To celebrate having a lower weekend work load than usual (this coming week is the final one of the school year), John and I escaped the house on Saturday and explored the Fort Worth Nature Center for the first time. The recommended trail from my 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Dallas/Fort Worth book was Canyon Ridge, a 3.25 mile (one way) stretch of trail with scenic views of Lake Worth. Rated as difficult, Canyon Ridge would be a good test of our fitness levels one month out from our Wyoming hikes.
The trail was well-marked, with regular trail markers such as the one below:
The yucca symbol on the Canyon Ridge trail markers was apt, as yucca abounded throughout the surrounding landscape. I caught this particular yucca in bloom:
We experienced a variety of scenery on Canyon Ridge. Much of the early portion of the trail was up and down, through dense trees and shrubs. We passed a few other hikers on the trail, but for the most part it was just us, nature-up-close, scenic stair-steps (see the top photograph), and (unfortunately) the sound of cars passing on nearby Jacksboro Highway.
The nature center has ties back to the CCC, and the remnants of several stone CCC-built structures remain along the trail. First we came to the CCC latrines, so I (of course) had to snap John’s photo in front of them:
We then very quickly arrived at the CCC Rest-a-While structure, which afforded a nice view of the lake below:
After Rest-a-While, the trail headed further away from the lake, and the dense foliage opened up to more grasses and low shrubs. We were thankful for more of a breeze, as the day was warm and extremely humid. By this point, we were shiny with sweat:
We hiked from one end of Canyon Ridge to the other, but instead of turning around and hiking back the same way we had come, we headed back south on a short leg of the Riverbottom Trail, which included the following cool-but-slightly-eerie patch of bare trees:
The Riverbottom Trail then met back up with the nature center’s paved Shoreline Drive, which we walked down to get back to the parking lot. If Canyon Ridge was our Wyoming test, then we passed – barely. Neither of us felt up to hiking it twice in one day, and we were grateful for the flat park road. After reaching the parking lot, we pulled out our picnic lunch from the car and enjoyed (apart from ducking a persistent wasp) a repast at the nearby picnic tables.
After lunch, our curiosity led us to the nearby Greer Island trail, which crossed a levee and criss-crossed Greer Island. Dark clouds had come up while we were eating, so the overcast skies and stronger wind turned our Greer Island trek into a spooky experience. The island was quiet – too quiet – and I was ready to leave almost as soon as we lost sight of the levee crossing. It didn’t help that my husband startled me from behind at one point, making me jump and getting my imagination going. After that, I quickened my pace in order to complete our loop around the island. On the way back across the levee, we at least were rewarded with a snowy egret sighting:
Despite the odd end to our time at the FW Nature Center, it was overall a fantastic place to hike, with well-marked trails, courteous staff and fellow hikers, and enjoyable scenery. Yes, hiking on the Canyon Ridge trail was infinitely more fun than grading on a Saturday morning.