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.

 

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.

 

Squabble Creek Park

Squabble Creek Park is a park for mountain biking and has some good hiking trails also. It is located in Rockwall, TX which is about thirty minutes east of Dallas. I hiked this trail because I was going to do a trail race on these trails. Squabble Creek like most mountain bike trails have so many switchbacks with short steep elevation changes. The park also had a long stretch of flat trail that winds between trees and along a creek. I hiked parts of all the loops except Loop 6. The park is clean and very quiet even though it is in the middle of a neighborhood and some construction is ongoing. I got plenty of miles in this small park due to all the switchbacks. The park was surprisingly muddy since it had not rain in a few days. I can see this park getting washed out a bunch with just a little rain. 20180126_123809.jpg20180126_124816.jpg20180126_124116.jpg20180126_124447.jpg20180126_124500.jpg20180126_125520.jpg

I had a nice hike in the small park. The next day it was a muddy mess during the trail run. The was hike 13 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

I have some state parks I want to get to in the next few weeks. I also have a couple of trails runs that will get into some new areas of the state.

Fort Richardson State Park

I just happened to be west of the DFW metroplex so I decided to head to Fort Richardson State Park in Jacksboro, TX. The park is located in the city which is about an hour and a half west northwest of Dallas. The park is known for the well maintained buildings when the park was an operating fort. I was not here for a history lesson so decided to pass up the historic buildings even though they peaked my interest. I was here for the hiking. This is my first state park trip of the year and I finally got to use my little point and shoot camera. The first thing I notice was all the huge birds circling overhead. I then saw five deer just standing and looking at me. Of course, there was the usual squirrels and mice but also a huge crane. The first trail, Lost Creek Nature Trail,  was well marked and easy to follow. The trail has some nice rock formations and views of the creek/river. The second trail was a little harder to follow and much rockier. The Rumbling Spring Trail also was harder to follow but had more rock formations to walk in between. DSC00094.JPGDSC00104.JPGDSC00112.JPGDSC00114.JPGDSC00117.JPGDSC00125.JPGDSC00146.JPG

I was pleasantly surprised by the hiking in the park. There was not much elevation change but it did have some good views. Plus all the wildlife around made it exciting. This was also hike 11 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

The next few hikes are in city parks. I am trying to get to different and original places with this 52 Hike Challenge.

2018 hiking plans, maybe.

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I am at it again. I already have done six hikes. This year is the Explorer Series so I will be doing 52 different hikes. No repeating hikes during this challenge. I am also going to try not to repeat hikes from last year. Which means going to many different Texas state parks this year. I went to 26 different parks in the last challenge and already two more in this challenge. I looked at a Texas map and began to find some close day trip parks and then some distant vacation type parks. I also will go to a few parks from last challenge but hike different trails. I came up with three list of parks. I am hoping I can do what I have planned out but that rarely happens. So hear it goes.

New Parks for day trip: All of these parks are with a two and half hour drive except the first one.

Abilene SP, Eisenhower SP, Fort Richardson SP, Lake Arrowhead SP, Lake Tawakoni SP, Purtis Creek SP and Ray Roberts Lake SP.

New Vacation type trips: These parks are over three hour drive away and might need to make a weekend out of the trip.

Atlanta SP, Bastrop SP, Blanco SP, Bueschler SP, Copper Breaks SP, Government Canyon SNA, Guadalupe River SP, Lockhart SP, Longhorn Cavern SP, and Palmetto SP.

Repeat parks: These parks will fall under the previous two but I will do new trails.

Caprock Canyon SP, Cleburne SP, Colorado Bend SP, Dinosaur Valley SP, Enchanted Rock SNA, Garner SP, Hill County SNA, Inks Lake SP, Lost Maples SP, Palo Duro SP, and Pedernales Falls SP.

I also have plans to go to Texas’ suburb states of Oklahoma and Arkansas again. Plus  there are local hiking trails I would like to visit and I got a good list from 52 Hike Mike.

See you on the trails.

2017 My Top 10 Places Hiked

My last blog of the year is a review of the best places I have hiked this year. I was going to do a list of top ten hikes but I could not narrow it down to a good twenty. Plus the order would change as I was thinking about which hike should be placed on the list. I decided on places because it was easier but not easy. The top ten was not too difficult but the order was very hard. I did about 60 hikes this calendar year and they were spread out the entire twelve months. I had to compare the recent fresh in my mind place with a place that was hiked ten to eleven months ago. The ten places I have chosen, I have or will hike multiple times. Two places I have hiked but not blogged about yet. The ten places cover three states, a national park and a wildlife refuge.

10. Cedar Ridge Preserve-Minutes away from home and is one of the most scenic areas in Dallas County. hike2220171124_121348.jpg

9. Hot Springs National Park-This quaint cozy park has some great views. 20171112_103833.jpg20171112_103709.jpg

8. Pedernales Falls State Park-The Texas hill country is all over this list.20170406_131314.jpg20170122_130731.jpg

7. Pinnacle Mountain State Park-The second Arkansas park and a summit hike.20171111_141701.jpg20171111_082716.jpg

6. Enchanted Rock SNA-The park is more than The Rock. Hidden gems everywhere.20170406_092524.jpg20170122_102656.jpg

5. Lost Maples SNA-A nature made amphitheater with great trees, waterfalls and views.20170711_182026.jpg20170712_160931.jpg

4. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge-This place has everything. Summits and waterfalls.20171208_162255.jpg20171001_111717.jpg

3. Caprock Canyon State Park-Home of the official bison herd of Texas. Plus canyon views.20171220_124508.jpg20171220_122602.jpg

2. Colorado Bend State Park-Gorman Falls is amazing but that is just the start.20170405_143431.jpg20170405_134311.jpg

1. Palo Duro Canyon State Park-The second largest canyon in the USA.20171220_082257.jpg20171219_144321.jpg

These top ten places that I have hiked in 2017 maed this a memorable and fantastic year. Next year I hope to have a totally different list of places.

Rugged and Raw 10K

I was really excited about this 10K since is was just minutes from my home. I could sleep in just a bit and still get to the race on time. Plus I knew what I was in for because I ran these trails all the time. The temperature was cool but the humidity was high. I could not keep my glasses from fogging up. I had to run the last half without glasses. This was the first time I had run this far on these trails. The hills here are notoriously hard and it took a little more out of me than I thought it would do. The course had constant elevation change and some steep hills thrown in the middle. My time of 1:34:20 was disappointing but with the distance and the course difficulty it was not a bad time for me. The next day I ran a Quarter Marathon in a time of 1:14 so I expected more from myself. I had fun though and it was for a good cause.12031506_897374783679658_3519438867113999048_o.jpg20161124_083530.jpg

Not many pictures but as I have said before, I tend to take this place for granted.

My trail 10Ks continue at one of my favorites Texas State Parks. It is also one of the toughest 10Ks in North Texas.