Mount Nebo State Park

This is my third trip back to Arkansas and it was awesome. My first stop was at Mount Nebo State Park. The park is located in Dardanelle, AR which is northwest of Little Rock. The first thing about this park that caught my attention was how steep the road is to get into the park. Hwy 155 is a notable road that is known in the area but not to me. It has several switchbacks but the steepness is what really stood out. I also did not have this park as a must visit park. I was in the area so I decided to check it out. I made the right decision.

I got a map and hiked the Rim Trail. The trail had plenty of great views. I also did a little venture on the Gum Springs Trail. The two of many highlights on the trail were Sunset Point and Lover’s Leap. The views from these overlooks were absolutely spectacular. The other overlooks were great but these two stuck out most for me. The hike was not difficult but scary at times. I was on a thin trail with a cliff on one side and a mountain wall on the other. Plus the thermals on the east side of the mountain were blowing. It was tough to keep balance and fight the wind. I got to see eagles use the thermals to dive and rise through the air. Watching the birds use the thermals was another highlight. 20180511_194340.jpg20180511_185024.jpg20180511_181132.jpgDSC00911.JPGDSC00951.JPGDSC00966.JPG

This was the beginning of an amazing three day trip in Arkansas. I was not too surprised of the beauty of the state parks. I liked seeing a different part of the state. This was also hike 28 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.  The start of these 52 hikes have been amazing so far.

Next up is another Arkansas mountain.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park Day 1

Palo Duro Canyon State Park is located in the Panhandle Region of Texas. It is about thirty minutes south of Amarillo. The Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States and is a gorgeous sight to see. I loved this place the minute I stepped out of the car. I have never seen anything like this in my life. I love that it has been a year of going to Texas state parks and I can still say I am seeing things that I have never seen previously. We have wanted to go here before as a family but the cabins have always been booked. I finally got a cabin at the park and I could not pass it up. I booked it and off I went. It had been raining most of the drive to the park but I was lucky that most of the rain was out of the park the day before I got there and it did not rain the day I was there. I was hoping for clear skies and cool weather. I was blessed with both on the two days I was hiking. It was a six hour drive with one stop and some of the drive was boring but other parts were scenic. I like going through the small towns I have heard about through high school sports. I hear about a six man football  powerhouse or a 1A basketball team that is undefeated and then I drive through that city, for me it is pretty cool. OK back to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, I did the CCC Trail on this day. The trail goes around the rim of the north end of the canyon and down to the amphitheater and back. I wanted to get started early but I was delayed getting to my cabin and plus the electricity was out at the cabin. I had a portable charger and a flashlight so that would not be a problem but I was not prepared for temperatures in the teens. I knew the cabin had a heater but with no electricity it was going to be cold. Eventually the power was fixed and I did not freeze. The hike was awesome and seeing all the colors of the canyon was mind blowing.  I was so amazed at the layers of rock and how brilliant the colors projected. 20171219_161533.jpg20171219_144219.jpg20171219_172527.jpg20171219_170708.jpg20171219_170359.jpg20171219_162912.jpg20171219_152414.jpg

Once I saw these pictures I knew I needed a better camera than my phone camera. I have a great camera on my phone but I am not good at taking pictures so I need a better point and shoot camera.

This also hike 4 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. The first three hikes were in my previous blogs on my second trip to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

My next blog is day two at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

Forty Foot Hole Wichita Mountains

I decided on December 1st 2017 to do another 52 Hike Challenge. I completed my first challenge this year in 46 weeks. The challenge I just finished was the Adventure Challenge. The hikes had to include things like waterfalls, sunset/sunrise, group, reflective, bucket list amd others. This challenge will entail 52 different hikes. I did repeat a few hikes last time but this time no repeating. I am also going to try to finish some trails I did not finish last year.

The Forty Foot Hole is located in the Wichita Mountains in Lawton, OK. This is my second visit and I got to finish this trail from the opposite direction. This side of the trail did not have all the waterfalls but had one nice one. The Forty Foot Hole was amazing. I hiked the rim and then hiked along the river. I could not believe how picturesque this place looked at dusk. I wish I had more time here but I was looking for another trailhead in which I did not find until it was dark. I will be back here to do some more hiking.20171208_162030.jpg20171208_160150.jpg20171208_164933.jpg20171208_162255.jpg20171208_173832.jpg20171208_173613.jpg

This was another fun trip. I did not see a buffalo this time but I did see the biggest elk I have ever seen. This place is great and well worth a return trip to finish off some other hikes I want to complete.

My next hike continues in the Wichita Mountains but this time it is a summit hike.

