January 20, 2014
Hike: Cedar Hills State Park – DORBA Trail, Cedar Hills, TX
Weather: cool, mid 50s, sunny
Length: 7.97 miles
This was my first solo hike. It is MLK Day and Court had to go to work, but I was off, so I decided to get a hike in. Hiking solo is definitely a different experience. You are out there alone with nature and your thoughts. My pace was quite a bit quicker too, roughly 3mph average, compared to our usual 2mph. I still prefer to hike with Court though. This trail was very pretty in January and I’m betting will be much better in the summer, but a lot hotter as well.
The trail winds through the woods and along Joe Pool Lake. It is also a bike trail, but it wasn’t too busy today. I saw 5 or 6 bikers, but no other hikers. It is very well marked, even though there are some silly signs along the way like Rattlesnake Alley and Poison Ivy Gulch that made me think of the old west town at Six Flags. I started at 9am with blue skies and the sun warmed me up pretty well about an hour into the hike. It was nice to do a loop trail, as the last few hikes have been out-and-backs. I prefer loops much more because everything you see is new.
At one point there were two orange barrels on the trail which I found out were supposed to actually show you where the trail turned, but there was another trail right next to them, and if you’re coming from the hiking direction (going against the biker traffic) there is no signage, so I got off trail for a quarter mile or so, but figured out my error and got back on track.
There wasn’t too much wildlife, but the end of the trail provided quite the encounter. Earlier on, I saw a quick cottontail and something reddish scampering away from the trail. I’m going to say it was a fox, because I want it to be a fox. About 50 feet from the trail head, at the very end of the hike, I was stopped dead in my tracks by a 4 foot long snake in the middle of the trail. I think it was just a rat snake (EDIT: upon further research, it looks like a Copperhead! Good thing I didn’t mess with him!), but it was quite startling. I went around him and he didn’t seem to mind. I guess he was just trying to get some warmth from the sun on a cool January day. Court would not have dealt with that real well. I am going to bring her out here next time though and maybe do the 12 mile trail.