How did I get so lucky? I love hiking so much. And I’ve landed in Boise, Idaho, which, like Denver, Colorado, is literally just minutes from tons of hiking trails. The trails right around Boise are high desert, exposed, wide open spaces, rolling hills of grassland. Sometimes I long for the peaceful, cool, wild beauty of Colorado forests in the Rocky Mountains, with a surprise around every wooded corner or across every murmuring creek. Stack Rock Trail, leading to a granite tower high above the city of Boise, recently gave me just the lush, shaded forest fix with stunning views I so craved. Plus, there’s the fun of going off the beaten path to get up close to Stack Rock.
And, the 10-mile hike kicked my ass!
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Are there polecats in Idaho? What is a polecat, anyway? I had to Google the word, having only a vague sense that it was not in the same category as a mountain lion or a bobcat. An internet search revealed that a polecat is similar to a weasel, and despite its name, is more related to a dog than a cat. In any case, there may or may not be polecats in Idaho. But there is a place called Polecat Gulch Reserve with around 7 miles of trails that are great for hiking, mountain biking, and trail running. The trails are not too hard but have enough grade to get in a good workout. You can bring your dog, too! I hiked Polecat Loop Trail in spring and found rolling hills, great views of the city, and high desert springtime flowers.
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Palo Duro Canyon State Park, in the Texas Panhandle near Amarillo, features the second largest canyon in North America (after the Grand Canyon). The park offers 30 miles of trails with a fun variety of technical levels. A 700 foot descent to the bottom of the canyon includes striking colors of four geologic layers, southern high plains landscape, and many rock formations to explore. The Lighthouse, a 310 foot rock pillar, is the most popular Palo Duro Canyon hike destination.
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I lived in Texas for almost 20 years before I moved to Colorado. In all that time, I never hiked. I was too busy riding horses and dancing the two-step in Texas dance halls (more about that in an upcoming blog). Hiking didn’t become my thing until I moved to Colorado. In fall 2017, I chose Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (SNA) as my first Texas hike. This is a jaw-dropping, knock-your-socks off hike in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. It’s now on my list of favorite parks!
Continue reading “There Are Hiking Trails in Texas, Too – Enchanted Rock State Natural Area”