Category Archives: Travel

Cannon Beach in the Springtime

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Looking south from Tolovana Beach

On any weekend with good weather, Cannon Beach tends to be swarmed by tourists, yet the area scenery is always peaceful and soothing.  The ocean itself feels like an endless well of calm and inspiration.  I enjoy staring at the shifting swells and breaking waves, the combination of scenery and the audible whish and splash of waves and the calls of seabirds making a truly unique spectacle.  Westward lies a range of possibilities.  Back in reality, I wanted to take a few modest walks right there, on the sand and in the forest.   The weather even cooperated surprising for the Oregon Coast in early spring.

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Calling Thailand, are you out there?

We rented a cottage near the beach and a quick walk showed an awesome sunset on display.  Inhale that marine air!   The next day, after hanging out with family for a few hours, I wanted to find a nearby hike and avoid repeating earlier endeavors.  Once again, the internet was my friend. A quick search found a state park I didn’t know.

 

Multiple sites refer to Haystack Hill State Park, but I find no mention of it on the Oregon State Parks web page.  Regardless, Haystack Hill is located roughly midway through Cannon Beach, climbing to a highpoint I’d previously missed.  The acreage was supposedly donated to the state for preservation, and there has been no development beyond an unsigned trail which climbs the quarter mile to the top of the hill, then splits in a couple directions. I found a few unique views looking down on famous Haystack Rock. I also enjoyed some awesome trees and lush ground cover.  What a great find.

Bend Trip Part Two: Smith Rock

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The drier side of Oregon

Smith Rock is one of those places where one’s attention is drawn to a few spots, while missing many of the gems in the park.   Famous as a rock climbing destination for decades, Smith is a place touched by outdoor magic. It’s why I moved to nearby Bend when I was 19.  That stay didn’t last long, but over the years, I continued visiting Smith regularly until the past decade.  When I drove to the park last Saturday, I wanted a different experience.  I went not as a climber but a simple hiker who likes to avoid the crowds.  And crowds there were.  Parking was a minor adventure.  The regular lots were full before 10 a.m.  Of course, it was the first really nice day in weeks, which happened to coincide with the beginning of Oregon’s spring break.   Once I got my parking spot and bought a day pass, I geared up and hiked to the river crossing below the massive Picnic Lunch Wall. Unlike most people,  I turned upstream at the junction there.  I was headed toward Staender Ridge and the Marsupial Crags.  It was a part of the park I’d never visited.

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The cliffs are stupendous, and while not all crags are appealing for climbers, the overall setting is stunning.  Partway up the ridge, there was the dry gulch of an old canal stemming from the 1940s. Above that, the Marsupial Crags beckoned a few climbers. They certainly looked worthy of the longer approach hike. I continued up the road to the saddle, and found myself sweating.  It was fascinating to skirt behind cliffs I’d seen so many times from below, now looking way down on the popular climbing areas.  Everything seemed less consequential from that height.

Leaving the saddle, I took the Summit Trail along the backside of the cliffs, heading west.  Memories of youthful climbing exploits washed over my mind as I soaked in the views of distant peaks. The South Sister, Middle Sister, Mount Jefferson.  There had been so many memorable climbs at Smith itself, including the time I broke my leg.  Now my joints creak when I hike a stiff hill.  All around me, amazing cliffs, crags, and spires in a variety of hues. I could have gawked for hours.  The trail descends in switchbacks through sage and juniper draped slopes, crossing through private land as the grade tapered, then turned to parallel the Crooked River, heading back upstream.  In moments, the famous Monkey Face was visible-okay, the back of the monkey’s head.

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As I passed a series of minor cliffs, the views of Monkey Face improved, and I could hear a group of climbers hundreds of feet up as they negotiated the final pitch of a route.  Right at the northwest base of the tower, the river trail intersected with the Misery Ridge Trail, and the crowds grew almost exponentially, a mix of climbers and tourists who didn’t even look prepared to hike. I sauntered past Mesa Verde wall and Spiderman Buttress to the notch where climbers cross the rocky ridge in a shortcut which bypasses a mile of trail where the river does a sharp bend, cliffs soaring above it.  Scrambling over Asterisk Pass never bothered me when I was in my twenties, but now, years later, I had to hesitate before climbing over it.  It is not for everyone. Once I crossed, I was looking at the heart of the Smith, the other crags that made it famous: the Christian Brothers, the Dihedrals, and Morning Glory Wall.  Climbers were everywhere.  I’d never seen such crowds.   Call it sour grapes, but it took away a little bit of the mystique the place used to hold for me.  Okay, not much.  I had seen way too many cool things in a a few hours.  But don’t listen to me.  Just ask the climbers.  Or the geese.

