#hike28 - Santa Fe National Forest

Location: Holy Ghost Campground & trail area - Santa Fe National Forest Distance: ~2-3 miles

Date: July 15, 2017

Info via USFS website

On a whim, we decided that Santa Fe National Forest was the place to go for the weekend.  We (my other half and I) had been toying with the idea of going somewhere to escape the annoying Texas heat, but had no concrete plans until Friday night.  We went to Target and bought supplies, pulled the gear out of the closet, packed the car, and took a nap.  Waking around midnight, I packed the cooler and we were off towards New Mexico!

We arrived around 10 am to the area, with a campground arrival around 10:30.  We took the last open spot, met our neighbors, and set up camp.  The site was open, sunny, and protected on the west side by a hill and tall trees.  The campground was in a valley of sorts with tall firs and a mountain creek that could be heard from the tent.

There are two trails - Trail 283-A and 283.  We attempted 283-A, but only went about a mile overall in and out.  It was steep and we were exhausted from driving through the night.  We napped.  Later that evening, we walked down the road a bit and eventually made our way up to the group camping site and the trailhead for 283.  We took that, crossed the creek, and it was a very promising trail until the rain got heavier.  We eventually turned around and headed back to the site.  We got back to the tent just in time for heavy rains that lasted the next hour.

This wasn't the longest hike, but it was bits and pieces of greatness.  I will be back to explore this place further.  Hike #28 lived up to the ideas behind this challenge - to get out, to hike, to clear my head, and to enjoy life.  There are a number of trails and campgrounds throughout the Santa Fe National Forest, and surrounding forests, that I feel I could go here once a month and see something new for a long time.

A little list. (updated 4 Jan 2017)

This is a working list of locations I'm considering for the 52 Hike Challenge.  As it stands, I know there will be weekends that I will not be able to leave too far out of town and thus I'm sure some of the local areas will get reused.  I'm hoping to take advantage of holiday weekends and my vacations to Alaska, Minnesota, and Michigan that are already on the calendar for 2017.  If I could teleport, this would be so much easier.  If anyone in DFW is interested in going to any of these locations, get in touch somehow.  

Hiking Ideas for 52 Hikes with Mike – 2017

  1. Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge - Texas
  2. Lake Murray State Park – Oklahoma
  3. Tyler State Park – Texas
  4. Davey Crockett National Forest – Texas
  5. Cleburne State Park – Texas
  6. Dinosaur Valley State Park – Texas
  7. Cedar Hill State Park – Texas
  8. Garner State Park – Texas
  9. Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway – Texas
  10. Possum Kingdom Lake State Park – Texas
  11. Caprock Canyons State Park – Texas
  12. Palo Duro Canyon State Park – Texas
  13. Monahans Sandhills State Park – Texas
  14. Guadalupe Mountains National Park – Texas
  15. Carlsbad Caverns National Park – New Mexico
  16. Big Bend National Park – Texas
  17. Big Bend Ranch State Park – Texas
  18. Enchanted Rock State Park – Texas
  19. Garner State Park – Texas
  20. Lost Maples State Natural Area – Texas
  21. Padre Island National Seashore – Texas
  22. Pedernales Falls State Park – Texas
  23. Angelina National Forest – Texas
  24. Herman Vogler Conservation Area – Michigan
  25. Lake Tawakoni State Park – Texas
  26. Daingerfield State Park – Texas
  27. Besser Natural Area – Michigan
  28. Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Michigan
  29. McFarland Lake – Minnesota
  30. Denali State & National Parks – Alaska
  31. Chugach National Forest – Alaska
  32. Ozark National Forest – Arkansas
  33. Eagle Mountain Park - Texas
  34. Bandelier National Monument - New Mexico
  35. Guadalupe River State Park - Texas (dog friendly)
  36. Hill Country Natural Area - Texas (dog friendly)
  37. Cedar Ridge Preserve - Texas (dog friendly)
  38. Grapevine Lake - Texas (dog friendly)
  39. Inks Lake State Park - Texas (dog friendly)
  40. Franklin Mountains State Park - Texas (dog friendly)

Ozark National Forest - Preview Hike

It's almost December and I have the next year of hikes on my brain.  Over the weekend, my better half and I went to the Ozark National Forest to get a hike in and get some fresh air.  A few takeaways from this trip were:

  1. Planning ahead is essential.  Basic concept that is easily overlooked.  I didn't quite investigate the hiking terrain or comments about the particular hike we were going to do and it is just very clear that I should learn a bit more about spots on the schedule for 2017.
  2. Proper attire and footwear is the most important.  Again, a basic concept that I overlooked because I did not investigate the trail enough.  For some reason, I had it in my head that it was a paved path or at least a dirt path and that my street shoes would do the such luck.
  3. Having an offline map or physical map is highly recommended.  I was fortunate enough to have the trail on my phone, so we could ensure we were on the correct path (as there were splits in the woods) going forward.  In the future, I will probably use AllTrails or some other app or print a map if it is available online.
  4. Hydration is key to feeling good.  I planned ahead with water, but didn't research the trail enough to know I should have taken it with us.  All was well, luckily.
  5. I learned how to hike with my dog.  Chewy the dog has been in the woods and on trails before, but never like this.  He was a champ and let me know what he was okay with and what he was capable of handling.  For a dog afraid of bridges and stairs, sometimes, he was certainly not afraid of cliff-like rock edges.  Go figure.
  6. I've come to terms with the fact that I will be driving anywhere from 1-8 hours to go hiking and I may not spend an equal amount of time in the woods/on the trails.


Friday morning we decided to go somewhere for the weekend and get outside.  We contemplated going to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Ozark National Forest, or maybe a park near San Antonio.  We decided on the forest because we wanted cool weather and crisp air.  I had read about a waterfall called Glory Hole Falls, I giggled too, and thought it looked quite neat.  Of course, every photo I found was probably taken in the peak of spring water flow or something, so the reality was a bit different but equally beautiful.  The trail is about 1.8 miles each way with a 430 ft elevation change.  The air smelled of fall, the leaves were on the ground, it was sunny, and the temperature was hovering around 50 degrees.  Here are a few photos:


Hopefully a few more "preview" hikes to come, as I schedule the first month.


Happy hiking! -Mike