NATURALU EXCURSIONS: THE 52 HIKE CHALLENGE 2021: HIKE 2 AND 3

Hello there!!

First off, let me say Happy Martin Luther King, Jr Day! And I hope you are doing something in your life to impact the world for the better!

Hike 2: Salado Creek Greenway

Alright to the hiking! If you read last week’s hiking post, it rained all day( with some sleet and snow in some areas), so I didn’t get out that Sunday. My second hike of the year happened last Tuesday, Jan 12. This is a special day for me, as it is my brother’s birthday. If you’ve followed me for a while, you may know his story. But if you don’t, that is okay. My brother passed from colon cancer at the age of 33 in 2015. Since then, I’ve taken the time to ensure I do something for him on his birthday and also the day he passed (March 29th). It usually entails me going to a park to just sit and reflect on him and our life together or the last couple years, going on a hike.

We grew up in Southern California, and anyone who thinks of that immediately goes to…BEACH. And while yes we explored many beaches and city/local parks, we also spend a lot of time in the desert. We moved out to the High Desert in the late 80s/early 90s. I have plenty of fond memories of us adventuring in the deserts right behind our house. Finding rocky mountains and bike jumps. Exploring for what seemed like hours just by ourselves. All of that, laid the foundation of our “getaway” in nature as we got older. We were quiet, reflective and healed in nature. Something I am grateful for everyday that our parents provided us with.

I didn’t go on my “typical” hike (which is usually a dirt trail, rocky inclines and in the middle of no where lol), but I returned to one of our local Greenways here in San Antonio. I used to go on these for years when I used to run. That day I chose to start at the Pletz Park Trailhead from the Salado Creek Greenway. It was a chilly day, but worth the quiet. I barely saw anyone on the trail, a few joggers and bikers here and there. I walked the three miles to the Martin Luther King, Jr Park Trailhead and took a break to write in my journal to my brother. After about 15 minutes or so, I hopped back on the trail and headed back. I completed 6 miles, which in turn honored the 6 years my brother has been gone.

Curve near KOA on Greenway.

One of the things that does bother me on the city trails is the trash. Many of the creeks in town have so much trash. There were some beautiful shots, ruined by the presence of cups, plastic bags, clothes and anything else you can think of! I even saw an ice chest. I will be looking into trash clean-up days and what the city has planned (if anything).

This section was by the MLK trailhead.
I did enjoy viewing the new trail maps!

Overall, the day was a great, emotionally filled day. A beautiful reminder that grief only shows how much love we hold. And that we should never take for granted the beauty that life does bring to us daily.

Hike 3: Enchanted Rock Natural State Area

Me and my hiking buddies!

Sunday hiking returned yesterday. My usual hiking buddies and I ventured to one of my favorites spots, Enchanted Rock Natural State Area. This was my sixth time there; with one friend, being her second and the other, her first. We ventured on the Loop Trail first, heading East towards Buzzard’s Roost. Of all the times, I’ve been there, I hadn’t ventured on that part yet so I was excited to see new things.

Absolutely loved this area. This is right below Buzzard’s Roost. We stopped here for a good 20+ minutes just exploring and taking photos.

The best part about Enchanted Rock, is of course the “rock” itself, but really all the great climbing areas. Whether you are just up for an adventure, testing your limits, avid rock climber or bouldering, these rock formations are amazing! You will definitely have some moments of hesitation, but if you are like us, we go for it! And yes, we do know our limits and the times of….”if we were trained in rock climbing…” moments. So as always, with any hiking adventure you go on, know yourself!

This was on Buzzard’s Roost.

Enchanted Rock itself, is pretty steep and is almost a mile (0.8) up from the bottom (starting at the Gazebo entrance to Summit Trail). Many people come to just hike it and leave. This was my 4th time up and even with a few mini breathing spots, it takes about 15 minutes to get to the top.

Hiking down Enchanted Rock.

