A few weeks ago, Matt Patterson wrote about hiking the Skyline Trail at Beavers Bend State Park. He enjoyed himself thoroughly, and wrote up a good trip report for the rest of us to read and study.
The trail itself is designated as being one for experienced hikers only, mostly because of the elevation loss and gain as well as the ruggedness of the route.
Those are my kind of hikes. Challenging, scenic and, because of their difficulty, low on human traffic and high on wildlife.
But that’s not for everyone. In fact, the bulk of the visitors to the park are people who love the scenery of the park and Broken Bow Lake, but maybe aren’t up to some of the rigors of routes like Skyline.
Thankfully, there are trails near the state lodge that offer good hikes and are an intermediate step up toward some of the wilder routes.
The state park system built the Lakeview Lodge trail system — three loops that are accessible from the lodge parking lot. The first loop is the easiest and is about a mile long. The second loop has a bit more difficulty (classified “intermediate”) and goes about two miles.
The third loop is the best, winding a little over four miles. The last mile or so that goes back toward the lodge follows the shoreline of Broken Bow Lake, making it the most scenic part of that particular trail system. The lake is beautiful (better water clarity down there than what we see here) and is dotted with a few pine-covered islands visible from the shore.
All three loops go through a mix of pines and hardwoods. In the fall, that means much of the trail is covered in fallen leaves, but the routes are easy to follow, and signs let you know when the next loop begins.
There are a few spots where the trails steepen, but only for short distances. The whole loop system fits comfortably within a Class 1 rating (out of 5, with 5 being technical rock climbing).
Also something to consider: Hardcore hikers often find their meals on the trail, but on this particular trail system, you’re close enough to some area restaurants to enjoy a post-hike meal in style. Brick oven pizza and Choc beer, anyone? Not a bad way to end the day.
I know a lot of the stuff I write about here may seem a little out of reach for some (though that’s really not the case). But in this post, I’m hoping you can find a nice “baby step,” a decent hike that is truly doable for anyone. Pick which loop you want to do based on your fitness level. If it’s too easy, take the next loop, and the next. If you can do the four-mile loop of the lake lodge trail, perhaps it’s time to start looking at Skyline or even some of the bigger routes along the Talimena/Winding Stair area further north.
Awhile back, I posted a video of Steph Davis doing some seriously technical free solo climbs in Utah and on the Diamond on Longs Peak in Colorado. If you haven’t seen those, just type in her name in the search function on the main page and it will take you there.
Anyway, its seems this woman is pretty fearless when it comes to challenging gravity and big air. She’s now into wingsuits. This video is about 9 minutes, but it has some pretty cool footage of Davis doing her latest adrenaline act in the Swiss Alps. BASE jumping, wingsuit flying, well, you can’t say that we’re not trying to entertain you! Have a look and enjoy.
This is a link that I feel compelled to post, if for no other reason than to satisfy your curiosity:
I had considered writing about “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” before it aired, but decided not to because it seemed to be more of a reality show about the former Alaska governor and her family than Alaska. But this is kind of interesting, just for pure entertainment reasons. Will you watch? If you do, I’d love to know what you thought of the episode.
Here’s a video promo of the episode:
News and notes from the outdoors…
Fans of the book “Oklahoma Hiking Trails” can meet Ken Frates and Larry Floyd, author and illustrator of the book, Saturday in Edmond.
From 1 to 2:30 p.m., the two will be at Best of Books, 1313 E Danforth Road.
If you’re into hiking and would like to pick their brains about new places to go and see, tomorrow would be a good opportunity to do it.
The United States Mint announced the designs for the second set of coins in its America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The 2011 quarters will bear reverse (tails side) designs honoring Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania); Glacier National Park (Montana); Olympic National Park (Washington); Vicksburg National Military Park (Mississippi); and Chickasaw National Recreation Area (Oklahoma).
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area quarter design depicts the Lincoln Bridge, built of limestone and dedicated in 1909 to celebrate the centennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The bridge was the first constructed improvement in the national recreation area and a favorite scenic spot.
In celebration of the holiday season, Superintendent Bruce Noble invites the public to a holiday open house at Chickasaw National Recreation Area. The open house will be held at the former Superintendent’s residence from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 15. The residence is at 716 U.S. 177 South, approximately one-mile south of the intersection of State Highway 7 and U.S. 177 in Sulphur.
Park staff would also like to invite the public to enjoy the park this holiday season. The park is open daily for wildlife observation, hiking, biking, fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities. The Travertine Nature Center is open daily 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.
“As we celebrate the end of another year, we are thankful for the opportunity to protect one of America’s treasures and provide visitors with a place to relax and reflect,” Noble said. “We hope you will join us at the open house for light refreshments and conversation as we celebrate the holidays.”
It’s that time, folks. Time to make you ski plans. Here’s the first set of snow reports, courtesy of skireport.com. Have a look…
BASE LIFTS SURFACE 24 HR 72 HR
Ajax (Aspen) (1 day old) 25″ 3 of 8 PP – –
Arapahoe Basin 33″ 5 of 7 PP 3″ 4″
Beaver Creek 24″ 13 of 26 PDR 2″ 4″
Breckenridge 36-39″ 21 of 30 PDR 3″ 4″
Copper Mountain 35-39″ 9 of 22 PP 3″ 4″
Crested Butte 23-30″ 3 of 16 PP 1″ 1″
Eldora 20-26″ 4 of 12 PP 1″ 1″
Keystone 24-27″ 13 of 20 PDR 1″ 3″
Loveland 35″ 7 of 9 PP 4″ 6″
Monarch 27″ 3 of 7 PDR 0″ 2″
Snowmass (1 day old) 18-36″ 8 of 24 PP — –
Steamboat 41-59″ 4 of 20 PDR 1″ 10″
Telluride 30″ 7 of 18 PP 0″ 1″
Vail 20-26″ 20 of 34 PDR 2″ 7″
Winter Park 35-41″ 18 of 26 PDR 2″ 6″
Wolf Creek 24-32″ 5 of 7 PDR 0″ 0″
Aspen Highlands Plan to Open Dec 11
Buttermilk Plan to Open Dec 11
Durango Plan to Open Dec 3
Echo Mountain Plan to Open Dec 1
Kendall Mountain Opening Soon
Powderhorn Plan to Open Dec 16
Silverton Mountain Plans to Open Dec 4
Ski Cooper Plan to Open Dec 3
SolVista Plan to Open Dec 15
Sunlight Plan to Open Dec 3
BASE LIFTS SURFACE 24 HR 72 HR
Ski Apache 14-16″ 3 of 10 PP 0″ 0″
Taos 12-15″ 4 of 13 PP 0″ 1″
Angel Fire Plan to Open Dec 16
Pajarito Opening Soon
Red River Plan to Open Dec 3
Sandia Peak Plan to Open Dec 18
Sipapu Plan to Open Dec 4
Ski Santa Fe Plan to Open Dec 10
If you want to see more reports from other states, go to http://www.skireport.com/