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.

Purtis Creek State Park

Maybe they should rename the park Purtis Lake because the park sits on a lake and if a creek ran through it. I did not see it. Purtis Creek State Park is located in Eustace, TX which is about an hour east of Dallas. This was another nice hike for me to take my daughter on. The funny thing is on the ride to the park we saw camels and longhorns grazing on the same farm. I never knew there were camels in east Texas. Purtis Creek had a real east Texas feel with tall pine trees and red dirt. This is another park in which if you are not there for the lake there is not much else to do. The park campsites were sold out and the fishing must be great. The hiking was nice with views of the lake and the trees. 20180315_123343.jpgDSC00524.JPGDSC00526.JPGDSC00527.JPGDSC00538.JPGDSC00556.JPGDSC00558.JPG

It was a fun day hiking with my daughter. We did not go to widely known destinations but a good time was had by all.

 

Lake Tawakoni State Park

Twenty years ago I was doing outreach work in the area of this state park. I would hear people saying they are going to Lake Tawakoni for the weekend. I was picturing in my mind a little lake in even more of the middle of nowhere. To my surprise twenty years later, I find out that this lake is big and there is a real city that is nearby. The city of Wills Point, TX only has 3500 people and twenty years ago it had the same population but more buildings now. They have yoga and a spin class. The city is still mostly farmland but the downtown area is very nice and has cobbled stone streets.

Lake Tawakoni State Park is located about one hour east of Dallas. The lake is the main attraction but it also was the place of one of the largest communal spiderweb. The spiderweb is not there anymore but we did see a few small ones on the hike. I did say we because my daughter was my special hiking partner this time. We had a good time on the hike even though I have been spoiled by hiking canyons and mountains. The trails were in great shape and clearly marked and defined. These were some of the nicest trails I had been on.20180315_121444.jpgDSC00497.JPGDSC00502.JPGDSC00511.JPGDSC00506.JPGDSC00516.JPG20180315_121403.jpg

This was a nice fun flat hike. This was hike 19 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. It will not rank up near the top of my hike list but hiking with my daughter was a blast and on the drive we saw a farm with camels. It was funny to see camels in east Texas along side of longhorns.

Next hike more east Texas hiking with my girl.

Lake Murray State Park

Lake Murray State Park is located two hours north of Dallas in Ardmore, OK. The state park is the oldest and largest state park in Oklahoma. Half the park is the lake itself but the land part of the park is very nice. The trails were nice, even though like most trails I have been on in Oklahoma, they were poorly marked. I did not know the name of the trail I hiked even with a map so I made it an out and back. I wanted to hike to and then walk up Tucker Tower but it was closed by the time I got to the park. I basically hiked blind for five miles. The views of the lake were very nice and the terrain was rugged with a lot of elevation change. I really liked the solitude of the area I hiked. I did not go to the floating cabins or the lodge. I decided to hike the trails less traveled. They might not have been as scenic as the others but they were peaceful with a bit of difficulty.  Fishing and boating seem to be the popular activities but I am more into just hiking so I did not take full advantage of the park.  It is a nice park but ranks low on the other places I have been to in Oklahoma. 20180312_165430.jpg20180312_165442.jpgDSC00453.JPGDSC00475.JPGDSC00478.JPGDSC00484.JPGDSC00487.JPG

Lake Murray State Park is a nice park with very good trails. This was hike 18 in ny 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. This is another place I never thought of visiting but the challenge is taking me to new places.

Next hike is back on the Texas state park trails.

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.

 

Eagle Mountain Park

I had a chance to get back on the trails between the cold fronts. I headed out to Fort Worth, TX. In the far northwest part of Fort Worth, there is a beautiful park and lake. The homes are not bad either. The park is located thirty minutes northwest of downtown Fort Worth. The main trails are well marked with mile markers and “you are here” signs. The trail also has many smaller off shoot trails that are not marked but I might try some of those next time. The trails I hiked were the Main Park Trail and the Shoreline Trail. The trails had some good elevation change and views of the lake. I also got to try my new point and shoot camera. The pictures came out very good. I was not shooting in a majestic canyon but the views were nice and the camera did it justice. I saw a armadillo and many colorful birds. I also saw deer tracks on the trail. DSC00017.JPGDSC00031.JPGDSC00027.JPGDSC00036.JPGDSC00048.JPG

This is a very enjoyable park. I nice park to have a relaxing stroll. I would also like to do some trail running out here at some time. This is also hike 7 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.