A highlight from this hike was finally hiking up Turkey Peak. We sat and watched the sun begin to set. We also heard coyotes in the area howling. It was pretty exciting. It started out as a few and then you could hear several all at once.

From Turkey Peak looking at Enchanted Rock.

This trip also made me want to start some rock climbing classes this year, and of course, work on strengthening my bad knees. I recall trying to climb back in college and just never really went to try again. Such a shame, but that will change!

To learn more about the legends and history of Echanted Rock, check these sites out:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept TPWD

Texas State Historical Association TSHA

This was one of my best trips out there. I’m so sore today and it’s all worth it. I’m super excited to head to Big Bend later this week! So stay tuned!

Until the next adventure…

Lindsey

Leaving Turkey Peak and heading to Turkey Pass Trail. It was a beautiful sunset.

Hello, It’s Me…

Hello, it’s me again.

I didn’t think you’d mind,
all the time we’ve spent together.
I thought I’d still be on your mind.

I didn’t think you’d forget me so fast.
Is my time gone from the hour glass?

Hey, it’s me again.
Remember how I used to hold your hand?
Remember the long kisses that would
make you lose your fight to stand?
Remember the long nights of talking?
Hearing your voice slowly fade,
as you tried to fight sleeping.

Yo, it’s me again.
Did you forget me?
I thought I meant the world to you?
I know I left, but I thought you knew,
I’d be back for you.
I tried to be cool,
Not front on missing you.
Didn’t you miss me?
You must be a fool.

What’s up, it’s me again.
You remember that girl still?
Nah, she wasn’t for me.
I told you, I just need you.
Remember our first date?
I told you I’d marry you.
You know I was serious.
I didn’t think you’d move on.
Seriously, just c’mon.

Sorry, it’s me again.
I know I did you wrong.
But you were always the one.
But you were different.
But you were supposed to wait.
I’m sorry, its so late.
I’m sorry, can we try again?
I’m sorry….

Hello?
*click*

Hello?
*delete*

Hello?
*block*

[3.19.2019]

NaturaLu Excursions: Hiking Highlights from 2020

Happy Sunday! Texas got a surprise today with snow! Unfortunately, I didn’t go on a hike today. Listening to the rain and sleet outside made me reminisce about all the sunny days out in 2020. Below are all the parks I completed during the year. All my favorites are the ones with **. Check out my video highlights from them all.

Friedrich Wilderness Park**

Crownridge Canyon Natural Area

Eisenhower Park

Mother Neff State Park

Government Canyon State Park

Comanche Lookout

Hill Country State Natural Area

Guadalupe River State Park**

Lockhart State Park

Choke Canyon State Park

Lost Maples Natural State Park**

McKinney Falls State Park**

Palmetto State Park

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area**

Goliad State Park

Old Tunnel State Park

Garner State Park**

South Llano River State Park

Dinosaur Valley State Park**

Cedar Hill State Park

Ray Roberts Lake State Park

Valero Trailhead

Purgatory Creek Trailhead

Pedernales Falls State Park**

Brazos Bend State Park**

Hikes for 2021

For 2021, I plan to try new State Parks and add a few National Parks as well. I will be heading out to Big Bend State Park later this month. The major hiking goal I have is to climb Guadalupe Peak at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The goal is to climb the 8,750ft peak in September. After that, Carlsbad Cavern National Park!

Lots of research of parks and gear ahead! This is going to be a great year!

Until next week,

Lindsey

Sunshine on Her Face

Dear Love, with the sunshine on her face
I wish you much healing and grace
From those men who dared to
trespass your space
For they now know that their fate
can and will be erased
There is no room for the unwanted
There is no room for the taunting behaviors of a love misguided
There is no room for the soul that is simply just flaunting or undecided

Dear Love, with the sunshine on her face
I wish you much healing and grace
From those men who simply just don’t understand
That life is not made of only quick sand
That life is not made of only fires and storms
That life is not made of only pain and swarms
Life is created daily as the sun rises
Life is created daily as the water flows
Life is created daily as the leaf unfolds
Life is created in the love we hold

Dear Love, with the sunshine on her face
I wish you much healing and grace
From these men who simply don’t get it

They would know from where you sit
The life and love you hold within
Is where their life would only begin

Lindsey K Payne
1.8.2021

Happy New Year… What’s new?

