Sutton Urban Wilderness Area

The Sutton Urban Wilderness Area is a nice bit of nature in the middle of the city. It is located in Norman. OK which is fifteen minutes south of Oklahoma City. The trail is flat with a few off shoot trails that have elevation change. The trail is a two mile loop around a small lake. It was a nice peaceful hike. I liked the trees and the water mix but also the open fields. The flat trail made it a speedy four mile trail run. I had to cut both the hike and run short due to the incoming storm. 20181024_121923.jpg20181024_122152.jpg20181024_123315.jpg20181024_123304.jpg20181024_124822.jpg20181024_124838.jpgThis was Hike 41 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I like the different parts of Oklahoma. I have been to both east and west Oklahoma and now central Oklahoma.

The next blog is going to be back at a trail race. I am building up some trail mileage in preparation for my 50K.

Lake Thunderbird State Park

Lake Thunderbird State Park is located in Midwest City, OK which is just southeast of Oklahoma City. I did not know if I would be able to get a hike in due to all the rain. The rain held off and I got to hike and run about nine and a half miles. The views of the lake were nice but all the wildlife was the highlight. There were deer and other woodland creatures all over the place. The trails were not marked as well as I would like but most trails I have been on in Oklahoma are not marked well. There were some elevation change but not too steep or long. The trails were very runnable. The were some muddy spots but the trails held up really well. 20181024_084650.jpg20181024_085510.jpg20181024_084556.jpg20181024_091223.jpg20181024_092903.jpg20181024_094204.jpg20181024_094214.jpg

The fall colors were a nice surprise. The different trees and grasses were fun to see. This was hike 40 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

Next hike is down the road in Norman, OK.

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.

Lake Colorado City State Park

The park is located in Colorado City, Texas which is between Abilene and Midland. I really like the west Texas and Panhandle parks of Texas. This park was going to be a throw in park but turned out to be the highlight of the weekend. I did not get a trail map at the entrance but the trail was very easy to follow. The main problem is that I hiked a trail I did not want to hike. The only other park trail is the trail I was planning on hiking. Even with that mistake, the hike was great. The Cactus Trail was an one mile out and back. I of course turned it into a 2.5 mile scenic adventure. The trail was appropriately named. There were beautiful cacti lined up all around the trail. The trail had the rock desert feel of west Texas and a great view of the lake. The rock formations were nice and made the hike more interesting.  20180817_143059.jpg20180817_143104.jpgDSC01122.JPGDSC01145.JPGDSC01133.JPGDSC01164.JPGDSC01153.JPG

This was hike 34 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. It was an enjoyable experience but I wish I remembered the other trail. I think next time I will sleep at this park as a hub to venture to some further west parks. The hike ranks fairly high on my favorite list.

Next up my yurt stay in Abilene.

Return to Cleburne State Park

I have finally returned to Cleburne SP.  I enjoyed my first visit in which I hiked with my son. We hiked all around the waterfall.  It was flowing pretty good the day we went.  I had plans to go back several times after some heavy rains to see the waterfall at full power.  I never made it back at those times. I went back this time and we are in a moderate drought. The waterfall was dried up but the hiking was still good. I wanted to see some other parts of the park.  The parts of Cedar Lake I saw were very clear. I was surprised of how clear the water was in the lake.  The other parts of the part had a west Texas desert feel. There were cacti and shrubs. The ground was white shale dry ground.  There was some good elevation changes and an overlook that was at ground level.  I still have one more part of the park I have not hiked yet.20180611_153549.jpg20180611_155008.jpg20180611_155543.jpg20180611_161102.jpg20180611_161821.jpg20180611_172413.jpg

It was a good hike on a hot and dry day.  I do want to get back to the park during a time when the waterfall is at full blast.

Copper Breaks State Park

Copper Breaks State Park is located in Quanah, TX which is about four hours north west of Dallas. This park was mind blowing. It is not as grand as Palo Duro or Caprock Canyon State Parks but they all three have similar features. The red rock with white stripes and the steep sheer cliffs is something that they all have as geological features. But Copper Breaks has some quirky looking features the other two do not have in them. The Permian Sea Tide Ripples were a nice surprise and the ripples in some of the elevation change areas were also a different aspect of the park. I am a fan of the natural balancing rocks and the park had many to see. The park trails also overlook Lake Copper Breaks and the Pease River. I only hiked the two most challenging trails but I ended up hiking double the mileage it showed on the map. I did not get off trail and never felt lost but my get lost factor is always high. This park also has part of the official Texas Longhorn herd and is an International Dark Sky Park. I am planning on making a trip out here for an overnight visit or a stargazing tour. The day I was here it was overcast and I saw no longhorns. DSC00810.JPG20180420_173918.jpgDSC00815.JPGDSC00827.JPGDSC00830.JPGDSC00845.JPGDSC00872.JPGDSC00862.JPG

I hope these pictures can depict how incredible this park looks. I look at the pictures I take and they still do not relay the imagery I see in person. This was hike 26 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I am at the halfway point in the challenge and what a great hike to get to this point.

Next blog is a hike but also a trail run. It might also be a trail run that turned into a speed hike. I might just call it a trail runhike with tons of pictures. Whatever it was it was very fun.

Cross Timbers Trail Run 5 Mile

I signed up for this race because not only is it the oldest trail race in Texas but also one of the most difficult. What I did not expect was several inches of rain the night before and the morning of the race. The course was tough enough in perfect weather but now it is a mud run. As I mentioned before I do not like mud runs. The adventure was the trip to the race and the race itself was also strange.

First on the drive to the race I got lost. It was pitch black outside and raining hard. I am just driving along and the next thing I know I am crossing a bridge and I am in Oklahoma. I make a u-turn and five minutes later I see a sign welcoming me to Texas. I finally get to the parking lot and it starts pouring down rain again. Finally the sun is starting to rise and the rain stops.

Secondly the course was soaked and muddy and very difficult to run. As a large trail runner I especially struggled in the mud. Plus uphill in the mud is much worse with all the gravity working against me. I only passed two people on the course and they were both injured and in need of EMS personnel. I did meet several people on the trails that made it fun. I even saw one lady leaning on a tree eating pretzels. I finished in a very unimpressive time of 1:58:12 and last in my age group. I did get lost though, I might have moved up a place or two. Some of the views of Lake Texoma were very impressive but the 1000 feet of elevation change in mud was something I will not want to experience again. 20180217_071547.jpg20180217_095056.jpg20180217_072451.jpg

The funny thing about this race is I want to do it again but it has to be dry. I thing the course would be awesome and I know it would be challenging.

Next up is a fun 10K close to home.