Doug Goodman

Texas Horror Writer. Cadaver Dog Handler.

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7. Ray Roberts State Park Greenbelt Corridor Trail

Posted by douggoodman on July 9, 2016 at 6:55 PM

7. Ray Roberts State Park Greenbelt Corridor, Elm Fork Trail

June 29, 2016

Distance: 6.4 Miles (Total out and back trail is 22 miles)

Time to Hike: 2 hours, 46 minutes

Difficulty: Easy


This was a brutal, brutal trail. The first .9 miles have some tree cover, but the rest of the trail (at least as far as I was willing to go) is uncovered. I think that is why I turned around at Mile 3. I felt frustrated because I had to turn around. When I started this adventure back in April, my goal was not to try trails, but to finish trails. Do or do not, right? Well, today, I did not, and I feel guilt-ridden about it. I bit off more than I could chew. The summer Texas weather was too intense, and time was creeping on me. I needed to get back to the motel in time to pick my daughter up from TWU, so I couldn’t hike the full trail, but still, I feel like I have unfinished business with this trail. The question is, do I want to go back?

Listen, I think every trail has something that stands out about it, that something that makes it worth traversing. Whether that is the rugged beauty of the Franklin mountains, the water crossings of central Texas, or the sonorous vistas of Galveston full of bird calls; every park, and every trail for that matter, has something. What this trail had was cut hay. It was incongruous, like wandering into an autumn carnival in the middle of summer. The trail smells like October. I found myself wondering, do I really want to walk one more mile for hay on one side and a line of elk and cypress on the other? I could hear the river that I was walking along, but I never saw it after the initial crossing. I saw some red squirrels and two cardinals, but again, these I see everywhere. Ragweed, Black-Eyed Susans, and wilting Indian Paintbrush. For me, this trail just didn’t hold anything. Even the trail itself was hard-packed and tough on my feet.

Elm Tree Fork Trinity River. This is from the first few steps preceding the trail. It is also the only view of the river.

This is a much more typical view of the trail. Lots of cut hay, and a tree line to the east. 

The giant head was not happy at Mile 2. One more mile, and I was D-O-N-E !!!

I tried thinking about Conan the Barbarian, which was written in central Texas. Was this a version of Cymmeria that I was walking through, brutal and hot and covered with black-barked trees? As I thought on this, something else was coming to my mind, though. I was thinking of a quote from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It’s a great little movie starring Ben Stiller. At one point, he is crossing the Himalayas, and he is on the phone, and he says he has to hang up. He has to make oxygen choices. I didn’t have any substantial elevation changes at the Elm Trail, but I did have to make heat choices. (Of note, the Franklin Mountains in El Paso did not feel this brutal, but then again "that was a dry heat"). The choice was to turn around at Mile 3. I will see if I regret this choice later.


Categories: 42 Trails

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