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A few Canada Geese perched on rocks as if guarding the area

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Looking down from Asterisk Pass after I’d crossed back over.  

Even if I can’t do all the same things I did twenty years ago, Smith is an awesome place to visit.  I recommend it to any Pacific Northwest visitors who love the outdoors. Get there early if the weather is nice, or plan on parking far away.  I hope I’ll return soon.

 

Bullet the Blue Sky Over Joshua Tree (and a whole lotta rocks going on)

Driving in to the park. My tree forest...

Driving in to the park. “My” tree forest…

Since I first heard of Joshua Tree National Park in the eighties, I have wanted to visit there.  Well, duh, it’s my name, I love to climb rocks, and U2 was one of my favorite bands in the mid 80s when they came out with their breakthrough Joshua Tree CD.  It seemed a destination carved in the stars.  Why it took me decades to get there is one of the many mysteries of my life, but I finally went there last week with my wife and our dog, Jackie Chan.  I was not disappointed.

Love the scraggly tree atop the gorgeous rocks beneath the blue sky

Love the scraggly tree atop the gorgeous rocks beneath the blue sky

J Tree, as many climbers call it, features the boundary of two great deserts, the Mojave and the Sonoran.  The first is relatively high in elevation and features the park’s namesake trees.  We approached from the north after gaining a significant amount of elevation on the road through Yucca Valley.  I wanted to smile when I started seeing Joshua Trees, AKA yucca brevifolia.  The rocks were not yet dramatic, but finally the outcroppings popped up more and more often until their rounded granite domes and crags seemed ubiquitous.  We stopped at a picnic area for a first taste of the rocks, and then we made our way to the famed Hidden Valley area, so named because supposed rustlers a century ago or more would hide their stolen beasts amid the chaotic jumble of rock which would deter most people from finding them.

Denise and Jackie walking in the Hidden Valley

Denise and Jackie walking in the Hidden Valley

We started seeing climbers carefully scaling a few of the crags, rope snaking upwards, and I was nostalgic for my climbing days.  Scrambling sans rope on a small boulder is fun, but it does not produce the same thrill as climbing a vertical face 80 feet high.  Ah, well.  The trail was a loop winding around the interior of the so-called valley.  After a while, it became very difficult to orient myself.  There were hundreds if not thousands of house sized rocks to pass.  Luckily, the path was easy to follow, and the sun was out, gloriously warm.  I was actually surprised at how few climbers we saw, but I guess it’s an odd time of year for some people.  March through May might be prime time.

So much for water: Barker Dam

Yes, there is water behind Barker Dam, but the dark bathtub ring shows how much higher it once was

After leaving Hidden Valley, we drove nearby to the Barker Dam trail, where locals augmented a natural water source with a dam to save water for their cattle in the early 20th century.  The trail was similar to Hidden Valley, but more wide open in spots.  On the return leg, we encountered a rock with petroglyphs.  Unfortunately, some movie studio geniuses marred the images by painting over them to make them more visible.

The petroglyph rock.  Can you see them?

The petroglyph rock. Can you see them?

At this point, we had done enough hiking for while, and I thought driving to Key’s Point, the highest point in the park, would be a nice change of pace.  On the way up, we saw some great stands of Joshua Trees.

On the way to Key's Point

Somewhere between the Barker Dam trailhead and the road to Key’s Point

The golden rocks faded away.  The land sloped upward.  On top, there was a big parking lot with a dozen or more vehicles.  The views from the short paved path were stunning.  Rumpled brown ridges fell away in all directions to the low desert and the Salton Sea beyond.  Dozens of people milled about, gawking and talking, pointing at views and posing for photos.

Looking over a wrinkle world from Key's Point

Looking over a wrinkled world from Key’s Point

We drove away from Key’s Point, already amazed the by scale of Joshua Tree.  I could spend days here hiking and scrambling and working on a tan.  Unfortunately, that was not in the cards for this trip, but we weren’t done yet.  There would be more to come.  Tune in next time for more images and tales about Joshua Tree National Park.

