Starkey Park Map Progress: April 2014

My  last post introduced my new project of re-writing the map for the Starkey Park trails.  There are miles and miles of great trails to explore at Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park, but not that easy to navigate. This weekend we were able to uncover a few new trails to add to my growing map.

The first path I wanted to find was a very obvious connector trail between the hiking path and the horse trail.  Obvious by satellite, that is.  I have never actually seen this path as I run by.  Saturday, Sean, NiKYO (my trusty pup), and I set out to look for it.  It was hidden a bit, but we were able to spot it behind some bushes, and then follow it all the way to the horse trail.  It was an interesting cut through, and there were some boot prints along the way, so we were not the only ones to know how to find this “secret connector”.  Once we were on the horse trails, we made our way along some routes we have not travelled in a while, so it was great checking them out again.  A water crossing forced us to change our original plans, but it ended up helping us discover a new path we have never been on:  Black Racer Loop!

We took the very squiggly path that had us zig-zagging in different directions.  At one spot, we saw a black racer snake sunning itself (hence the name of the path)!  Sean and I were not quite sure where it would take us, and it meandered a lot longer than we originally thought.  After about a mile, we finally came out onto a path we knew: the east side of Moccasin Way.  NiKYO and I had just ran this route on Thursday, and I had even made a mental note to check out the path that turned off of it at a later date… I just didn’t know the later date would be two days later, on accident, approaching from the other direction!

It was a great discovery, and once home, I rechecked our route on satellite, then added it to my sketched out map.  (I’ll be posting my actual map soon, once I have more progress on it.)  I can’t wait to uncover more trails!



Re-Writing the Map

StarkeyHiking trail

I love to explore new places and run on different trails, but most of my running is done close to home at Starkey Wilderness Park.  There are tons of trails, different terrain, and many miles of combinations you can vary your routes.  Most of my routes start out on the main hiking loop, but I love checking out a side trail and finding out where it goes.  However, the Starkey Park map stinks.  Really stinks.  I’m pretty sure if I relied on this map to find my way, I would NOT find my way.  I’ve learned these trails by running them, and having Sean show me all the different connecting trails (he’s been running in Starkey a lot longer than me, plus has a natural instinct for direction).  I lead my Trinity Trail Runner group on a Starkey run twice a month, and I know some of the runners would love to see where they are going, instead of just relying on my giant arrows drawn in the sand.

Stinky Starkey Map:Starkeymap

That map is missing tons of great trails to explore and run on.  I’ve decided with the help of my trusty Belgian Malinois, Nikyo, to re-write the map. (Sean can help too, since I think he knows all the trails already 🙂 )  Even though I know the trails and have run most or all of them, he and I will re-run the routes, check them on satellite when we get home, and re-draw the map.  We’ve already started on this project, as I like to change up the directions just to mess with Nikyo and make sure he is listening to me (instead of him thinking he’s in charge)!  Along the way, we’ve been giving the routes some names, so it is easier (and more fun) to describe where we’ve been.  Here’s a photo from Thursday’s run:Starkeycrossing

This is Moccasin Crossing, which is a path just off of the main hiking trail.  Moccasin Crossing was named so, because a water moccasin was spotted there once :-O  This is also one of Nikyo’s favorite trails, because we usually see more wildlife on this path since it is not used much (probably because it is not on the Stinky Map).

I’m looking forward to this new adventure, and discovering and exploring more while running out on the trails. If you’d like to follow our progress, I will be posting updates on our map project!