eagle mountain park

#hike26 - Santa Fe National Forest

Hike 26.jpg

Date: August 4, 2018

Location: Santa Fe National Forest - Cowles, NM

Distance:  5 miles

Trails: USFS Trail #288 - Cave Creek Trail


We took off Friday night to New Mexico to go hiking and camping for the weekend.  We arrived to the National Forest about 7am local time, found that our original campground was closed and moved on looking for somewhere new to go.  We found an out-of-the-way campsite at Panchuela Campground, set up, and took a nap.  About noon we set off on USFS Trail #288 (Cave Creek Trail) without a destination or any expectations.

The mountain views were amazing, the smell of pine so fresh, and the temperature quite tolerable.  In passing, some people told us about caves and I pulled up All Trails (which had downloaded the trails near me when I had service) and found that at about 2.5 miles there were some caves to explore.  The pictures don't do the caves justice, but here they are.


After feeling accomplished, and basking in the cool cave air and shade, we started the trek back, which didn't seem quite as laborious as the trek in.  My favorite thing about trails is seeing them from the other side.  Everything looked familiar, but different.

This is the second year we've ran away to New Mexico for a quick trip, and I think we'll do it again next year.  A longer trip would be nice, but we'll see.


  • I will always drive 10 hours to hike somewhere without NOISE.  I am thankful for trails in DFW metro, but hot damn this quiet/nature was a treat.
  • Give yourself plenty of time if you're not used to hiking at high altitude...there's no rush.
  • Wear a hat, bring water, apply sunblock, and apply bug repellent. (This stuff is great)
It was so dry and crispy, it felt like fall at some points along the trail.

#hike25 - Eagle Mountain Lake

Hike 25.jpg

Date: July 29, 2018

Location: Eagle Mountain Park - Fort Worth, TX

Distance:  7.58 miles

Trails: All major trails MAP


I had a late start for Hike 25, but that’s okay because I went anyway.  I took our dog out at 7:15 AM and it was a cool 82, but by the time I made it to the trailhead at 8:00 it was nearing 90.  Eagle Mountain Park is one of my local go-to hiking spots, so I knew exactly what to expect.  I normally just start out on the main trails, but today I felt like changing it up and going to the north, short trails first, in case it got too hot I’d have an out.  I did the trails, no big deal, but I was feeling heavy and tired.  I pushed through, to the south, main, trails and the temperatures continued to climb.  My fatigued feeling was really showing, as I slowed down and started to develop a bad attitude.

Today’s saving graces were a good lake breeze and plenty of shady spots along the trail.  At mile five I stopped to find my towel because there was so much sweat in my eyes and I also found a snack and thought it may help my fatigue – I’m not sure if it did or not, but it was tasty.  Skout bars have always been a favorite but the Oregon Blueberry Almond bar hit the spot.  Two guys came running by, and offered words of encouragement and with that, I carried on.  I felt refreshed from the break and reminded myself that it is not a race and it I’m not in any hurry.  I sipped my water and headed towards one of my favorite parts of the trail – the lakeshore.


As I followed the lakeshore, through shaded tunnels of trees, I started to feel more alive again.  It could’ve been the shade, the breeze, the flat trail or all of it but I wasn’t complaining.  I meandered around, and made my way back to the exposed, main trail that took me back up to the parking lot.  I was not thrilled about all of the sunshine, but I pushed through and made it to my Outback.  I blasted the AC, drank some icy cold water from my RTIC tumbler, and took off to home.  What-A-Day.

Tips for Hot Weather: (from my perspective)

  • Start out hydrated and hydrate as you go.
  • Take extra water!
  • Don’t push yourself too hard, a hot day is NOT the day to test your limits
  • Remember to rest and take a snack to help with lost nutrients
  • Eat before? Eat well the day before… don’t go on a completely empty stomach.

I got home from this hot, hot hike and had a big lunch with lots of water and then proceeded to nap for 3 hours.  I was drained, and still am!  Hot weather hikes are my least favorite, but working to make the best of what I have within my reach.  I hope you found yourself outside this weekend and made the most of it!  Happy trails.

It was so dry and crispy, it felt like fall at some points along the trail.

It was so dry and crispy, it felt like fall at some points along the trail.

#hike21 - Eagle Mountain Park

Date: June 23, 2018

Location: Eagle Mountain Park - Fort Worth, TX

Distance: 8.1 miles

Trails: River Trail

It's been a while since I've done a good, long hike.  I did 8 miles, a few trails twice, and enjoyed every minute of it.  It was under 80, low humidity, and very breezy.  The sun was hiding, so I didn't feel too hot, and I didn't need sunglasses at first.  My legs were jelly during the first mile, but after that I was good to go.  This hike was a good start to my summer hikes, that I dread, and I'm looking forward to more early morning excursions.  In the video, I said I was going to go the next day and I can report (it being the next day) that I didn't.  Not out of laziness or related to anxiety, but simply due to temperature and humidity being SO HIGH and gross.

A note about feeling inferior on the trail...  Just my own personal brand of crazy...

