Grasslands Half Marathon

The Grasslands Half Marathon is located on the grounds of the LBJ National Grasslands in Alvord, TX. The city is about 45 minutes north of Fort Worth.  I have heard about this race for about two years but did not think I could run a half marathon until last year.  I liked the location and the race director is a good person so I signed up for the Rockledge Rumble.  Yes that is a different race but the same race director. Rockledge Rumble was cancelled because the trail was several feet under water, so I transferred my registration to the Grasslands Half Marathon.  We still had rain days before this race but the trails held up very well. There were a few muddy spots in the low lying areas but overall they were in good shape.  The trails were fairly wide but some single track.  The trails also were made of compact sand for many miles which was different to run on .  I was using this race to train for my upcoming 50K just like Rockledge suppose to be for also. I wanted to hold a slow and steady pace but finish under three hours. My first half marathon I worked hard to get under three hours.  This time around it was quite easy and my running partner and I had to slow down several times because we were going too fast. I finished in 2:57 and change but I felt great.  I was not tired and I felt like I could run it again faster. The weather was perfect.  Sunny skies with the temperatures staying in the low 40s to mid 60s. Plus who can argue with beer and BBQ at the finish.FB_IMG_1552768414726.jpgFB_IMG_1552768427092.jpgFB_IMG_1552768450001.jpg20190316_080355.jpg20190316_080325.jpg

It was a good day of running and next up is crossing the state line for some fun in Louisiana.

Eagle Mountain Lake Park

I actually was here before I was at Grasslands. The park is located on the far north west side of Fort Worth. I have hiked here before but this time I did every mile of the trails. I also found out the deer here will only move when they want to not when I want them to move. I hiked to the highest point of the park and got a good view of the lake. Last time I did not go past this area. The trails always seem nice and even with plenty of rain recently the trails held up well. The park has some good elevation changes and a couple are quite technical. The park is basically broken up in two sections and I got to hike the other side which lead me to the boat docks. The hike was around 10 miles so it was a good day.20190223_094956.jpg20190223_095102.jpgcaRMtN_8WTXs5wJ-Ln7xOG09RQ_-t4DJikgv_fqv5pc-2048x1152.jpgnZz3Q4rK0JEuc9eGPUo00Y4jsuuyHwFP6FjWlbN3ZGA-2048x1152.jpgTj_twFrYo5QjC5Z7BlEUtnjtDi0gC1tPTzJIZoPgUUY-2048x1152.jpg

From hazy to sunny this was a nice hike and also did some trail running also. Next up is my second half marathon. It happens to be at Grasslands and a warm up for my second 50K.

LBJ National Grasslands

LBJ National Grasslands is located in Alvord, TX which is about an hour north west of Fort Worth. I was out here because I was doing a half marathon. I liked that I got a chance to roam around and see other parts of the grasslands not just the parts on the course. It seems to be mainly used as a horse trail. I could see myself easily getting lost if it was not for the race trail markers. If you like prairie lands and rolling hills, this is the perfect place. It is also in the middle of nowhere so I am guessing the nights are awesome when it is clear. There are no grandiose views anything particularly special about this place but it is so peaceful and tranquil. It grabbed my attention and I do not really know why. FB_IMG_1552768404538.jpgFB_IMG_1552768400800.jpgFB_IMG_1552768424168.jpgFB_IMG_1552768417548.jpgFB_IMG_1552768420278.jpg

Since they do allow overnight camping, this would be a great getaway spot to do some stargazing on a warm Texas night.

Next up back to Eagle Mountain.

Lake Brownwood State Park

Lake Brownwood State Park is located in Brownwood, TX which is about three hours south west of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. I was looking forward to this park for no particular reason. It was good park to hike. The trails had a bunch of elevation change. There were some narrow trails surrounded high rock formations. The were some beach views but I did not do a lake trail hike. The views of the lake were interesting from the different angles and cliff edges. The day was hot and very sunny. I appreciate blue sky hikes. The contrasting blues coming together on the water and in the sky. I ended up getting close to three miles of good trail hiking. DSC01227.JPGDSC01224.JPGDSC01216.JPGDSC01208.JPGDSC01206.JPG

This was hike 36 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I had a good time on this hike. The people I met on this hike were great. The next hike was at a park that I have run more than hiked. I will finally hike the other part of the park.