Well we know 2020 was a little bit of a crazy year. Although, I have a lot of gratitude towards 2020. In fact, I wrote a love letter to it (will share in another post). I admit, this blog sat on the back burner for the last 7-8 months. Yet, I have been far from complacent in that time.

Just a few updates since my new year post of 2020 and my last post in May. I found my worth. I moved into a tiny home. I started a Wellness Life Coaching Business (www.rebirthselflove.com) and I finished my 52 Hike Challenge. I did well with my poetry for a while and then life just caught up with me. Between all the good, there was definitely pain and sorrow in between. Life has been lived and I am ready for more!

I am making a new addition to NaturaLu Creations for 2021. I have decided to do the 52 Hike Challenge again and to write about my amazing adventures. These hikes have been my saving grace in 2020- with COVID and racism being in our faces all year long, I needed something to settle my anxieties and nature has always been the best therapy for me. Don’t worry, the poetry will be coming back this week too!

So join me on a little hiking adventure each week! Welcome to NaturaLu Creations presents, NaturaLu Excursions!

NATURALU EXCURSIONS: The 52 Hike Challenge 2021, Hike 1: Kickapoo Cavern State Park

Today, my friends and I, went to a brand new place for us. We traveled almost 3 hours to Bracketville, TX to visit the Kickapoo Cavern State Park. Although we weren’t able to see the actual caverns (thanks again to COVID) or stay to watch the bats emerge, we were able to trek about 95% of the trails there and complete 11.2 miles.

Amazing trees on the Vireo Vista Trail.

If you are a bird watcher, you will love it here. We saw so many birds, including Crested Caracaras and the most American Robins I have ever seen. I am not an avid birder, but I remember many species from my college Ornithology class (I was a Wildlife Conservation Major). I have thought about investing in binoculars so I can test myself from all that knowledge over a decade ago! You can pick up this bird checklist below, inside at the office!

Awesome birding field checklist.

If you are looking for other signs of wildlife, you are still in luck. We saw several armadillos, one of which pretty much walked right past us while looking for food and water. There were also hundreds of javelina footprints around and we did see a fox running by in the morning (we arrived around 930am).

Our most curious armadillo friend stopped for a drink.

If you are not an avid hiker just yet, some of the trails may be challenging for you. As always, Texas State Parks provide trail guides with a levels of difficulty. Most scale “easy” towards “moderate,” with the Barbado Ridge Trail leading, moderate to strenuous (I will say, for any of these parks, be aware that these maps are not to scale. We typically hike more than what the numbers say). The terrain is pretty rocky and has several steep inclines and declines. The highest point we reached was 1,900ft. Make sure you have some sturdy shoes and ready for those rocks. And if you have any previous injuries, make sure you are prepared. I have knee injuries and always wear my knee brace, but those inclines, plus the distance, can be rough! Those last two miles certainly were for me.

Barbado Ridge Trail, total trail is about 2.1 miles

Overall, it was a perfect day with the views and the weather. I usually layer up (it was 34 degrees Fahrenheit when we arrived and moved up the to high 60s). I plan to go back when they reopen the caverns to the public. We only saw three other people on the trails, really just one biker. Seemed like everyone else who was there was utilizing the camping grounds. Perfect park to go to if you are looking for some quiet and no people! Yay for social distancing.

They have some great signage throughout the park!

If you enjoying hiking, what are some of your favorites areas to frequent?

