paths to get to the top. I took two and passed on the third in which I went down. The path down was steep and long. Very technical and difficult due to the damp leaves covering the entire trail. The views while getting to the top were very nice. The highest point was 535 feet but the starting point was at slightly above sea level. The park does not advertise the small three tier waterfall in the middle of the park. The waterfall was a pleasant surprise. This was a great park to hike. I love seeing the loblolly trees and the other fauna that was labelled along the trail.  20181217_123213.jpg20181217_124616.jpg20181217_125255.jpg20181217_125858.jpg20181217_130720.jpg20181217_135245.jpgDSC01384.JPG

This was hike 46 in the 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I think this will go down of one of my favorites. It was not particularly long but it all the CCC elements around the trail and I am a huge fan of waterfalls and hilltop views.

Next up the continuation of the east Texas trip.

Dinosaur Valley Endurance Run 5 Miler

I decided to do a short 5 miler to test out my legs in a trail race. This race takes place at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX.  I have ran here and hiked here many times over the past two years.  This race did not actually start in the park but outside a back gate I did not even knew was there. Even though it was an odd place to start, the race quickly hit a familiar hill that is on every race directors places to have us run.  It was good to get to this particular hill early because it is a leg killer. Since I was only doing a 5 miler, I only had one technical downhill and the rest of the race was fairly easy. I was really surprised at my time. I have been trying to get a sub one hour 5 miler on a technical course and have not come close. I did not break one hour but if I knew how close I was I might have run myself into ground to get the time.  The course was not marked the best but I love running here and I was not going to get lost. I actually won my age group for the first time ever.47214235_2039622916060971_520785078360473600_o.jpgIMG_6298.JPGIMG_6406.JPG

I am going to start training for another tough race next year. I am planning to run a 27K with two miles of elevation change. This is going to be much different than my 50K on a relatively flat course. The 50K had two thirds of a mile of elevation change. I will run hills most of the year to prepare. I am also going to do less races but longer distances with more hills.

Next are my final hikes of the year. East Texas here I come.

Devil’s Den State Park Part 3

The last day at Devil’s Den SP was another frozen hike. The water in my water bottle actually froze on this short hike. The trail started right off the front of my cabin. I had passed it up the entire time I was here. I finally went on the trail and it lead to the waterfall over the dam. This is one of the park’s bigger attractions and I forgot all about it. It was easy to forget because of all of the other hikes grabbed my fascination. The buzzards were out on all hikes but especially this morning. The hike had a nice bridge which I always like and of course the waterfall. The trail was relatively flat with one big decline and incline at the beginning and the end. The temperature never got out of the 20s and that really affected my picture taking ability. I did get to see a beautiful sunrise. I did not get a picture though. The sun did make the crystal clear river water sparkle.20181126_103647.jpg20181126_150343.jpg20181126_150509.jpg20181127_072516.jpg20181127_074054.jpg20181127_074037.jpg

I had a great time here and already have plans to return to the region to visit the other close by state park. This was hike 45 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

I have seven more hikes to complete the 52 Hike Challenge. Stay tuned to see if I can do it.

Devil’s Den State Park Part 2

My next hike in Devil’s Den State Park was on the trail of the same name. This trail was shorter but had plenty of scenic spots and parts of the parks history. The rock formations were amazing and the bat caves although they were closed due to disease, were also a nice sight. There was a frozen waterfall and a natural cove to walk under. The trail did not provide an overlook of the park but it was up close to all of the natural features that the trail passed. 20181126_132105.jpg20181126_134222.jpg20181126_135307.jpg20181126_135536.jpg20181126_140202.jpg20181126_140907.jpg

This was hike 44 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I really enjoyed this semi frozen hike and learning about the history of the park.

The next blog is my final hike through this park. It was a nice trip and I want to return to this area of Arkansas again.

Bluff Creek Ranch

Bluff Creek Ranch is a private ranch located in Warda, TX which is about 45 minutes southeast of Austin. Even though the location would suggest the Texas hill country, the ranch had a real east Texas feel. There were not many hills but plenty of pine trees. The oil derrick would suggest a more north west Texas location but nope it is on the outskirts of the Texas hill country.  This is place where I became an ultra runner by completing my first 50K trail run. I did not expect this place to be this scenic. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the sunrise but I was too busing running. There are several ponds located throughout the ranch. There was not one big destination on the ranch but plenty of different things to see that caught my eye. The rolling hills and creeks mixed in with the pine trees and open fields made this a great hike.20181117_105055.jpg20181117_104021.jpg20181117_112933.jpg20181117_120020.jpg20181117_120927.jpg20181117_113113.jpg

It was a crazy day and I am glad I got to be able to hike a private ranch and also run a 50K. This is hike 42 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

I will get back on track the next blog with my continuing adventures in Arkansas.

Devil’s Den State Park Part 1

Devil’s Den State Park is located 30 minutes south of Fayetteville. AR. The park is located in the Ozark Mountains but right outside of the Ozark National Forest. I missed the leaves color change by two weeks and most of the leaves have already fallen off the trees. The area was still full of fall colors and leaves falling and branches too. The time of the trip coincided with a 30 degree average drop in temperature. The hike on the Yellow Rock Trail was in freezing temperatures. The temperature was about 29 degrees at the start and the temperature only rose about five degrees. The trails were marked great like all Arkansas SP trails. I took the three mile loop and turned it into a five mile lollipop.  The yellow rock overlook was amazing. The views were spectacular but I could not get great pictures. I was the only one on the trails at the time but the sun was affecting my camera. The fog was cool to see but also affects my pictures. The fog was mostly created by the difference in the air temperature and water temperature. This is also a CCC park and the hike to the lookout had a nice CCC pavilion at the top.  This trail also had some great rock formations lining the trail.20181126_091711.jpg20181126_091942.jpg20181126_095148.jpg20181126_102459.jpgDSC01353.JPG20181126_102916.jpg

This was hike 43 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. It was the typical beautiful Arkansas hike that are nothing typical anywhere else.

I realized after writing this I missed hike 42 at Bluff Creek Ranch so I will go in reverse next blog.

Wild Hare 50K

I have been training most of the year for this race. I wanted to finish this year as an ultra runner. The 50K distance is the shortest race to reach ultra runner status. I signed up for the race and knew I was going to finish. I was confident after my 1/2 marathon and 20K but lost all that confidence after the 25K. The 25K race made me change my race preparation for the 50K. I still do not do long runs over 12 miles but I started doing 8-10 mile training runs. I also did 4-6 mile runs back to back with a ten minute break in between runs. Lastly, I did more flatter course runs than hills. The 50K course was a relatively flat course.

The night before the run I had my normal pizza dinner. The only thing I regularly do before a run. I did not eat pizza the night before the 25K and I will not do that again. An hour after dinner everything went wrong. I had diarrhea all night and most of the morning. The first thing a had in the morning was pepto bismol. The start of the race my stomach was still churning but I was going to finish no matter what. I felt better after a port o potty break and the second loop went well. I was actually one hour faster at the half point than my disaster of a 25K. I finished in a time of 8:48:42 but my running time was 7:48ish. I spent about an hour of the race at the aid stations. I was going to do a full change but I only changed my shirts. I should have done the full change because I finished the last loop with painful chafing. I finished and I am now an ultra runner.Snapchat-125743004.jpgResized_20181117_144949_1228.jpgFB_IMG_1542586076132.jpgSnapchat-843970798.jpg20181118_195631.jpg

The running club I run with calls all of the ultra runners “badass”. I have been shying away from the name but I ready to embrace it. I would like to do some other long races in the 20-25K range more often but not a 50K or longer.