TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Lake Mineral Wells

Truth is hubby was extremely nervous dropping me off for my trail run in Lake Mineral Wells State Park.  The plan was, my youngest and middle boys, nephew and sister-in-law along with my husband would dig for fossils about ten miles away, and I would meet them later IN Lake Mineral Wells. 

I felt a little insulted by hubby’s worry, I mean, really, Glen Rose was a fluke for me.  But I needed Glen Rose (Dinosaur Valley).  I learned A LOT.  So, while I still cringe a little when I think about Land of the Lost, I know that the experience did me good.  Still, that embarrassment and worry that my husband suddenly seems to posses about me running trails persists.  I imagined while driving into the ranger station at Lake Mineral Wells my photograph hanging on their wall – “Do not let this woman in your park.”

Their map seemed extremely straight forward – lots of equestrian trails, just ONE single track that I would take to some “primitive” campsites. I even stopped and talked to the ranger about the map.  She was a “tough cookie” with straight forward answers. 

Posing for hubby at trailheadSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

The trails were serene, shady, gorgeous, HOT, and downright humid.  I took the first half-mile of trail giddy, so delighted I was with the rugged terrain.  Boulders covered with greenish lichen littered the trails.  In some cases the boulders were laid out like a staircase. 

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Not a half mile in, this supposed ONE-TRAIL single-track system forked!  Okay, okay, I told myself, “Let’s learn where you’re at!”  So I ran one fork down until I came upon a huge boulder in the trail.  I thought that was a good landmark to turnaround and go back to the other fork.  There the trail climbed up rocky terrain to a series of wood signs with arrows!  Glory, glory!  You can be sure that’s the trail I ran. 

Soon the arrows ended and a web of trails began to branch off of the supposed ONE trail.  You can imagine my thoughts.  I took care to realize my every surroundings.  I memorized my footprint, often stomping into the dirt to refresh my memory what it looked like.  And at forks, I marked them with two horizontal branches (small ones that I broke apart) and then one pointing in the direction that I was running.  I studied the map closely before it deteriorated and counted the number of times I should cross an equestrian trail.

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I made it to the “primitive campgrounds” after crossing the appropriate number of equestrian trails, feeling very warm.  My temperature was only 1.1 degrees above normal.  I witnessed 2 White-Tail deer run by at surreal speeds, amazed that they didn’t smack into a tree.  I also crossed two bridges over dry creeks and did not see a single camper in this wilderness campground.  (Though on the way in, I saw a hiker with a hat and towel draped over his head and a backpack on his back).

Crossing bridge into “primitive campground”SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I can guess why no one was camped at this “primitive” campground.  It was no where near water, the creeks were dry.  And to hike food, tent, water, etc., would be a terrible burden in this summer heat. 

The campground was a double loop, kind of like rabbit ears.  And at one point on my run out of the campground, I found myself running in an area I didn’t recognize.  Quickly turning around, I fast came upon one of my markers at the side of the trail pointing the direction.  I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN WORKS.

I ran back to the trailhead feeling good about my direction, noticing many of the landmarks I had committed to memory, except for one portion.  This part of the trail had no lake view (which is an awesome direction marker) so I searched the floor for my footprints going in the other direction and quickly found them.  Off in the distance, two more White-Tail deer ran through the forest at crazy speeds.  And off I ran, all the way to the trailhead, where I ran along the road, across the damn and to the “beach” where my family was swimming after fossil digging.  I was so dang hot, I took my shorts off right on the beach and quickly pulled on a pair of “board shorts”.  Yanking off my pack, hat and garmin I swiftly made it across the burning sand into the lake. 

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A lovely, successful run.

Miles logged today:  7.10

Elevation Profile:Mineral Wells State Park 7-11-2011, Elevation - Distance

9 comments:

  1. That looks like super fun. Lovely place to run. I love it when I'm in the bush with no other humans anywhere. I often stop to listen to the sounds of nature with no human made noises to interfere. Great job in the heat again!

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  2. That looks lovely! I don't know how you're running in that TX humidity :D

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  3. Texas seems to have a lot of good trails to run! Glad you are enjoying them! How do you know your body temp? Do you have a gadget that gives you that info?

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  4. Sounds like an adventure, both physical and mental.
    You know, with all those pictures that you take, you could always take a picture of landmarks and double check it on your camera later if you get turned around. But the sticks are a great idea.

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  5. Thanks Johann. The sounds of nature are truly lovely. For much of this run, I took off the headphones.

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  6. Thanks Giraffy. It's definitely difficult, I'm just forcing myself through it : )

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  7. There are a lot of trails Kate. And I'm sure I've only touched the surface. I just use a regular digital temperature to take my temp. Even though they read a little low, I just count whatever it reads originally as "normal."

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  8. Windnsnow -- sometimes the obvious stares me right in the face and I don't see it. Of course, the camera!!! LOL.

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