I escaped from the city for a bit, yesterday, and drove south to outside of Hillsboro to check out Lake Whitney State Park. In my continued efforts to try to visit as many of these places as possible (state / national parks), I readied myself for a very hot Texas day.
This was my first time at Lake Whitney. It is a very popular spot for camping and lake-loving folks. Currently, Texas state parks require a pre-booked reservation to limit the number of people in each park at the same time. With that being said, this one was still quite a popular place to be yesterday afternoon.
I wasn’t going for the lake or the camping. I’m all about the trails, myself. Whitney has 2 designated trail areas that, combined, equal to about 2 miles in total. With the temperature being in the 90’s, it felt longer; but, I need nature. I need it for my sanity. If I could work just traveling from park to park and taking pictures, I would.
Not sure how much of that my body could do but I can dream.
Living with CIPN (thanks chemo!), I’m charged with the task of being both active and walking (it helps the body) but, because of the CIPN, It can be a challenge to do. This year, in an effort to manage those challenges so I can still walk trails, I purchased a set of Trekking poles from TrailBuddy
I used to wonder how helpful those could actually be when I’d see other walkers with them. I used them for the first time on this park visit and – OMG – I’m so glad I bought them!
They were so beneficial in helping me stay balanced and having a good, consistent pace. By the end of making it through both trails (big deal for me) they were instrumental in my not feeling completely worn. I don’t think I could have done both trails without them.
Another bonus was that the poles helped me seem like a bigger predator (I think) so it was what encouraged the copperhead snake on the trail to get out of the sunny spot he was laying in.
That was a moment of WOAH, by the way.
Some other equipment pieces of note that I am so glad that I have for being in Texas and being outside – especially in the thick of summer – include:
This bag holds 2 liters of water and has a hose that you can drink from as you walk. I went through 4 liters of water in the 2 miles as well as a big Gatorade in the car between trails.
Hydration is an essential and this is a convenient way to keep the water flowing while you’re hiking.
I have this little pocket set that I can keep in my backpack should I find something I might want to identify further. They could be fun for kids in nature, too, to be able to spot things in real life.
I also have a wrist-worn compass on paracord and a solar charger with alert capabilities that I keep on me. It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. I don’t usually venture off trails much because my brain and body don’t always align in signaling but, should (God forbid) something crazy happen, I have something to help. Of course, never hike without a good knife on you, either. If that snake had bitten me, I’d have seconds to try to tourniquet (paracord) and signal the rangers (alarm and light) so, I like to be prepared. Nature’s going to do nature stuff and snakes are going to do snake stuff, so, I need to be smart in both.
It was a much needed respite that helped me be able to sleep a bit more, last night, than I had been. I’m tired AF today but it was worth it. I think, next time, I’ll go east and see what is that way… Who knows?