Until the next adventure…

Lindsey

Riverbed on The Long Way Home Trail

Ex Lovers

To all my Ex Lovers,

I still love you

But I’m glad I chose myself

I got lost in your ways

Trying to hold on to you,

I was letting go of myself

I love you, yes

But keep your distance

I was not able to love us equally

And I can not give you what you want

I am focusing on me,

Again

Again, because each time one of you come

I fall again with no one to pick me up

Again, because each time I see your face

I recall the pain of losing myself

Drowning in your so called “love”

I am not trying again

Though, if you made me change my mind

I’d pray this would be the last time

The last time, I give any more of my heart to you

Hoping you would have learned how to hold me gently

Hoping you would have learned how to love me as I once loved you

Hoping you would have learned how to see what effort brings

I still love you,

Because I don’t take those words lightly

And you are still in my heart

The pieces I’m still trying to heal

The pieces I’m still trying to love so hard

It erases the pain for eternity

Dear Ex Lovers,

Do you still wish things were different?

Do you still wish you saw me during the times you tried to make me different?

Do you still wish that you told me earlier of the feelings you were hiding from me?

I still love you,

I’ll always love the hearts I tried to mend

Trying to show you, you were worthy of real love

While you stomped on my heart

Trying to show you, I was everything you needed

While I neglected my own heart

I was a fool for you

I was intently hanging on to every word, every syllable

He said it, he will do it

He said it, he meant it

He said it, he will show me

He said it, he meant no harm

I was a fool to think my love would have changed you

Or maybe it did,

But you waited until it was gone

To see it

I still love you, yes

I still think you deserve the best, yes

I still wish for your happiness, yes

I’ve just learned, in all the hard ways

I love too much

I wish the love I gave you,

I gave myself

So now, it’s my turn

So now, I deserve

So now, I wish

So now, I give

All my love to me,

The one love my Ex Lovers didn’t know how to keep

5.13.2020

Still Need Work

You can’t tame every heart to love as you do.

You can’t tame every soul to feel as you do.

You can’t tame every body to give as you do.

Our expectations are not reality.

Our expectations are not the end all.

Our expectations are not promises.

We cannot ask someone to speak, if we are not ready to listen.

We cannot ask someone to give, if we are not ready to receive.

We cannot ask someone to know, if we are not ready to tell them.

Be kind to yourself, you are worthy.

Be kind to yourself, you are loved.

Be kind to yourself, you are seen.

I trusted you to not fall, but I allowed you to.

I trusted you to not project, but I allowed you to.

I trusted you to not mess up, but I allowed you to.

Every day is another day to look at yourself and recognize,

You still have time to grow.


4.29.2020

Love, A Wanderer

I found myself in your laugh
I found myself in your smile
I found myself in your eye’s reflection
I found myself in your heart
I found myself in your soul
I found myself in your dreams
And yet, I still wander
Looking for my new place to call
Home
Looking for my heart as it continues to roam
Looking for my love as I walk pass my own reflection
Looking for my confidence to show
Looking for my reason and season to turn into lifetime
I found myself in you
But I’m still looking for myself in me, too

4.15.2020

Lost Soul Seeking

My soul is tired

She’s fighting for air

I tried to make her rest

But it’s just one thing

After the other

Overwhelmed and confused

Trying to get through the day

When only tears want to work

She’s ready to walk away

To get lost in a forest

And never to return

She’s ready

She’s ready

For everything to turn

3.12.2020

Sweet Dreams

I close my eyes

Wishing for change

For when they reopen

That the memory within me

Comes back to reality

I am here

You are here

Nothing in between to keep us apart

When I open my eyes

The memory of you still exists

And I think back to those times

We had

And I think back to those

Tears shed

I wasn’t supposed to lose you

I wasn’t supposed to say goodbye

I wasn’t supposed to grieve you

I close my eyes once more

Thinking if I just try harder

You will appear

That you will hear me

That you will see me

That you will feel me

But when I open my eyes

You still are not there

I wish you were here

I wish you were here

I guess I’ll go back to dreaming

For there, you visit

For there, you speak

For there, you are

And I see you never left

I just have to find you differently

When I close my eyes

To sweet dreams

3.5.2020

In memory, JP ❤