[Keeping Away the] Gloom at Cedar Hill State Park

If you love to hike at all, even a little bit, I’m sure you’re reaching a point where you’re about done with this winter weather. I definitely am – and I live in Texas! The cold has been bearable, especially since you can pick up your pace and not feel too bad. But all this rain and cloudy skies are really giving me a case of seasonal depression. I want the sun back!

I had planned a sunrise hike for my visit to Cedar Hill, hoping it would be a good one since I was trying to fall in love with this state park. Why? Because Cedar Hill is the closest state park to me, here in Dallas. This was my first time visiting and I knew it wouldn’t be my last! When my friend Jenna told me she was also trying to get a hike in over the weekend, I decided we should go for the “moderately hard” hike since all the rest were easy. It’s hard to find a varied hike around Dallas since everything is so flat.

The weather would not be kind to us leading up to our Staurday morning hike. A lot of rain meant all but one of the trails was closed due to a bit of flooding. Luckily, our drive wasn’t wasted since we had the DORBA trail open to us. Plus, like I said, it was close enough that I knew I’d be back at some point for that harder hike.

The thing about this trail was that it was meant mainly for mountain-biking. These trails are nice and long (this one went up to 14 miles), but with the previous rain we had to hop past a couple of tire-track trenches. I like that this trail had the bikers start clockwise and the hikers start counterclockwise so there was less a chance of injury. This also meant we arrived at the lake first thing, right in time for sunrise.

A cloudy day’s sunrise means just a gradual lightening and maybe a speck of pink on the horizon if you’re lucky – but I’ll admit I wasn’t too mad at the gloomy “coast” of Joe Pool Lake. It was still beautiful. We explored a bit of the shoreline (can you still call it that for a lake?) and made plans to enjoy the lake like we had our previous year, mentioned here: Find the Biggest Swimming Area (at Joe Pool Lake). I think these were the trails I hadn’t been able to find the previous summer. And there was still a lot to explore!

We got into our hike, and though it wasn’t too exciting, the company was good and it was nice to just be outside. I had layered up my clothing so I didn’t find it too cold, though my nose was red for almost the rest of the day. After our lazy two-ish hour hike, we decided to check out Penn Farm, the other noted “attraction” at Cedar Hill. We passed the 1918 barn to go check out the original one, and were surprised to find some actors around a fire. I’m not sure what they were reenacting, but they had full wartime outfits and a big American flag around a T-frame tent setup. So that was pretty cool.

It wasn’t even 10:00 AM yet, so as we were heading back to Dallas, we stopped in for a barre class workout. All in all, not a terrible way to get active on an early Saturday morning. If only I could start every day with this kind of productivity!

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