Our most recent park discovery is Crystal Canyon Natural Area in Arlington.
This is a smallish park with a single half-mile soft-surface trail loop.
It packs a lot of appeal into a tiny package, thanks to the woodsy setting and some interesting geographical features. The creek is fantastic, but you have to go off-trail to explore it.
The “canyon” part is what lured us to this park. We miss the mountains of California and were looking forward to a bit of climbing, so we were kind of disappointed by the overall flatness of the loop trail.
But near the end, a smaller “desire path” branches off from the main trail and heads straight up the canyon wall. It’s not exactly rock-climbing, or even particularly steep, but it’s a nice little workout and offers a rewarding view from the top.
In the end we gave Crystal Canyon three thumbs up, but mostly for the creek and the hill-climbing detour.
In other news, the Texas mud has finally killed my 19-year-old Ariat riding boots.
My new Ariats are waterproof. Let’s see if they’re a better match for the Texas climate.
The day after my new boots arrived, I got to try them out at Bob Jones Park, which was just as awesome the second time around.
This time I used my Professional’s Choice saddle pad, which puts a solid inch and a half of high-density foam between the treeless saddle (and my butt) and Mahogany’s spine and withers. It also has a cut-out over her withers, so there is no pressure on them. It was very comfortable for both of us, but almost comically oversized for the saddle. Here is a picture of me taking a picture of sailboats on Grapevine Lake, in which you can see the pad and the saddle .
On a related tangent, every time I see a photo of myself on a trail ride, I am jarred by how much my camera case disrupts the lines of my clothing. I’ve decided to buy a small tactical pack to hang on my saddle that will hold everything that I carry on rides: camera, phone, keys, etc. I much prefer having that stuff on me rather than my horse, because if we get separated only one of us knows how to use the phone. I think vanity is going to win this one, though. Also my keys jingle-jangle distractingly when I hang them from my belt loop, and my phone tends to work its way out of my pocket at the trot. So I guess the pack will solve three issues at once.
Anyway, beautiful park. I can’t wait to see it in the summertime.
I have a future post brewing about all of the benefits, problems and solutions involved in transitioning to a treeless saddle. Stay tuned!