Six-0 Half Marathon

I had a time at this race.  Blaze Trail Running put on a great race.  The course was sneaky difficult but was set up with so many great views.  The loops with in the course intentionally went to bluffs overlooking the Texas hill country.  The volunteers were awesome and the parking set up is a detail that usually gets forgotten but it was great.  Plus grilling at the finish line.  Not many races have a person grilling hot dogs and hamburgers at the finish line, a nice touch.  The race was fairly local so a bunch of trail runners I run with during the week were there running or volunteering.  20190831_071403.jpgParking right by the start/finish

The race itself caught me by surprise.  I did not think it would be relatively easy but it was hillier than I thought.  The race starting temperature was great but the humidity was in the upper 80s.  As the race went on the humidity dropped but the temperature rose.  You got to love running in Texas in August.  The location was at Six-0 Ranch in Cleburne, Tx which about 45 minutes southwest of the Fort Worth.  The ranch is beautiful and a great place for this race.  It is also a working ranch so cows were roaming around and leaving fresh patties. 20190831_070214.jpgMorning sky

The course was set up to go about 3.5 miles slightly downhill then 7 miles with  significant elevation gain and finishing with a 3 mile downhill run with a quick uphill at the end.  Within the first mile I heard yelling and looked back to see what all the commotion was about, a herd of cows were sprinting between a pack of runners and people were trying to get out of the way.  No one got hurt but those cows were moving very fast and way too close for comfort.  About 4.5 miles in we got to the lake, the first of many scenic areas.  We looped the lake which prior to running here I thought was odd but I understood why they made the course this way.FB_IMG_1567279017938.jpgThe lake on one sideFB_IMG_1567279021447.jpgThis view on the other side

Seven miles in I was drenched.  Not normal drenched but shoes and socks puddles drenched.   I was properly hydrated but I was hungry but not hungry.  It is hard to explain but I was so hungry but I did not want to eat.  It is a problem I have running when I am going longer distances.  I have to force myself to eat during these runs or hit a wall near the end due to lack of nutrition.   I make it to the aid station at 9.5 miles and refilled my drink and just get some watermelon, big mistake.  This was another place on the course where there was an awkward place to put a loop.  But the view added by having the loop was worth it.FB_IMG_1567279041523.jpgOne of my favorite views from the course

After the aid station there was still a but of hill climbing to do.  The downhill started fast and furious as did my demise.  I was holding a 12:20 mile pace until this point.  I ran into the wall and my pace jumped up.  I ended with an average above 14 minutes per mile.  Unlike last race I somewhat expected this to happen at sometime.  I have been losing weight and not taking in as many calories as I need for a race this long.  My finishing time of 3:12:17 was a little disappointing but considering the course difficulty and am not that unhappy.  FB_IMG_1567279045385.jpgI like the windmill and I do believe that was one of the hills on the courseFB_IMG_1567278999087.jpgOne of the few areas of tree coverFB_IMG_1567279978092.jpgStruggling up the hill

I do not have many pictures of me having fun when running but the Dallas Dirt Runners caught me having fun and turned it into a meme.  My fellow runner is Sue Fee.FB_IMG_1567297044687.jpg

We were nowhere near the finish line at this point.

A good time was had by all and next week it is a 25K in Oklahoma.

Longhorn Cavern State Park

I have hiked many different types of places this summer.  I hiked canyons, mountains, rivers and lakes.  I did not actually hike in rivers and lakes but you know what I mean.  I finally got around to caverns.  I have driven past this park many times but never thought of going to check it out.  Now was the perfect time with 100 degree temperatures outside and the caves keep a constant 68 degrees.  The park is located in Burnet, Tx and is five minutes away from Inks Lake State Park.

I started my hike by doing the trail that is outside.  The park has a flat short trail that overlooks the hill country.  The goes past a CCC observation tower and cabin.  The trail has one really nice view of the hill country and the dam.  The hike was quick and only about a mile or so long.20190724_081507.jpgLooking over the hill country20190724_091513.jpgThe observation tower20190724_091704.jpgThe cabin

The second part of the hike was in the caverns.  These were a different looking of caverns than I thought they would look like.  Most caverns are filled stalagmites and stalactites but there only on section like this.  They tour was nice and I saw plenty of half dollar sized bats.  The history of the caverns was nice to hear.  I have never tried taking pictures in caverns and most of them did not come out.  It was more difficult than I thought.  I could not get the camera to focus.  The hike lasted an hour and a but was only two miles long.  The pace was a bit slow for my taste but I had a wonderful time.20190724_100209.jpgNo really but a nice sign20190724_100720.jpgStairs leading to the caverns20190724_101629.jpgOne of the better pictures20190724_102248.jpgTrying to get the length of the caverns20190724_103953.jpgThe ceiling20190724_105826.jpgSurreal picture20190724_111122.jpgThe little bat

