Later this summer, John and I will be going to Jackson, Wyoming with my family. We are hoping to get in a lot of hiking in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone while we’re there, so we’ve begun a concerted effort to get ourselves in shape. We took advantage of the recent Memorial Day holiday to visit nearby Cleburne State Park, which neither of us had been to beforehand. At the entrance gate, we decided to invest in our hiking future by purchasing a 12-month Texas State Parks pass, and I’m looking forward to visiting as many of the state parks as possible in the coming months.
Going on the advice of my 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Dallas/Fort Worth book, we embarked upon the Spillway Hiking Trail after parking inside the park. We immediately noticed the smell of gas in the air, which would be one of two downsides to the park (the other being the unceasing noise from a neighboring lime quarry). Very quickly we came upon the three-level spillway built by the CCC in the 1930s, and a brief hike uphill afforded views of the small, spring-fed lake (as pictured above).
The Spillway Trail was challenging, but in a good way. The ups and downs were just the right length and degree of incline to get my heart rate up while not getting out of breath. The trail was often rocky, though, and hard underneath my feet. The picture below shows a typical portion of the trail:
The Spillway Trail led to the Coyote Run Trail, which began a large loop around the perimeter of the park. We enjoyed a variety of scenery during our trek, including this amusing scene in which a fence was failing to fulfill its destiny:
At another point, I spotted a fossil in the rock below:
On the Fossil Ridge Trail, we came across a park ranger puzzling over the removal of a fallen tree on the trail. We awkwardly climbed through the limbs, wished him luck, and continued on.
We had originally planned to complete the Camp Creek Loop before stopping for a picnic lunch, but John and I were both tuckered out and had grumbling tummies. We instead made a pit stop at the restroom (which had both tissue paper and soap!) and checked out a CCC-made stone bridge before heading back to our car. We drove a short distance down the park road before stopping at a picnic area by the water’s edge. We had earned our lunch, and then some. In fact, we discarded our plans to check out the fishing trails along the lake, and instead, we headed on to my parents’ house, where a swimming pool and shower access awaited us.
Looking back on the morning, I enjoyed our hike at Cleburne State Park, but I am not anxious to return. The hike was a good one, but the smells and sounds of the area detracted from my enjoyment of the park. I am inclined to try out the other state parks in the area before considering a return to Cleburne.