Best Hikes of 2018 So Far

My last blog and this blog have both been rehash blogs for a good reason. I had plans to visit several west Texas state parks this summer but I have sustained an injury that is aggravated when sitting for a long time. My travel has been limited to just about nowhere. Hopefully, I will be back at 100% by August. I have gotten in a bunch of hikes this year so I will list the best.

10. Quanah Hill-This is a cool little park located in Weatherford, TX. Nice trails with lots of elevation change and clean.DSC00261.JPG

9. Eagle Mountain Park-Located on the northwest side of Fort Worth. This park is just a nice nature park to hike.DSC00033.JPG

8. Eisenhower State Park-A surprisingly good trail system at a park located in Denison, TX. The beaches and cliffs were great.DSC00283.JPG

7. Mount Nebo SP-Located in Dardanelle, AR, this was a surprisingly neat park. The summit trail around the top is a must.20180511_181132.jpg

6. Chickasaw National Recreational Area-Located in Sulphur, OK, this park is all about waterfalls. I love me some waterfalls.DSC00384.JPG

5. Bastrop SP-Located in Bastrop, TX, this was a park I have wanted to go to for a longtime. Although it was foggy he park did not disappoint.DSC00668.JPG

4. Petit Jean SP-Located in Morrilton, AR, this was another must see park for me that lived up to all the hype.20180513_075502.jpg

3. Enchanted Rock SP-I returned to this park for the third time. I got to finish the park and it was as good as the first two trips.DSC00568.JPG

2. Caprock Canyon SP-My second visit to this park located in Quitaque, TX. Even fog could not ruin the colors of this beautiful canyon.20180421_090844.jpg

1. Mount Magazine SP-This state park has the highest point in Arkansas as its peak. Located in Paris, AR, it has some great cliff views.20180512_092318.jpg

This was a hard list to create and I think I left off a good hikes at Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin and Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano. I have at least five never been before hikes planned in the fall so this list might change by the end of the year.

Quanah Hill

Quanah Hill park is located in Weatherford, TX which is about twenty minutes west of Fort Worth. The park is across the road from Lake Weatherford and is sort of hidden off the road in a gated parking lot. I passed it when I thought my GPS was wrong. I followed a car with a bike on the back and was lucky enough that the car was actually going to the park. This is another park in which the main activity is mountain biking. The trails had the typical mountain bike course set up. It had plenty of switchbacks and hills that were not trail running or state park hills. Those types are hills are long and occasionally steep but mountain bike hills are short and steep. Quanah Hill had plenty of surprises for a mountain bike trail. I will say this to start, it would be one heck of a trail run race set up. I was planning on a three and a half mile hike but ended up doing almost five miles. I got on the wrong trail like I usually do and added the mileage but it was worth it. The thing that makes this trail better than all other mountain bike trails I have hiked is that there is a constant change of elevation. The hike does not give you a break. I was going up or down a hill the entire time. A flat spot on the trails was a rarity. I like this type of hike because it makes a simple hike more difficult. The constant elevation change is taxing on the legs and I get a great workout without having to go a longer distance. The trail had a mountain hike feel also with narrow trails along a steep cliff. Another plus of these trails are the stuff on the side of the trails. There are some odd things on the side of the trails and I had a difficult time telling what was placed there on purpose or left by a mistake or just littering. The horse head and toilet were most amusing. Lastly the signs on the trails were both informative and comical. DSC00240.JPGDSC00246.JPGDSC00255.JPGDSC00258.JPGDSC00256.JPGDSC00275.JPGDSC00271.JPG

This has been one of my favorite trails to hike. The funny thing is that I have never heard of this trail until a trail runner on Facebook was looking for anybody to runs trails here. This was hike 14 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

I am going to get to those four state parks.

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.