Guadalupe River State Park

I have been intrigued by this park for a long time.  I have heard great things about this park.  The Guadalupe River flowing through a picturesque park with high vistas, I thought this would be a great park to visit.  I think I put this park on such a high pedestal.  I really liked to park but it was crowded and the trail system was fairly simple.  I would have liked for the trail system to run along the river longer and less people.  The amount of people cannot be controlled by the park.  The park is attached to the Honey Creek SNA which is available by guided tour only.  I will need to do that hike and see what the other side has to offer.

The park is located in Spring Branch, TX which is north of San Antonio.  This is in the hill country of Texas and a great area to hike all of the state parks.  It is a great park if you like fishing or floating and playing in a river.  The hiking is good but it is more of a water park.

The trails went through many different  types of landscapes.  They past lakeside, vistas and prairie lands.  The trail was very rocky but that is not unusual for this area of Texas.  There was not much elevation gain on the trails even though they start on the river and end overlooking the river from a bluff.20190708_161635.jpgThis part of the river was moving pretty good.20190708_161857.jpgThe river looked like this but full of people.20190708_163920.jpgMy favorite part of the hike looking down on the river.20190708_163955.jpgNear the edge of the cliff.20190708_171401.jpgHiking through a large open prairie.

 

Pedernales Falls SP Pedernales Falls Trail

I am back at Pedernales Falls Trail and this time I went further upstream.  Just to get this out of the way, I got lost on the way back and had to follow the horse trail to the main road.  I used a compass to go in the right direction and from the main road I hiked back to the parking lot and trailhead.

The falls were flowing with more intensity than the last time I was here.  I decided to go to the obvious picturesque spots then headed up the river.  I was happy that there were few people out today and got all the pictures I wanted.  It was a midday day middle of the week hike so I did not expect to see many people.  As most know I love waterfalls and I just kept following them further up the river.  I would have kept going but the sound of thunder and a cool breeze with darkened clouds cut my hike short.  It did not rain but this area is prone to flash floods and the river rises fast.  I did get to parts of the park I had been to before and it was a great hike.  The park gets better every time I am here and it did not disappoint.  20190627_170801.jpgMy favorite picture of the day20190627_171544.jpgFour armadillos20190627_172334.jpgTrying out new settings on my camera phone20190627_172817.jpgMy favorite beach spot20190627_180044.jpgSky was changing20190627_180744.jpgClear water and darkening clouds

I have one more day in the Texas hill country before returning home. I visit another park I have to but a different park.

The Narrows Wichita Mountains

This was my third trip to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton, OK.  I have been hiking two to three sections at a time.  I have heard about the Narrows from other hikers, so I decided to check it out.  The trailheads here are poorly marked and the trails are not marked, so finding the trail and going the right direction took some help.  Although the trail markings are nonexistent, the trails are a blast to hike.  After getting directions from a fellow hiker, I took a one and a half mile out and back turned it into a two mile adventure.  It had rain plenty the past few weeks and the river had a brisk flow.  The trail had several steep inclines and the elevation gains and loses were quick and long.  I did lose the trail once but I was down in a valley with only one way out so the only thing I needed to do is hike up.  It was fairly crowded for my taste but not overly crowded.  There are many overlooks on the trail and the temperature was perfect for the lizards that were out sunbathing. 20190419_160813.jpg20190419_161831.jpg20190419_162807.jpg20190419_155753.jpg20190419_154404.jpg20190420_165516.jpg

Next up was a hike gone almost terribly wrong that involved bushwhacking.

Devil’s Den State Park Part 3

The last day at Devil’s Den SP was another frozen hike. The water in my water bottle actually froze on this short hike. The trail started right off the front of my cabin. I had passed it up the entire time I was here. I finally went on the trail and it lead to the waterfall over the dam. This is one of the park’s bigger attractions and I forgot all about it. It was easy to forget because of all of the other hikes grabbed my fascination. The buzzards were out on all hikes but especially this morning. The hike had a nice bridge which I always like and of course the waterfall. The trail was relatively flat with one big decline and incline at the beginning and the end. The temperature never got out of the 20s and that really affected my picture taking ability. I did get to see a beautiful sunrise. I did not get a picture though. The sun did make the crystal clear river water sparkle.20181126_103647.jpg20181126_150343.jpg20181126_150509.jpg20181127_072516.jpg20181127_074054.jpg20181127_074037.jpg

I had a great time here and already have plans to return to the region to visit the other close by state park. This was hike 45 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

I have seven more hikes to complete the 52 Hike Challenge. Stay tuned to see if I can do it.

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.

Blanco State Park

I was looking at a map of my trip from one state park to another and Blanco State Park pops up as a park I could visit. The park was not out of the way but off the beaten path just a bit. It is located in Blanco, TX which is about an hour north of San Antonio. I was lucky enough to get to drive on HWY 290, 281 and FM 32. I mention these roads because these have some of the most scenic spring time views Texas has to offer. The blooming flowers on 290, the ranch land and small towns on 281 and the canyon views on FM 32. In addition to the three scenic roads previously mentioned, I also drove through Luckenbach and Farm Rd 1623 follows the Blanco River all the way to the park. It was a nice view of the river for miles before going to the park of its namesake.

The park itself is one of the smaller state parks. The trails were well marked and easy to find and follow. They were both out and back trails that stayed along the river. The park seemed like a city park that was converted into a state park by adding cabins. This is a CCC park so the buildings were a pleasure to look at with the rock designs. The park main attraction was a man made damn that doubled as a cool waterfall. I did not get any good pictures because there were always too many people in that area. The hike was easy with few elevation changes. 20180330_115406.jpg20180330_115812.jpgDSC00609.JPGDSC00626.JPGDSC00641.JPGDSC00630.JPGDSC00618.JPG

The whole park experience was a good time. The drive to and from the park and the park itself made the visit worth the travel. This was also hike 22 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

Next up is the BBQ capitol of Texas where I order pizza.

Down N Dirty 8K

I am back in Waco doing the Huaco Cuatro Series. I had a great time running the series last year so I decided to do it again. The first race was the toughest. I was prepared for it this year mentally but I was physically tired. I ran most of the race and cut nine minutes off my time last year. Once again the course was over a half mile longer than the noted distance. The course was changed just a bit but still was very hilly and challenging. There was over 700 feet of elevation change and a steep uphill finish. The people are also great and the tacos are worth the run alone. 20180317_104130.jpg20180317_105543.jpg20180317_105554.jpg20180317_105626.jpg20180317_105633.jpg

I finally got some pictures of the Brazos River from the top of the course. I cannot wait to run the next three races. The new medals were also nice and the finishing plaque might not be needed.

I will get back on the trails and in the state parks in the next few blogs.