Once again, I did an Opt Outside hike. Last year this was going to be my first hike of the 52 Hike Challenge but I decided to start the challenge with a New Year’s Day hike. This year the hike was the first hike after completing the 52 Hike Challenge which was both easier and harder than I thought. I was fine time was but finding places was the real challenge. Like most most challenges when they are completed, the reward is within. I loved seeing all the new places that I would not have been to if it was not for the challenge to get the 52 hikes done in a year. I give credit to Opt Outside for all the hikes in 2017 because I would not have found the 52 Hike CHallenge if it were not for Opt Outside. Black Friday was actually fall color Friday. I hiked my favorite place, Cedar Ridge Preserve. I got five very good and productive miles.
I cannot wait to see where my hikes take me in the next year. Opt Outside is just not a one day decision it is a yearly lifestyle that I am trying to adopt for a lifetime.
The next blog is going back to trail running and then back to some crazy good hikes.
This is the second race in the Huaco Cuatro Race Series. The first was a 5 miler that was actually a 5.7 miler. I was prepared this time for the longer run and the crazy steep hills. The good thing this time is that the race started at the bottom of the park not the top. The logic would seem to be a downhill finish. The race was in Waco so nothing is logical. It was a flat finish after a small hill and a switchback downhill. I finished the run in a lower time than the first race. I like to see my pace but it skewed because it is based on the listed distance. The actual distance of this race was 9.5K. After this race, I felt comfortable I could finish a trail 10K. The course was almost as tough as the first race and was one of the more difficult courses. I truly like both of these runs and the Waco Striders put on another great race.
This was also the race I began to see improvement in my trail running and actually being competitive at the 5K races. I am still finding my way in the longer distances. I am already getting ready for this race series again next year. I am going to do the longer races next year. These first two races were the longer races but I went with the shorter races for the last two.
Next up is the first of three night trail races. I liked the night races but might not do it again.
I wanted to up my mileage so I will be prepared to start doing 10Ks by the end of the year. I picked this 5 miler over another 5K. I missed this race last year when the medal was an all purpose tool. The race was moved to Fort Worth on the Trinity Trails. The trails are flat and fast but not much of true off road trails. The course was concrete, gravel and some grass and sand. They basically moved a road course ten feet away from the Trinity River and called it a trail run. Despite the lack of a true trail, this is a Run Project run so it will be a good atmosphere. The after race party was awesome with an 90’s theme for some reason. Plus as the name would suggest they had beer. There was a bunch of people dancing and it was also kid friendly. I cranked out a 51:08 which was good for fourth place. I missed third by eight seconds. I was really happy with my time so the close fourth place finish was not too disappointing.
For the next trail race, I upped my distance again. I was prepared for the craziest of the Waco hills.
I really need a good camera. I had another day of not great sun light. I digress, this is almost a part two of my first trip to Pinnacle Mountain State Park. I wanted to hike/climb to the summit at that time. I did not get a chance because of the crazy heat. The state park is located on the west side of Little Rock, AR. The mountain has four trails that go around and up and down the mountain. The rest of the park also has about four trails in which I had already hiked on my first trip. The summit trail is what I wanted to do and finally completed. I bonus on this trip is that I got to do a trail race on one of the trails around the base of the mountain. I will blog on that race later.
I had two options on trails to the summit. I took the relatively less difficult summit trail but they both looked equally strenuous.
I quickly found out that hiking in Arkansas is easy to follow but heed the warnings. I hiked the entire weekend without trail maps. I have a tendency to get lost but the trails are clearly marked and they have signs at every split in the trail.
As a bonus, they have trail markers that tell you where you are on the trail. It was nice to have the peace of mind not ever being lost. I was making decisions on what path to take depending on what I wanted to see.
The hike itself was very strenuous and I had a great time getting to the summit. The only thing I did not like was that the trail was very crowded. This was the first time I had hiked on a trail that was this crowded. I usually see around ten people or less per hike. I saw around 100 people on this hike. It was hard to get pictures with all those people. I could not get a good one without people in the shot. I got to the summit and had such a feeling of accomplishment. I just wanted to yell but I would have scared the other twenty plus people already on the summit. I just soaked in the view took many pictures and headed back down the trail.
The pictures from the summit were nice but seeing it live was much better. I also got a little surprise on my way down the trail with a wish stump.
The hike was awesome and I need to get back to Arkansas and hike to some more summits.
The next blog is back at Lake Catherine SP for another summit.