Lockhart State Park

In the land of BBQ there is a state park. I knew very little about this park and the park seemed to be a park for golf. I do not golf. It also supposedly has some good fishing spots. I do not fish but want to learn and start fishing. I do hike and this park has some surprisingly nice hiking trails. I even had a tough time on Rattlesnake Run trail to finish off my hike of the park. Lockhart State Park is located in Lockhart, TX which is about thirty minutes south of Austin. I decided to do a combination of seven trails because none of them are particularly long. I luckily brought enough water due to the heat. The temperature rose very quick in the middle of the day. Another good thing was that the trails were shaded for the most part. I enjoyed my time at this park. I stayed longer than I thought was going to stay so I had to pass up on another park I was going to try to visit. This was a trend of that weekend. I was continually hiking longer in one place and missing out on the next place. This was also the weekend of getting lost and I did get lost at Lockhart State Park and ended up on the golf course. I was pleasantly surprised to find two waterfalls in the park and one was flowing to the point where the crossing point was flooded. DSC00666.JPGDSC00658.JPG DSC00653.JPGDSC00651.JPG20180330_144610.jpg20180330_151304.jpg

This was hike 23 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series and one of the biggest surprises of these hikes. I found many things on this hike that I did not expect. The trails had good elevation change. There are some CCC buildings and waterfalls. It was a good hiking experience.

Next up is a park I have been trying to get to in over a year.

Blanco State Park

I was looking at a map of my trip from one state park to another and Blanco State Park pops up as a park I could visit. The park was not out of the way but off the beaten path just a bit. It is located in Blanco, TX which is about an hour north of San Antonio. I was lucky enough to get to drive on HWY 290, 281 and FM 32. I mention these roads because these have some of the most scenic spring time views Texas has to offer. The blooming flowers on 290, the ranch land and small towns on 281 and the canyon views on FM 32. In addition to the three scenic roads previously mentioned, I also drove through Luckenbach and Farm Rd 1623 follows the Blanco River all the way to the park. It was a nice view of the river for miles before going to the park of its namesake.

The park itself is one of the smaller state parks. The trails were well marked and easy to find and follow. They were both out and back trails that stayed along the river. The park seemed like a city park that was converted into a state park by adding cabins. This is a CCC park so the buildings were a pleasure to look at with the rock designs. The park main attraction was a man made damn that doubled as a cool waterfall. I did not get any good pictures because there were always too many people in that area. The hike was easy with few elevation changes. 20180330_115406.jpg20180330_115812.jpgDSC00609.JPGDSC00626.JPGDSC00641.JPGDSC00630.JPGDSC00618.JPG

The whole park experience was a good time. The drive to and from the park and the park itself made the visit worth the travel. This was also hike 22 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

Next up is the BBQ capitol of Texas where I order pizza.

Enchanted Rock SNA Part 3

As you may have guessed, I really like this park. Of the four main parks in this region, this is the one I have visited the most. The park is located 15 minutes north of Fredericksburg, TX. The main attraction is Enchanted Rock itself but I hiked to the top of The Rock last visit. I wanted to get to the east side of the park and also go to the lake and pond.

I got to the park before the headquarters open so I did not get a chance to pick up a park map. I had gone through my route several times prior to arrival so I was somewhat confident that I would not need a map. I was wrong and I immediately got lost trying to get from the Summit trail to the Echo Canyon trail. I decided to hike it the opposite direction of my original plan because it seemed less likely that I would get lost. The hike was great and I got to see everything I wanted plus some unexpected great views. I added some additional miles to my hike and of course got lost again. I was blessed to have some people going the same direction as me to help me find my way back to the parking lot. 20180330_074410.jpg20180330_094106.jpgDSC00568.JPGDSC00598.JPG20180330_085925.jpgDSC00580.JPG

I had another great time at Enchanted Rock SNA. I have now seen every part of the park I have wanted to see. The only part of the park I have not hiked is the far eastern part of the park. This was also Hike 21 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. This was the first place in this series that I have hiked previously. I have not hiked this part of the park so it was a new experience for me.

I done a couple of trail runs and a few hikes since this hike. I do not know what I will blog next but it will be something outdoorsy.

Lake Tawakoni State Park

Twenty years ago I was doing outreach work in the area of this state park. I would hear people saying they are going to Lake Tawakoni for the weekend. I was picturing in my mind a little lake in even more of the middle of nowhere. To my surprise twenty years later, I find out that this lake is big and there is a real city that is nearby. The city of Wills Point, TX only has 3500 people and twenty years ago it had the same population but more buildings now. They have yoga and a spin class. The city is still mostly farmland but the downtown area is very nice and has cobbled stone streets.

