Tag Archives: peru_2015

Erwin Park

For me, sometimes the choice to hike is about working toward a goal. At other times, it’s a way for me to focus on and enjoy the present.

As someone who could be described as a planner, I have a tendency to look forward to the next thing (like moving to Oregon!) at the expense of slowing down and appreciating what is currently happening in my life. However, one lesson that I have certainly learned during this past year is that the things I anticipate in the future do not always come to pass. By living in the future, I rob myself of the opportunity to fully experience the current moment. Although perhaps it was understandable that I spent the last few years anticipating being finished with graduate school.

I do not want to spend my life never living it. Hiking and being outdoors are ways I can focus and find more meaning and satisfaction in the present.

          Erwin Park

That is how I, yet again, found myself at a place I have frequently hiked. Erwin Park in McKinney has an almost 9-mile mountain biking trail that can also be used for hiking. I enjoyed the park on a beautiful Saturday in February (which was approximately 26.45 hours before it was literally freezing again). It is recommended that hikers walk the trail counterclockwise in order to face oncoming bikers. Which is a really good idea given the number of mountain bikers on the trail most weekends. The park has a combination of wooded areas and open fields, providing a decent variety of scenery.

Erwin Park                     Erwin Park

Erwin Park also offers campsites, a playground, and picnic facilities.

Erwin Park                      Erwin Park

Although a 9-ish mile hike at a local park may not be life-changing, it was the perfect way for me to slow down in order to appreciate the gift of a beautiful day and to feel gratitude for what is happening in my life right now.

What are some ways you focus on the present or enjoy the moment?

Cedar Ridge Preserve

One aspect of living a full life is making intentional choices that move you toward important goals or values. However, progress can be impeded because making those choices can be difficult and sometimes even painful.

This brings me to Peru. Peru, and namely the Inca Trail, has long been high on the list of places to which I want to travel. But there has always been something holding me back: not having someone who wants to go to Peru with me, feeling nervous about doing the hike (remember my ability to balance is precarious at best; see this post to fully appreciate my total inability to not fall), the need to save money for the trip.

The reality is that if, as I say, taking a trip to Peru and hiking the Inca Trail are important to me, I will take the steps necessary to overcome these obstacles. I will plan to go to Peru even if no one else can go with me (although my parents may be less than enthusiastic about that). I will save money by not buying new earrings Every. Single. Time. I walk into Target (I wish that were an exaggeration). On that note, I might also want to stop making trips to Target just to buy new earrings. It’s a problem. And, relevant to this post, I will make time to hike on a regular basis in order to work toward getting in Inca-Trail-hiking shape.

So, I am publicly sharing my intention: Peru 2015. I do not have any big trips planned prior to that, so my blog will be focused primarily on local attractions for the foreseeable future (although perhaps that will be in Oregon and not Texas in a few months!). And because regular hiking is on the pre-Peru agenda, I am sure there will be many future posts dedicated to Dallas area hikes.

Take, for instance, my recent visit to Cedar Ridge Preserve.

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Located at the very edge of Dallas, Cedar Ridge Preserve offered much more than I expected to find in the city. I was pleasantly surprised by the sometimes steep and rocky terrain due to the limestone escarpment upon which the preserve sits. There were actual hills. And trees. This not-so-city girl was thrilled. I just had to ignore that the natural beauty of the park included rattlesnakes.

Cedar Ridge Preserve             Cedar Ridge Preserve

Please excuse my Saturday morning, no makeup, puffy face…

With about 10 miles of natural surface trails, over 600 acres of land, and a view of Joe Pool Lake, Cedar Ridge Preserve is about as scenic as a Dallas gets. There is even a small pond.

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Cedar Ridge Preserve

The preserve is managed by the Dallas Audubon Society, who request a $3 donation per visit, which can be left in the on site box or paid online. The trails at Cedar Ridge Preserve are for hiking only (no mountain bikes or horses) and pets are allowed if they are leashed.

I have since been back a couple more times, but I am really looking forward to seeing the trails in the spring when the bluebonnets are blooming. I predict that there will be many more Saturday morning hikes in my future as I begin taking steps toward Peru 2015. Now to work on that earring buying problem…

What is one of your goals or an important step you would like to take toward something you value? If that happens to be Peru, you can always tag along with me!