As I sat down to update you on my latest hiking adventures, a sign-off chorus at the end of the Roy Rogers Show started playing in my head. “Happy trails to you, Until we meet again. Happy trails to you, Keep smiling on until then.” The link is to the entire song, but as I remember, only the chorus was sung at the show’s end when signing off.
Yeah, it was sappy, and you need to be old like me to remember it. My excuse is that I was a kid in the 1950s, and corny was what we watched. Ya’ just had ta be there.
In the last post, I related my hiking history and recent trips to the Cedar Ridge Preserve. Those hikes involved up and down wooded ridges, and about 5 miles was the limit these knees could stand. Both knees started barking after a mile or so and were barking and snarling at the end. Telling them to shut up only caused them to threaten to start biting. Does anyone have their joints bite them? I decided not to find out if mine would.
Last Wednesday, I went to Cedar Hill State Park and hiked part of the Dorba hike & bike trails. These trails are divided into three sections, Dorba (short 3 mi), Dorba (medium 8 mi), and Dorba (long 12 mi), as connected loops. The park map I studied before going indicated that each trail was rated “difficult” Alltrails.com rated them as “moderate,” so I wasn’t sure what I was up against. Also, I was uncertain whether the three trails totaled 23 or 12 miles. I asked a biker who was preparing to start, and he said it was 12 total. I got to wondering, “What is a Dorba?” Follow the link for the answer.
I started by hiking the Dorba short to see how it went. By the rules, you would need to continue completing any trail you start on because you aren’t supposed to backtrack if you find you can’t complete a section. This is because the courses are one way only. Bikes ride clockwise, and hikers walk counterclockwise. Accordingly, I planned to limit myself to Dorba short.
To my surprise, the Dorba short was what I would call an easy hike. Before reaching halfway around the short trail, a “Y” allows you to continue the short hike or go for 8 miles. I screwed up my courage and headed on the longer path, hoping it remained as easy as the one I had experienced up until then. It was, for the most part. There were a few brief parts that were moderate, but the majority were a piece of cake.
You may wonder why the discrepancy between calling the trails difficult and moderate depends on which website described the challenges. I could only figure out that the difficulty level on these trails referred to bikes, not hikers. Cedar Ridge Preserve is hiking or running only and has steep climbs up and down ridges which would be impossible for bikes, even if they were allowed. The Dorba trails go not up and down the ridges at sharp angles but through hundreds of switchbacks. I concluded this was designed as a mountain bike trail that allows hikers.
One interesting challenge for hikers is the ruts made by years of bikes following the same narrow path in certain sections. Some are deep enough to seem like walking down a mini canyon. I had to walk pigeon-toed through these because the track was only a few inches wide. There were a few places I had to climb 20-30 feet up an incline, but other than that; there were elevation changes like the Waxahachie paved hike and bike trail.
Would I go back? Definitely. It was a scenic trail, easy on the knees, and plenty of opportunity to get my heart rate up for the exercise benefit. I will do the entire 12 miles at some time in the future. A prairie section gave a spaciousness to relieve the closed-in feeling of the forest parts. Oddly enough, I found I liked a certain rhythm of switchbacks interesting as well. The Dorba trails had a variety to keep you wondering what’s next. Below are some photos as evidence that I actually was there. (if not me, who??)