Looking towards Salton Sea, you can almost see forever

Looking towards Salton Sea, you can almost see forever

A Short Hike to Wind Rock, Virginia

Wind Rock, Virginia

While enjoying a getaway with my mother and sisters at Mountain Lake in Virginia, we solicited advice about casual hikes. A helpful young woman in the recreation office at Mountain Lake Hotel told us about trails to War Spur and Wind Rock, both of which are located north of Mountain Lake off a gravel road. We chose Wind Rock, both for its easy access and its tremendous views. Besides, it’s on the Appalachian Trail. So my mom hiked on the AT on her 80th birthday. Not bad.

The trail climbs through a deciduous forest full of colorful leaves to a viewpoint about .4 miles from the road. Once we got there, we scrambled out on the rocks, which drop off precipitously, and enjoyed the vistas of long ridges and deep valleys. On our descent, we met a man from Michigan section hiking the AT.  I was a tad jealous. I commented that it seemed like a good time of year to hike, with cooler temps, but he said that water was harder to come by, so he had to hike further each day to ensure a new supply. Food for thought.

I would recommend the Wind Rock hike to any people in the area who want maximum payoff for minimal effort.

Eureka! From A Castle To The Redwoods And Points North

It's tough to keep up with the Joneses in the Napa Valley

It’s tough to keep up with the Joneses in the Napa Valley

As soon as we passed the sign for a castle, Denise spoke excitedly  I knew nothing of it, but she’d read all about it.  U-turn required.  I was hesitant, as I knew we had many miles to go before sleep, but I had to admit, the prospect of a castle was interesting.  I didn’t know what to expect.  Soon enough we saw what looked like a genuine medieval castle.

The castle was built over a 30 year period

The castle was built over a 30 year period

The owner is a successful vintner who wanted to duplicate a Tuscan castle of the sort that might have been built eight centuries earlier.   Castello di Amorosa fulfilled his dreams. Denise and I wandered the grounds in the heat of the day, sweating while admiring the towers, the drawbridge, the sheep grazing, and of course the grapes growing on the grounds.  Apparently the castle is authentic down to its torture chamber.

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The original lawnmowers

Back on the road, we connected to Highway 101 and the headed for the heart of Redwood Country.  A scenic road called Avenue of the Giants offers many stops for walking among the trees.  We’d already done the famous drive-through-tree a decade earlier, but we did check out the Chimney Tree, a  quick stop on the side of the road where both of us and our dog easily fit in the hollow tree.

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Odd for all of us to easily fit inside the core of an old tree.

Odd for all of us to easily fit inside the core of an old tree.

Later, we stopped at two groves of trees with trails just off the road.  The scale of these living giants is truly awesome at times, so it was pleasant to wander on the trails among them.

I am dwarfed by this redwood

Feeling dwarfed by this redwood

The first grove had no other hikers, so the serenity was tremendous until we neared a forest road where work of some sort was going on with heavy equipment.

Looking up into the forest canopy

Looking up into the forest canopy

Further north, we stopped at the Founder’s Grove, so named for the spot where a group of redwood conservationists began their group.

Massive does not begin to suffice as a descriptor

Massive and gnarled

The area was beautiful, although the tour bus hordes were off-putting a tad bit.  I found it curious how many people walked around with their electronic tablets to snap photos.  The devices when held up almost looked like medieval shields.  I still prefer my camera.  Now if I could just avoid dropping it….

Just another opportunity to compare human versus tree

The scale amazed me here

Later, we reached the coast at Eureka, where the temperature was almost twenty degrees cooler than it had been in Napa.  Perfect.  We had a very nice dinner at a combined Japanese-Italian restaurant on the bay.

On the boardwalk

Instrumental duo jamming on the Eureka boardwalk, the restaurant right behind them

Later we strolled along crowded sidewalks in the city’s monthly first Saturday artwalk.   Musicians were everywhere, and giddy teenagers seemed to be savoring perhaps the last great Saturday evening of the summer.  I could relate.  There wasn’t one big hike that day, but I was still tired in a good way.

This group did a great version of "Miserlou".

This group did a great version of “Misirlou”.

Petroglyph National Monument: A Toasty Stroll

Petroglyph National monument

Entrance to Rinconada Canyon

Petroglyph National Monument is a low key destination.   It lies on the western edge of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a visitors center and four separate areas to explore: Rinconada Canyon, Boca Negra Canyon, Piedras Maracadas,  and Volcanoes.   The latter does not actually have any petroglyphs, but hey, three volcanoes!

