As part of trying to get our 5,000 steps per day in over the weekends, John and I have been on the lookout for fun places to walk (assuming good weather.) We’re considering this our chance to follow in the footsteps of our Bruce forebears, who have been doing this sort of thing for years. I hope we grow to love it as much as they do!
Yesterday was a little too windy and cold to take photos out at Juanita Beach Park, but today was the perfect day for our first official visit to Bridle Trails State Park. For the curious, all this beauty is roughly a ten-minute drive from our place, and surrounds some of the most affluent and coveted neighborhoods in the area – for a reason! As the name implies, this is a popular area for equestrians, who always have right-of-way throughout the park. There are signs posted everywhere about proper trail etiquette, whether you’re a human, a dog, a horse, or some combination of the above. (Compliance rates for solo animals must be lower than expected.)
After having to turn back to a nearby grocery store to grab cash from an ATM (sadly we are not Discover pass owners yet,) we decided to throw together a makeshift picnic and make our way into the depths of the forest. I’ll spare you the details of how hard it was to put together a picnic without running afoul of one or more of our diet restrictions; suffice to say that it’s almost impossible to find a deli salad that doesn’t have cheese in it! Had we packed our own lunches from home, this would have been a lot easier; we’ll know better next time.
Our journey took us around the Raven path; the shortest park trail, running about a mile in length. Unfortunately, we failed to realize that we’d made a wrong turn somewhere while trying to access the area we planned to eat in. This led to our attempting to walk the Raven path backwards. This path is meant to be very easy, with only a gradual ascent at the very beginning, while folks are fresh. Doing it backwards reverses this effect, making the previously-downhill middle portion of the hike… prohibitive for novices. In addition, that one-mile estimate doesn’t appear to take elevation changes into account, so that’s one mile “in theory.” Our step counts suggest more like 1.5 miles of actual walking distance.
(Folks in my family may be having flashbacks to a certain thunderstorm in the Chiricahuas in the early 90s – mercifully, it was cool and sunny, and my blood sugar was quite fine!)
By the time we got to our lunch spot post-hike, we were beat and more than ready for some grub. Food never tastes better than when it’s hard-earned after an unexpected trek uphill! Being able to take the time to rest when we needed to, and not having a deadline for somewhere else to be, made it all so much more pleasant than it might have been. I think we’ll definitely make a return trip at some point and try the Raven path in its intended format. The other two trails might be best left for later in the program – we’ll see.
In the meantime, here are the few photos we took during our journey. Wish you were here!