2019 Tyler State Park

As I start off the new year, I am trying to up my mileage in both hiking and trail running. I am trying to get more hiking in this year than I did last year and some longer hikes. I also am going to increase my trail running distances and try to get at least one long run a week. For me a long run is anything above ten miles. So far so good with the running but not so much with the hiking. It has been raining so the trails are still closed. I have gotten a couple of runs at Cedar Hill SP on the roads. I much prefer trails but the roads at this state park are hilly and curvy. I also got a run/hike at Tyler SP. It is one of the few parks that hold up well in the rain. If I continue to hold onto these two goals I will prepared for a 50K in March.

My hike/run at Tyler SP was nice since I was on the parts I have not been on yet. I now have finished this park also. I have a handful of Texas state parks that I have hiked the entire park. The biggest surprises at this part of the park were the many small waterfalls scattered along the trails. It was probably  due to all the rain but it was nice to hear the running water for most of the 9 miles on the trail. Of course the huge east Texas pine trees and loblollies trees are always impressive. 20190105_100738.jpg20190105_100728.jpg20190105_095027.jpg20190105_100844.jpg20190105_104108.jpg20190105_102633.jpg

I am a week away from my first run. I am starting off with an 11 Miler then going to a new for me state park the next day. Getting those outdoor miles in in the best way.

Cedar Hill State Park

Cedar Hill State Park is located twenty minutes southwest of Dallas. If the location sounds familiar, it is located within minutes of Cedar Ridge Preserve, Cedar Mountain Trail and the Dogwood Audubon Center. The park has many different activities to do like fishing, boating and camping but I am here for the trails. I have hiked on these trails almost as many times as Cedar Ridge Preserve. The park has six hiking trails covering twenty six miles. I have hiked and trail run on five of the six multiple times and the scenery seems to be a bit different each time. The park is in the middle of a restoration project so one of my favorite trails has been closed for over a year. They recently opened two other trails that were closed but the maintenance on one has been a bit shoddy. The DORBA trails are always great but overly protected. If it rains just a little, they are immediately shut down. When open, the trails are awesome. The trails give you a bit of every type of habitat. I have hiked the DORBA medium and short trails but not the long yet. The DORBA medium takes you through forest type areas then beach type areas and prairie lands and also hilly vistas all in a six plus mile hike. At one point, in a grassland opening on top of a small hill I could get a picture of both AT&T Stadium and Texas Stadium in the same frame. The park also features Joe Pool Lake and the Joe Pool Lake Dam.

I will start with the recently reopened Duck Pond Trail and Plum Valley Trail. The Duck Pond Trail leads to the Duck Pond and by a small stream and bridge. Plum Valley Trail Trail connects the trails to an overlook. Plum Valley has good elevation change but is not always well groomed. 20170303_135951.jpg20170303_140224.jpg20170303_140620.jpg20170303_144025.jpg

The DORBA medium and short trails are really nice. The scenery is ever changing and the views are nice. There are not any big elevation changes but there are plenty of elevation changes along with switchbacks. Plus the randomness of the wildlife is amazing. I have seen snakes, turtles, roadrunners, bobcats and armadillos. The trails go by Joe Pool Lake and hearing the waves is peaceful. The lake is not the clearest but it is nice.20170127_145736.jpg2011-07-29_18-56-03_15.jpg20170424_151115.jpg2011-07-31_19-27-33_43.jpg2011-07-31_19-35-31_769.jpg

It is funny that I have been here so much that I take the park for granted. I do not have many pictures and it was not one of my first blogs. When I started the 52 Hike Challenge, I did not hike this park until the fifth or sixth hike. I also ran my first five miler here and they found some hills I missed. I usually do not do many road races but this was the exception.

I am almost caught up with all my hikes so the blog will slow down. I recently headed back down to the Texas country for the summer and had a great time hiking in places I have never heard of before.

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Cedar Ridge Preserve is located about twenty minutes southwest of Dallas. The preserve is also the highest point in Dallas County. The location from my home makes it a convenient hiking location for me. I have been hiking here on and off for about eight years and the last two years I have been trail running on the trails. Hiking the perimeter of the preserve will get you over six miles of good hiking. The views are great and the trails range from difficult to easy. There are six distinct overlooks at the preserve and they have great vantage points of the surrounding area. The overlooks on Cattail Pond and Bluebonnet Trails are large wooden stair structures. They help when looking over the trees. The overlooks on Red Oak and Fossil Valley Trails are my favorite. The area they overlook includes Joe Pool Lake and the Dam, Cedar Hill State Park, Cedar Mountain and the Dogwood Canyon Audubon. The preserve is ever changing and depending on the time and season, the scenery can be drastically different. The preserve includes a pond, a small waterfall, several bridge crossings and numerous creeks and streams. 20151126_09164720151215_14481820160218_16302720160218_16470420160218_17061620160917_19064320160917_18461720161124_090542

This is my favorite place to hike and the place I have hiked the most. It is also my favorite place to trail run. The elevation changes are great and I can mix in steep inclines with long inclines that are not as steep. It is like having the Texas Hill Country in my backyard. It say this is the best hiking area in the DFW metroplex.

Next blog is back in Fort Worth. This was a wild and unexpectedly difficult hike and as usual I get lost for awhile and find a steep incline to the end.

Back to the Rockies

We again in 2011 to back to Estes Park but this time I had plans to hike four local peaks. I had to get into better shape. So for a few months before we left on vacation I starting hiking two local hiking spots. First was a return to Ceder Ridge Preserve, the best hilly spot to hike in the DFW area. The hills are steep and pretty long.2011-04-16_18-11-32_629.jpg

The second place was Cedar Hill State Park. I love this park and when all trails are open the trail system is amazing. The park surrounds Joe Pool Lake and it has a pond hidden off on a side trail. At one time you could actually see both AT&T Stadium in Arlington and Texas Stadium in Irving, it would have been a nice picture.20170424_144317.jpg

So off we go to our second trip to Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park. The first day we did some mile high hiking in the Rocky Mountain NP and found some great spots but not the 9000-12000 elevation peaks I was planning on doing. The first peak which I cannot remember the name was 9300 feet and we got to the base and could not find the trailhead. The second was Twin Sisters East Peak at 11500 but that did not work out well either. Dade and I found the trailhead but hiked in the wrong direction. We got back on the correct trail and at 11000 and above treeline we both got altitude sickness and we went back down. The failure was amazing with views that literally made me breathless.2011-06-21_07-44-11_464.jpg

I also decided to schedule us for some non city adventure so this time was ATVing through the mountains. My worst idea ever because it turned into ATVing on the mountain. It was about as scary as anything I have ever done. It was not what I expected. After an ATV accident, my quest for the last two peaks was over. BTW, I was not the one in the accident.

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I was still not as hooked on hiking as I am now but the spark was now a little flame. I was mad at the two hike attempt failures but intrigued at what I  saw on the other hikes but I was still out of shape to do any major hikes to the best places in the park.2011-06-20_14-56-05_748.jpg

Stay tuned for my return to Colorado in 2013. You might even find out if this was the trip that made me an avid hiker. Plus I found another close by hiking spot to go along with the Cedar Ridge Preserve and Cedar Hill SP.