Kilroy was here

Kilroy was here, perhaps?

Rinconada Canyon, with a parking lot just off Unser Blvd NW a couple miles north of I-40, seemed the most convenient spot for a walkabout. There is a decent bathroom at the parking lot, and a barrier prevented vehicles from going on the trail.   Right away, the heat makes itself known, as if to say, “Hello, pale people from the north; I will toast you now.”  We slather on sunscreen and tote water.   I wish I had a hat.

Looking back toward the parking area

Looking back toward the parking area

The canyon is really more of a vee-shaped plain, gently sloping, with ramparts on the outer edge of the vee covered in basalt boulders.  Cacti and sage and broken glass dot the flatter land.  Apparently locals formerly used Rinconada Canyon for target shooting before the area was protected.

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Hot hot hot: D and Jackie Chan following

Denise and Jackie Chan the wonderdog do an about face after about half a mile when they realizes the pictures are mostly similar same, and it’s getting bloody hot.  I can’t blame them, but I soldier on for a bit.   One smart hiker carries an umbrella as sun shield.   There is certainly no respite from the sun, and there is no water on the trail.

Larger than most of the images

Larger than most of the imagesiveivel

The trail hugs the right slope near the rocks.  Petroglyphs seem to come in clumps on large rocks in little alcoves at the base of the canyon walls..   Mostly the images are simple and relatively small, such as dessert-plate sized birds, human faces, and deer.  Scientists do not know exactly what all if the petroglyphs mean, but it is interesting to speculate.

Don't come barefoot.  Only cacti thrive here

Don’t come barefoot. Only cacti thrive here!

Rinconada Canyon offers a harsh landscape for hikers, but one worth visiting for its geologic and human history.  Consider going in the cooler hours of  the day.

Some of the images are hard to decipher

Some of the images are hard to decipher.  Sun? Centipede? Who knows?

Paw Paw and a different Cumberland Gap

I’d never heard of Cumberland, Maryland.  Like many, at first I confused it with the famous Cumberland Gap to the south, where in 1775, Daniel Boone helped build a road for settlers to what was considered the western frontier of Kentucky and Tennessee.  In 2013, this Cumberland is poised as a potential great vacation spot.

Cumberland is a city of spires

Cumberland is a city of spires

It’s situated amid historic buildings, with good restaurants, and lovely scenery.

Washington's Headquarters from French and Indian War era

Washington’s Headquarters from French and Indian War era

When my family decided to meet in Cumberland for a mini family reunion, a few spots kept coming up in our research, including Rocky Gap State Park, George Washington’s headquarters (a tiny cabin from his early days), the Western Maryland Railroad, the Allegany Museum, and the C&O Canal, including the Paw Paw Tunnel.   We target the latter as a spot for a family hike.

Jackie Chan at the mouth of the tunnel

Jackie Chan at the mouth of the tunnel

The Paw Paw Tunnel is a part of the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal system, which runs 184.5 miles to Washington D.C.   Paw Paw is a 3118 foot long tunnel blasted through the mountain.  Construction on it began in 1836, and it was one of the great engineering feats of its day.   Since it is essentially flat, the trail is popular with cyclists as well as hikers.  Don’t expect solitude, but expect some unique sights.The route toward the Paw Paw Tunnel Trail heads south out of Cumberland along the Potomac River, then heads east.   The winding drive along Route 51 is pleasant, but the destination was easy to miss, as signage was not great.  A Boy Scout troop was camped in a field beside the trailhead, but there were few people on the trail initially.

Nearing the tunnel on a gorgeous day

Nearing the tunnel on a gorgeous day

It was muggy at the trailhead and there were some concerns about how far the hike would be for my mother, who is a few years past her mountaineering prime.  A sign at the top of the initial hill indicated the tunnel was 0.6miles away.   Research told me that the tunnel itself would double the distance.   Piece of cake.   If it were closer to Washington, like the area of my previous two posts, it would be a perfect candidate for Hiking Along, a site that helps kids.  They focus on hikes and outdoor education in the D.C. area.

The near end of the tunnel

The near end of the tunnel: note the trail splitting off to the right.

A couple caveats:  Beware of puddles and slightly bumpy terrain in a very dark environment.  Some people managed without, but a flashlight is highly recommended.