Lake Tawakoni State Park is located about one hour east of Dallas. The lake is the main attraction but it also was the place of one of the largest communal spiderweb. The spiderweb is not there anymore but we did see a few small ones on the hike. I did say we because my daughter was my special hiking partner this time. We had a good time on the hike even though I have been spoiled by hiking canyons and mountains. The trails were in great shape and clearly marked and defined. These were some of the nicest trails I had been on.20180315_121444.jpgDSC00497.JPGDSC00502.JPGDSC00511.JPGDSC00506.JPGDSC00516.JPG20180315_121403.jpg

This was a nice fun flat hike. This was hike 19 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. It will not rank up near the top of my hike list but hiking with my daughter was a blast and on the drive we saw a farm with camels. It was funny to see camels in east Texas along side of longhorns.

Next hike more east Texas hiking with my girl.

Lake Murray State Park

Lake Murray State Park is located two hours north of Dallas in Ardmore, OK. The state park is the oldest and largest state park in Oklahoma. Half the park is the lake itself but the land part of the park is very nice. The trails were nice, even though like most trails I have been on in Oklahoma, they were poorly marked. I did not know the name of the trail I hiked even with a map so I made it an out and back. I wanted to hike to and then walk up Tucker Tower but it was closed by the time I got to the park. I basically hiked blind for five miles. The views of the lake were very nice and the terrain was rugged with a lot of elevation change. I really liked the solitude of the area I hiked. I did not go to the floating cabins or the lodge. I decided to hike the trails less traveled. They might not have been as scenic as the others but they were peaceful with a bit of difficulty.  Fishing and boating seem to be the popular activities but I am more into just hiking so I did not take full advantage of the park.  It is a nice park but ranks low on the other places I have been to in Oklahoma. 20180312_165430.jpg20180312_165442.jpgDSC00453.JPGDSC00475.JPGDSC00478.JPGDSC00484.JPGDSC00487.JPG

Lake Murray State Park is a nice park with very good trails. This was hike 18 in ny 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. This is another place I never thought of visiting but the challenge is taking me to new places.

Next hike is back on the Texas state park trails.

Chickasaw National Recreation Area

I love waterfalls. I do not care of the size. I love the huge straight down drop ones but also the long multi tiered shallow ones. I was even amazed by a dry one once. I had not been to this area of Oklahoma in about 20 years but this place advertised springs and waterfalls. It has been raining a bunch for about three weeks so I decided it would be a perfect time to visit the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Located in Sulphur, OK, which is about a two and a half hour drive due north of Dallas. Driving in the park to the Travertine Nature Center you pass four very different waterfalls. I was here to see Little Niagara Falls and it did not disappoint. I was not expecting a huge 40+ foot waterfall but a ten foot high velocity waterfall. I got exactly what I wanted. I got there early and there were not many people but after a three mile warmup hike, it started to fill up. It was hard to get good pictures without random people in the photo. I ended up hiking to Little Niagara, Bear Falls, Garfield Falls, Pebble Falls, Sycamore Falls, Lost Cave Falls and Panther Falls plus Travertine Island, Antelope Springs and Buffalo Springs. The falls were amazing and all different. The water was crystal clear. There were some springs and falls that are so clean that you can drink from them. I decided to pass on that decision. The number of falls seems to be a bunch but they are only about a quarter to a half mile apart. I was constantly finding more and more picturesque places here that I stayed twice as long as I scheduled. 20180312_150021.jpgPanther Falls

DSC00356.JPGBuffalo Spring

DSC00384.JPGLittle Niagara Falls

DSC00395.JPGFalls and clear water

DSC00419.JPGBear Falls I think

DSC00426.JPGGarfield Falls I think

DSC00368.JPGCrystal clear water

I had a hard time narrowing down what pictures to use. I would use all different pictures at a different time. This was awesome and I only hiked half of the park. I will definitely have to return.

This was also hike 17 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. This series has me exploring places that have been magnificient to see. So far I have hiked up mountains, down in canyons, around lakes and on a beach.

The next hike I continue my exploration of Oklahoma.

Eisenhower State Park

Eisenhower State Park is located in Denison, TX which is about an hour and a half north of Dallas. The park is on the Texas side of Lake Texoma which is on the Texas-Oklahoma border. The park is named after Dwight D. Eisenhower our 34th President and a Texas native. I have driven through Denison many times but never thought to go to this state park. I did not know what I was missing. This park has a little of everything. It has two beaches on the lake. One is a very small rocky beach and the other is a small sandy beach. They are both surrounded by high cliffs and the sandy one has coves and some bouldering opportunities. This park also has some good hiking trails and the views from the cliffs are can’t miss. Standing on top of the cliffs and seeing the waves crash into the rocks below is a sight to see. I did not expect much when going to this park but left extremely surprised on how much I liked this park. Hiking down to the sandy beach was nice and then you see the coves and a small boulder field. I took the opportunity to do some bouldering to the coves. Once again hiking up the boulders you get a good view of the waves moving across the inlet and against the rocks. DSC00291.JPGDSC00299.JPGDSC00309.JPG20180216_113954.jpg20180216_114343.jpg20180216_114907.jpg20180216_115003.jpg20180216_115200.jpgDSC00332.JPG

This was a great park to visit. I would like to come back when it is warmer and the sun is out. This was hike 15 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. This one was one of the best so far.

I finally got to another state park and the next is a wildlife refuge.