Inks Lake State Park Again

I am back at Inks Lake State Park.  I have one more trail here to hike and I would have hiked the entire park.  I hiked Devil’s Backbone Nature Trail and that was it.  This is one of my favorite trails now.  The trail travels along the banks and cliffs overlooking Inks Lake.  The lake level was the lowest I have ever seen and the waterfall was dry.  I still enjoyed this trail and also seeing some people cliff diving into the lake.

The hike was peaceful and not many people on the trail.  Most of the people were in the lake because it was another hot day in central Texas.  I found different ways to get up and down the rock formations.  I was trying to find the correct angles to get some good pictures.  The only drawback was once again no Milky Way picture.  The rest of the time was great.20190723_182210.jpgTrying to get all the colors of the park20190723_182714.jpgI love the way the rocks enter in the lake20190723_183417.jpgThe cliff jumping area20190723_191134.jpgLake level view20190723_182327.jpgBalancing rock20190723_181455.jpgWhere the waterfall use to be.

Another wonderful time at Inks Lake.

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.

 

Garner State Park Nature Trail

This is a short simple flat trail I hiked because of some time constraints.  I wanted to do a different trail here but the Old Baldy hike took longer than expected.  I decided to do this short loop trail to check out another part of the park.  This is a good starter trail for those just starting off hiking.  The trail had plenty to see to keep it interesting and no real elevation change.  The trail has plenty of signage telling you what you are seeing.  It was a good hike for myself to get my legs back from the high hill hikes the previous days.20190708_100744.jpgStraight and flat20190708_100137.jpgThis tree section caught my eye20190708_095917.jpgLots of green also20190708_100739.jpgA little of everything

Six more summer hikes.

Garner State Park Old Baldy Trail

The first time I was Garner State Park I did not get a chance to hike this trail.  I have hiked some pretty tough trails in the Texas hill country but this one was one of the toughest.  It is only about a half mile to the top but it is a 300 foot incline the entire way.  You get little to no break the entire hike.  It is not too long but on average you get 600 feet of elevation gain per mile.  For reference, to hike to Guadalupe Peak, highest point in Texas, you would get 375 feet of elevation gain per mile.  It is steep.  The trail is partially single track plus some bouldering and loose gravel.  I loved the trail and got the pictures that I wanted.  I once again hiked midweek but I decided to start early trying to get multiple hikes at the park.  The top already had several people up there relaxing and taking pictures.  I met some nice people on the way up and they were going to some hidden caves in the park.  I did not have time to go but I have taken a mental map for the location.  20190708_085743.jpgView from the top20190708_090047.jpgAnother view from the top, the water is so clear you can see the bottom of the river20190708_090326.jpgTrail near the top20190708_085558.jpgHalfway there and feeling the burn20190708_084413.jpgAt the beginning20190708_092004.jpgWhat a way to start

I cannot wait to get back and finish some other trails at Garner State Park.

Lost Maples SNA East Trail

I am still on my running break and I am getting to hike places I want to revisit.  I was here two years ago and loved it.  I have not had a chance to get back till now.  I wanted to do the East Trail because I missed it the last time.  The trail also has two landmarks that the park features.  I wanted to see Monkey Rock and the Grotto.  Plus I love the view from the top of the park and the waterfalls.  The park offers a view of the Milky Way due to the dark sky and lack of light pollution.  I wanted to get a view of the Milky Way and I did but no pictures.  I tried to get a few but phone cameras are not meant for this type of photography.

The day was very hot but not as humid as it has been lately.  I got a good 5 plus miles with over 1200 feet of elevation change.  It was a midday midweek hike so not many people on the trail.  I saw most of the people in the first and last mile.  I was lucky that nobody was up on top of mountain.  The views were awesome like last time but greener.  The rain has kept the trees greener for a longer time.  The hike was just as difficult as last time even though I went counter clockwise this time.  20190707_164205.jpgMonkey Rock20190707_170029.jpgThe Grotto20190707_170712.jpgAlmost to the top20190707_174041.jpgMade it to the top20190707_174712.jpgMust have picture20190707_180323.jpgBest picture of the day20190707_181510.jpgWaterfall

I had a really good time and I still need to do the West trail.