Picture yourself on a barge to the left of the railing

Picture yourself on a barge in the canal to the left of the railing

One nice middle aged couple we met did not have a light, and they were about to turn around a few hundred feet in when they encountered puddles.  We loaned them a light so they continued.   On entering the tunnel, it is hard to believe that the light at the other end of the straight tunnel is 3000 feet way.  Ten minutes into the dark traverse, you’ll start believing.

Jackie Chan and his mama

Jackie Chan and his mama

We’d heard there were bats in the tunnel, but encountered none.   I was slightly disappointed, but I think everyone else was happy.

The far end of the tunnel

The far end of the tunnel

Cool turtle just past the far end of the tunnel

Cool turtle just past the far end of the tunnel

At the far end, there are rocky slabs that create a small canyon that would not be out of place in the foothills of the Rockies. We relaxed there for fifteen minutes or so, taking photos before returning, passing much more traffic on the way back.

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This would be awesome on a bike!

My mom loved this hike, I got to appreciate some history while walking, and I even saw youngsters enjoying it on foot as well as on two wheels.  This is a great family hike, and the path has many more miles to recommend it, even starting in downtown Cumberland.    We might have to return!

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Denise, Jackie Chan, and I ready for the return hike– and  lunch at the Crabby Pig.  🙂

Patuxent Research Refuge Ramble

While visiting the East Coast, I found time to get out and stretch my legs.   This spot in Laurel, Maryland, just miles from the D.C. Beltway, is a great spot for a mellow hike with big rewards.  Go early to void the humidity, and beware of ticks.  Jackie Chan the wonderdog found out about them the hard way, despite being on leash the entire time.IMG_6531

Interestingly, the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge, established in 1936 by President or Roosevelt, is the only “National Wildlife Refuge established to support wildlife research.”  For some reason, the U.S. Geological Survey does most of the research now.  Whatever works.

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I’d heard there were hiking trails, but I didn’t know where to start.  My internal compass had me follow a sign to the South Tract and the parking lot for the visitor’s center.  I wasn’t sure if Jackie would be allowed, so my expectations were low as I drove through the gate.  I also was prepared to pay an entrance fee, but it was free.  Hard to grumble about taxes at times like that.

Cool bark

Cool bark

The visitor center had ample parking. The day was quite sunny and already close to 80 degrees, so I found a semi-shady spot.   As I got Jackie out of the car, I noticed a trail starting not fifty feet away, right on the edge of the entrance drive.  It had brochures and maps (with scannable bar code option) at a small kiosk .  The Fire Road Trail led through a flat forest of deciduous trees and little undergrowth, although there were some berry bushes by the trail.

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I had flashbacks to hiking in the Adirondacks, but this was too flat to truly compare.  The trail wanders between the entrance road and the exit road, crossing the latter after half a mile. It then goes into the woods and crosses an old powerline road, soon reaching a junction at the Valley Trail and the Laurel Trail.  Jackie loved all of this section,. sniffing away and checking out the sounds of the forest.

Jackie searching the source of bird noise or squirrel chirp

Jackie Chan searching the source of bird noise or squirrel chirp

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I appreciate the excellent signage

It’s possible to follow the Laurel Trail to Goose Pond and beyond it, the visitors center.   A longer route along the Valley Trail heads to the end of nearby Cash Lake, where at least one heron was hanging out on a piling, and red winged blackbirds sang in the marsh grasses.  The sun was high and sweat was rolling.

Bridge by end of Cash Lake

Bridge by end of Cash Lake

A few fishermen were at the foot of Cash Lake, where there is a fishing pier and access to the shore on the far side.  The far end of the pier is accessible by car or truck.  The trail continues on the far side of the lake, but it has seasonal closures for bird nesting, and it was closed when I was there.

Cash Lake

Cash Lake

The return leg along the northern part of the lake also closes a nice loop, eventually meeting the Goose Pond trail and emerging right near the visitor center, across the parking lot from our start.

The fishing pier

The fishing pier

A large group of Canada Geese were slowly swimming through some Monet-invoking water lilies.   At first they’d seemed to be in stealth mode.  I counted at least 70 geese.

Monet, anyone?

Monet, anyone?

Spy geese...

A few of the spy geese…

There were a couple nice spots to observe birds, the water, as well as the flora in the area.

Along the edge of Cash Lake on the way back.

