Run date: Sunday, Aug. 12
Ok, so I’ve got the Cedar Hill State Park thing going, but I wanted to give another trail on the NTTR list a whack. The trail that’s the most discussed and hailed on the message board is Northshore Trail on Grapevine Lake. It was a Sunday afternoon, so Baybay was going to be with me. Doggone if he didn’t agree to go.
(Side note … I’m listening to Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime” — totally not planned!)
I have a one-word review of this area of the lake and this trail: Dump. I was really surprised. I don’t think it was just because a lot of the trail was ravaged by the summer rains, either. The glamorous, sprawling Gaylord Texan was within view, with an equally tony golf course, paint ball facility and Glass Cactus music venue and nightclub right on the lake. Then the lake itself … total dump.
The shoreline everywhere — where families picnicked, where people swam, where no people were — was chock full of garbage. The air smelled wretched. And the bathrooms, oh the bathrooms. I’m not sure I can do it justice, but let me try. The small, cinder-block structure was divided in two for men and women. You could smell death 10 yards before you approached the entrance, which was in the back. Wasps swarmed all around the opening. But inside … oh dear. Two stainless steel prison toilets stuck out of the ground. You could see straight down to the waste from the the bowels of the previous 400 people before you. No sinks, trash can, nada. Flies. Old paint peeling from the cinder block walls. Horrid-smelling heat. The smell … oh the smell. I’ve been to a couple of developing countries in my life, and no lie — this was quite likely the worst bathroom I’ve ever been in.
Brian and I finally found the trailhead. It was difficult because so much of the shoreline-hugging trail was under water. We had to find alternate ways through vegetation at times to go around the submerged parts. This often meant a face full of cobweb, which inspired more than a couple of “ARE THEY ON ME? GET THEM OFF ME!” dances. The parts of the trail that were beautiful and worthy were almost disqualified by the bother of just trying to stay on some semblance of a path. Wait-a-minute vines scratched our thighs up pretty good, too. The non-sweat-proof bug spray held up quite nicely, though. I still have a big scary (spider?) bite from Enchanted Rock on my hip, but nada from this run; amazing, since we spent half the time thrashing through fauna.
The blessing of having the forest shade us from the sun was pretty much canceled out by the forest blocking the circulation of wind. I gave up and took off my goofy, neon-orange “TDMN Fit Club” t-shirt and tucked it into the back of my sports bra. Brian, ever body shy, decided to tough it out fully-clothed.
There seemed to be a couple/a few layers of trails, from right on the shoreline to farther away and up on the hill. They all offered steep climbs, rocky descents and an air of sweet-smelling fir (farther away from the stagnant-smelling lake, anyway).
The run itself wasn’t too tremendously terrible. But I’ll only return to that part of the lake when I hear that the lake level is back to normal and the trail is, well, all there.