Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is located in Sherman, TX which is an hour north of Dallas. I had never heard of this place before visiting. I had no idea what to expect to see on this hike. I randomly picked the Haller’s Haven Trail. It seemed like a good trail to start with and the distance was not too long or short. The lady at the visitor’s desk did mention that it is legal to hunt on this trail. I am not a hunter but she said if you see some cars already there you might want to hike elsewhere due to possible hunters shooting. I was intrigued by the possibility of being shot so I posed the question of what would they be hunting. She replied small game animals like squirrels and other small rodents. So I decided to take my chances if people were already out there to hike anyway. What is the worst that could happen, I get hit in the foot by 410 shot or a .22 slug. Not too surprising there were no cars at the trailhead when I got there. The terrain was flat but the trails were really nice. I kept thinking to myself these are the perfect flat trail running trails. They were wide and tree lined. You could see small rolling hills in front of you and behind you. The trail did have one stretch of uphill hiking but it was not steep and relatively not that long. There were two small ponds and Lake Texoma on the trail. I also like the bridge that was near the beginning of the trail. There was nothing to scenic unless you like birding. I am guessing that this is what it is most known for. There were all different types of birds everywhere. As for anything else not much to see. It was a relaxing stroll the day before race day.  20180216_133454.jpg20180216_133627.jpg20180216_133943.jpg20180216_134012.jpg20180216_140034.jpg20180216_135240.jpg20180216_141952.jpg20180216_135719.jpg

This was the second wildlife refuge I have visited. They are vastly different. In retrospect this place is also very different than the state park nearby and a natural public use area. This was hike 16 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

 

Lake Catherine State Park

I signed up for the Race the Base 4 Miler Run in Arkansas. I looked at some of the local parks in the area of the run to hike. The two obvious ones were Pinnacle Mountain State Park where the run was taking place and Hot Springs National Park. Petit Jean and Lake Ouachita State Parks are also close but not close enough to highway I-30 for a quick trip home. I stumbled upon Lake Catherine State Park and it had a waterfall. Lake Catherine State Park is located twelve miles southeast of Hot Springs, AR. I can never pass up a waterfall. The pictures on the website were great and I decided to go to this park at least twice while I stayed in Arkansas. The park has four trails but I was only interested in three trails. The trail that led to the waterfall was my top choice of the trails and the other two were mountain trails. I was hoping the waterfall would be flowing because it rained during the week. The time of year could not be better also. The leaves were falling and the trees were all different colors. I was so excited for the weekend of hikes and of course a waterfall hike.

I started on Falls Branch Trail on my way to the waterfall. The trailhead sign says three trails three adventures. One of the adventures was closed for hunting. The two trails that I most wanted to hike were open. Falls Branch trail had some good elevation changes and was very picturesque. The term obstructed view came to light many times on this and the other trails in Arkansas. The trees are what make this trail great but also are in the way of the views. There was a small creek with water flowing through it so I was pumped to get to the waterfall. I finally get to the waterfall and was massively disappointed. The waterfall was nothing but a trickle. I could not believe it. A nice hike with good views but the shining point of the trail is dull. I did like the view of Lake Catherine and the swinging bridge was also cool. I will post my walk across the bridge on youtube.20171110_161710.jpg20171110_152655.jpg20171110_152810.jpg20171110_155141.jpg20171110_155418.jpg20171110_155421.jpg20171110_155751.jpg20171110_160052.jpg20171110_160837.jpg

I liked this hike even though it had obstructed views and a water trickle. The bridge and the views of the lake partially made up for it. The trees and falling leaves also make for a great back drop.

The next hike is a long awaited summit hike.