Along the edge of Cash Lake on the way back

All told, I hiked around three miles, and it was well worth the time.  I had to spend some time pulling ticks off Jackie and research Lyme Disease (almost unheard of in the Northwest), but I would still highly recommend the Patuxent Research Refuge for a casual hike.  With more time and fewer ticks, the visitor center would surely have been a great complement to the hike.

New Mexican Memory

I’ve recently heard multiple people discussing New Mexico, and it reminded  me of our 2011 trip there.  I thought I’d throw a couple photos up that are mere teases of what is available in the southern part of the state. We started in Las Cruces, which was a great little city, then meandered to Alamagordo via White Sands, and finally up to the mountain haven of Ruidoso.   I hope to return when I have more time.  Until then, a few photos.

The fabulous Organ Mountains east of Las Cruces.

The fabulous Organ Mountains east of Las Cruces.

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White Sands. And this was the less dramatic area.

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Hiking near the ski area above Ruidoso. This is the area where Smokey the Bear came from.

Headed back to El Paso, we found a nice spot for a hike.

Headed back to El Paso, we found a nice spot for a hike.  Hot and dry.

Eisenhower Park combo hike

I am now back from a spring break sojourn to the Lone Star State, and I did get out and walk around a bit.

San Antonio Riverwalk

Riverwalk tourist boats are actually a great deal

After a few days of touristing, I really wanted to get out of the city and go for a hike.  A web search or two later, and I found two likely spots north and west of the city in Government Canyon State Natural Area and Eisenhower Park.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but the temperature was only in the high sixties, and no rain was expected, so I needed little gear.   I dropped our pup off at doggie day care (Lucy’s) as I wasn’t sure if it’d be acceptable to have him on these trails.  Jackie likes to hike, but he loves time with his canine peers even more, so it was an easy choice.

I had a slightly disastrous start to the outing.  After taking an overly long route to the area courtesy of phone mapping, I arrived at the park only to find it was closed. It is only open Friday through Monday.  Oh well.  There went some gas.  So I headed east to Eisenhower Park, a smaller park adjacent to an army base north of the city.

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As soon as I found the trails, I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.   Prickly pear cacti and immaculate signage lurked in strange corners.   The map showed a collection of trails that could be connected.   I set out to link up the Hillview, Yucca, Cedar Flats, and Red Oak Trails.  Sound confusing?  It wasn’t too bad. I just kept strolling along, enjoying a Texas Hill Country environment very different than the Cascadian climes to which I am so accustomed.

I kept trying to figure out which tree was mesquite (don’t know) and what was that cool spikey plant (yucca)  I also kept flashing on snippets of western films.  Josey Wales, for example.   I could see Clint riding through this terrain, looking cool as hell.   Then there were the bat houses built on poles in a clearing. That was unique.

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I continued to a high point where there was a an observation tower. I was slightly disappointed to find a parks worker able to drive all the way up on a paved path.  Planes flying over every five minutes or so had already clued me in that this was not a wilderness experience.  The view from the top was decent, if not amazing, but the best was yet to come.

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Dropping off the backside of the hills, the trail got decidedly rockier, and quieter.  No more paved path.  I opted for the Red Oak Trail as loop.  The woods were lovely with more unique features.

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At one point the trail got fairly steep, and I actually had to be careful as I walked down some patches of limestone. Mostly I cruised along and enjoyed a peaceful hike.

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There was a lot of descending, but this was a loop, so guess what, I had to climb back up to the top of the ridge and rejoin the Hillview trail, where I got views again, and also spied the serious fence separating the park from the adjoining military base.

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After I started heading down again, I started passing other hikers.  Some seemed very out of shape and ill prepared, but others seemed like they were ready for anything.  Eisenhower Park certainly has a range of terrain and trail types.  If I lived in the San Antonio area, I am sure I would visit it regularly.  For now, this would have to do.  All told, I hiked just over an hour, but I could have stretched it out to twice that time quite happily.   There were a number of different ecosystems, with wide open clearings, relatively dense deciduous woods, and rocky gullies.  I’d recommend the area to any hiker who can deal with an occasional steep spot.  If you aren’t ready for that, stay on the Cedar Flats trail.

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If you want more information, some of the signs give a ridiculous amount of info on the trails.   Somebody has too much time on their hands, and it isn’t me.  Hey, I’m probably just jealous that I hadn’t thought to analyze the trail’s average cross slope.  Silly me.