La Nuit 5K

Equip Disciples put on two trail runs each year. I missed the first one but was able to run the La Nuit 5K. La Nuit is French for the night. As you may have guessed, it was a night trail run. It was not as dark as the last night trail run due to the course being just ten miles south of Dallas. The other good thing is that the race takes place at the Cedar Ridge Preserve. The preserve is just five minutes from my house which takes away drive time. It was the first time I had been at the preserve at night since they close the gates at sunset. This was one of the smaller races I have done so placing was not a problem. I did have one of my better times at 45:38 on a very hilly and difficult course. I am extremely familiar with the trails but it was another hot and very humid summer night. My glasses fogged up and was running blind the second half of the race. The fogging of my glasses is becoming a trend that I do not like. I did take first in my age group sort of. The overall winner was in my age group so I was first in the master’s age. 20861786_1437500566333611_3555400733978351861_o.jpg20819771_1437501466333521_9169155015411579300_o.jpg20776348_1437507006332967_5125797327368839372_o.jpg20861768_1437494453000889_5772890277579984895_o.jpg

I had a great time at the run. I had a chance to meet and talk to some good people. It was also a run for a good cause. I will definitely do the day race.

The next race is a 5K back in Waco. I have been running 10Ks on the road and now I am ready to move up to trail 10Ks. I had already registered for two more trail 5Ks.

Jurassic 5K Trail Run

This is my third Xterra trail race and my third third place finish. This is also my third trip to Dinosaur Valley SP. It is also my second of three night trail races sort of. I will get to that in a future blog. The pattern of three was interesting but just a sidebar. I had done a few road 10Ks prior to this run. The distance did not bother me but the course was brutal. This is my second race here and this course was more difficult and it took me five minutes longer than my first trail 5K at the park. This course lead the runners to the top of park and on the steepest trail in the park. The first mile was basically straight up hill with a few flat breaks. We were literally going uphill with hands on the ground. The rest of the course was downhill but very technical and very dark.  The single track downhill was also on the side of cliffs, so falling off of one of those kept my pace slower than normal. My time of 47:04 was not too bad considering the conditions. It was also a hot and humid Texas July night.20170708_194715(0).jpg20170708_195321.jpg20170708_195234.jpg20170708_213652.jpg19748616_1216874245085178_9067091331563840417_n.jpg

At this point, I did not realize I do not like running at night. I ran two more times at night and now I will not do it anymore. I say so but it might happen again in a special circumstance.

My next trail run is at my favorite place to trail run. Plus it is just five minutes from home.

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Cedar Ridge Preserve is located about twenty minutes southwest of Dallas. The preserve is also the highest point in Dallas County. The location from my home makes it a convenient hiking location for me. I have been hiking here on and off for about eight years and the last two years I have been trail running on the trails. Hiking the perimeter of the preserve will get you over six miles of good hiking. The views are great and the trails range from difficult to easy. There are six distinct overlooks at the preserve and they have great vantage points of the surrounding area. The overlooks on Cattail Pond and Bluebonnet Trails are large wooden stair structures. They help when looking over the trees. The overlooks on Red Oak and Fossil Valley Trails are my favorite. The area they overlook includes Joe Pool Lake and the Dam, Cedar Hill State Park, Cedar Mountain and the Dogwood Canyon Audubon. The preserve is ever changing and depending on the time and season, the scenery can be drastically different. The preserve includes a pond, a small waterfall, several bridge crossings and numerous creeks and streams. 20151126_09164720151215_14481820160218_16302720160218_16470420160218_17061620160917_19064320160917_18461720161124_090542

This is my favorite place to hike and the place I have hiked the most. It is also my favorite place to trail run. The elevation changes are great and I can mix in steep inclines with long inclines that are not as steep. It is like having the Texas Hill Country in my backyard. It say this is the best hiking area in the DFW metroplex.

Next blog is back in Fort Worth. This was a wild and unexpectedly difficult hike and as usual I get lost for awhile and find a steep incline to the end.

San Angelo State Park

I never heard of this park until a few months prior to hiking here my daughter had a softball tournament in San Angelo. At the time I wanted to go hiking through the park but the way the games were set up I never got a chance. The area and parts of the city made me want to go back to the park and see what it had to offer. I then saw a 5K trail run taking place inside the park and I signed up. I could now see the park and also get a trail race. San Angelo is about four and a half hours west south west of the DFW metroplex. The park boast longhorns, rattlesnakes and mountain views. I got to see two of the three thankfully the less poisonous of the three. The trail map does not do the park justice and the entire park is a scenic vista. The park is also located on O.C. Fisher Lake. My hike started at the scenic overlook on the south side of the park and then on to Burket Trail.20170310_165558.jpg20170310_181956.jpg20170310_154105.jpg

On the Burket Trail you get a good view of cactus and the red dirt trails. The trail has a several different surfaces which makes it a visually spectacular hike.20170310_173131.jpg20170310_172921.jpg20170310_171052.jpg20170310_173628.jpg

I had some daylight left so I hiked one more trail. I went to the Tasajillo Flats Trail and saw a wonderful sunset over the west Texas desert and mountains. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVQxPI_1py8&t=28s20170310_183710.jpg20170310_184114.jpg20170310_183921.jpg

I had a great time hiking in the evening and then had an early morning 5K trail run. I had my best time of the year and got another view of the park from the north side. The pictures at that part of the park did not come out but trust me there are some pictures of a mountain range in the distance.

The next park is in the Houston area and it was used as a camping area for another trail race I had the next day. The park follows the trends of I have never heard of the park before and a park I have a trail run.