People don't have to make fun of you for you to feel inferior, mostly due to the years of believing you're not good enough. For me, it's because I endured years of bullying and being made fun of...I've always been chubby and not the most "masculine" guy.  On the trail, people who look fit, who wear the tight clothes or no clothes, can just trigger some insecurities within my brain despite them not doing or saying anything to me at all.  They could be the nicest person ever, but because of my insecurity and judgment from people who looked like them in the past, they're just the enemy.  My insecure brain automatically assumes they're judging my body or not smiling because they're disgusted.  I know, it's not right, or maybe it is, but it's where my brain goes and I'm working very had to not give a crap what people think and to feel better about myself. Trying to switch from the mindset that everyone is judging me to not giving a crap either way is the real challenge. Not worrying if your looks or actions fit in with everyone else is the key and also my biggest personal challenge.

Trying to balance exercise and diet should be easier, but it's not, and it's a struggle.  My biggest enemy, other than myself, is the weather.  I was lucky for this hike, with a nice breeze and below expected temps and humidity... but, most mornings are not so lucky.  I'm going to continue to fight my insecurities, learn to care less, but also learn to care more about myself, and move forward.  I hope you can find your strength if you're feeling insecure or offer support to those who need it out in the world.

Happy trails and if you want to join me, feel free to get in touch!

Can you spot the deer?  ALWAYS watching...

#hike14 - Eagle Mountain Park

Date: April 8, 2018

Location: Eagle Mountain Park - Fort Worth, TX

Distance: 8.3

Trails: All trails, some twice

Got up early on a Sunday morning to hit the trails.  I arrived at my go-to park at 7:40 AM to a nearly empty parking lot.  It was 35 degrees and overcast, so I figured that had something to do with the empty lot.  When the temp is below 40, I am happy.  I started on the north trails, just under 3 miles, and made my way to the south trails to round out the 8.  I love walking along the lake, the waves are calming plus there was a nice mist rising into the cool air.

I don't have much to say about this place, other than I just really enjoy going here.  The hills give me variety, and I challenged myself to run up the hills I encountered which proved to be rejuvenating.  Walking through the fresh foliage reminded me that it is indeed spring, and also that hot weather is on the way back.  New life in the forests helped me find peace and clear my head, so I highly recommend spring hikes for that purpose.

I hope you all have a great week ahead; happy trails!

#hike10 - Eagle Mountain Park

Date: March 17, 2018

Location: Eagle Mountain Park - Fort Worth, TX

Distance: 7.54 miles

Trails: All major trails

The new apartment is about 20 minutes closer to Eagle Mountain Park, which is good news because I LOVE hiking there and will likely make it my "go to" when I can't get somewhere more adventurous.  My other half and I arrived about 8:30 am and it was already packed.  We set out on the two northern trails before moving to the larger, southern loops.  The northern trails were a good start, with less people and more wildlife.  Once we made our way to the southern trails, we encountered more people, less wildlife, and I found myself wishing we lived in a remote town somewhere with nearby mountain trails.

Spring was in the air throughout the park, with buds and blooms at every turn.  Deer were feeding a few yards from the trail, and people were mostly in a good mood.  The lake was high and people were out fishing along the shoreline.  The morning was beautiful with partial sun, a light breeze, and somewhat warm temperatures.

Eagle Mountain Park - Takeaways from this hike

  • If you want to avoid crowds, get there before 7:30am (I've said this before, so I'll say it again)
  • Do all the trails to get between 7-8+ miles
  • Watch out for offshoot trails that deteriorate the landscape - STAY ON TRAIL.  It can be difficult to determine where to walk, because things are so far gone in places, so stick to the path most traveled.
  • See my post from a previous hike HERE

Happy trails everyone!

    #hike5 - Eagle Mountain Park


    Date: February 3, 2018

    Location: Eagle Mountain Park - Fort Worth, TX

    Distance: 5.5 miles

    Trails: All but purple and yellow, see this map for reference

    Eagle Mountain Park is one of the locations in Fort Worth that I don't mind revisiting, especially if the weekend doesn't allow for an out of town adventure.  My friend Nikki joined me for this hike and I was thankful to have someone along to chat with about nature, news, and pop culture.

    This was the fourth time I was at Eagle Mountain Park, located on the east side of Eagle Mountain Lake, and I was expecting a familiar route with my friend, but we were constantly distracted by things we hadn't noticed before.

    • Was that log always there?
    • DId you ever notice that forest area?
    • Was that tree always down?
    • OOH, deer!
    • Oh, look at that bird! What kind of bird is that?

    Rediscovering a familiar place is a treat and part of the reason these hikes are important to me.  As we walked, we kept discovering things that went under the radar before and reminded me that I need to slow down and be a bit more observant.  Nikki suggested we educate ourselves, so we are going to learn more about plant identification and various other information related to the ecology here in Texas.


    Things to know about Eagle Mountain Park

    • There are hills, they're not terrible, but they are there so be aware
    • The trails wander between wooded and wide open areas, so you can find shade in the summer but always plan ahead with a hat, sunscreen, and water
    • Take the shoreline trail - it's beautiful and you usually can catch a nice breeze
    • If you want to avoid crowds, get there before 7:30am

    This hike was especially refreshing, both mentally and physically, after a week of travel and getting back into the workflow.  I'm thankful for good friends, good talks, and slowing down and seeing the little things in a familiar place.  Happy trails!