Wild Canyon Ultra 10K/Hike?

I am trying to decide if this goes down as a trail run or speed hike. On trail runs, I usually get pre and post run pictures. On hikes, I get pictures all during the hike. This was a registered race but I got no pre or post race pictures and took twenty plus pictures on the second half of the course. The views were so amazing and it was an out and back course so I had a chance to get pictures without missing more scenery. It is a win win for me however I see it because I had another chance to be in the great outdoors.

The race was held at Caprock Canyon State Park. It is one of my favorites. The last time I was here, the skies were clear and the temperature was rising. Just the opposite this time. The temperatures were falling and the rain and storms were on there way. The race started in the fog was that way my entire run. The course held up well while I was running. There were some muddy spots but not too bad. The course started at a high point in the park and we ran down into a valley than back up to a high point and that was the halfway point. I knew it was going to be a rough and muddy uphill finish. I was not worried about my time. I was racing the rain. I saw lightning the the thunder rumbled. I knew the rain was close behind. I finished in a decent time for the course 1:19:42. My first top half finish in a 10K. 20180421_084344.jpg20180421_084349.jpg20180421_091122.jpg20180421_091417.jpg20180421_0913241.jpg20180421_084738.jpg

The rain held off until I finished. It starting pouring down rain three minutes after I was done. West Texas storms are crazy. The rain drops are bigger, the lightning is brighter and the thunder is louder. Did I forget the hail is faster. I am glad I did the 10K instead of the 25K. I would have been miserable running in that down pour with hail. Plus cloud to ground lightning bolts are nice to see from a distance inside but not close by and outside.

This will go down as hike 27 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series due to the picture taking during the run/hike.

 

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.

Lockhart State Park

In the land of BBQ there is a state park. I knew very little about this park and the park seemed to be a park for golf. I do not golf. It also supposedly has some good fishing spots. I do not fish but want to learn and start fishing. I do hike and this park has some surprisingly nice hiking trails. I even had a tough time on Rattlesnake Run trail to finish off my hike of the park. Lockhart State Park is located in Lockhart, TX which is about thirty minutes south of Austin. I decided to do a combination of seven trails because none of them are particularly long. I luckily brought enough water due to the heat. The temperature rose very quick in the middle of the day. Another good thing was that the trails were shaded for the most part. I enjoyed my time at this park. I stayed longer than I thought was going to stay so I had to pass up on another park I was going to try to visit. This was a trend of that weekend. I was continually hiking longer in one place and missing out on the next place. This was also the weekend of getting lost and I did get lost at Lockhart State Park and ended up on the golf course. I was pleasantly surprised to find two waterfalls in the park and one was flowing to the point where the crossing point was flooded. DSC00666.JPGDSC00658.JPG DSC00653.JPGDSC00651.JPG20180330_144610.jpg20180330_151304.jpg

This was hike 23 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series and one of the biggest surprises of these hikes. I found many things on this hike that I did not expect. The trails had good elevation change. There are some CCC buildings and waterfalls. It was a good hiking experience.

Next up is a park I have been trying to get to in over a year.

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.

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.