Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Harrowing Hike To The Summit Of Mount Wichita
Today I went back to Lake Wichita Park with the intention of hiking up and down the mountain 10 times, gave or take a time or two.
On my first two visits to Lake Wichita Park I had not ventured, via vehicle, to the southern end of the park. Today I did so and found multiple park facilities at the base of Mount Wichita, including a large parking lot, picnic pavilion and a tire pump station for the many bikers biking the Circle Trail.
Upon arrival at the Mount Wichita parking lot I saw two guys at the top of the mountain, and another running towards the summit.
Within a couple minutes I was walking around the base of Mount Wichita and saw another guy at the top and another running to the summit. You can see both as little spots in the below photo.
Multiple trails, six or seven, maybe, take hikers to the summit of Mount Wichita. I did not think to count the trails. I walked all the way around the mountain and then opted to run to the summit on the trail you see below.
I could not even manage to run halfway before hyperventilating began. Mount Wichita is much taller than it appears. And the trails are much steeper than they appear.
Way steeper than any of the trails I used to hike in the Tandy Hills.
It is a bit ironic that on Saturday I asked a sweet young thing at a Texas Travel Center kiosk if there were any hills to hike in any of the Wichita Falls parks. With the sweet young thing indicating no such thing existed.
And then yesterday I found Mount Wichita.
And today I discovered the hike to the summit is far more challenging than any trail I hiked in the D/FW Metroplex zone.
Til today I had some concern that my hiking muscles might atrophy in this hill challenged zone of Texas. To discover the most strenuous hiking location than I've had since I lived in Washington, and to discover it is closer to my new abode than the Tandy Hills were to my old abode, well, it is all just too fortuitous.
Below you are on the summit of Mount Wichita, looking northeast at the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Wichita Falls.
The summit of Mount Wichita was flatter and covered more area than I expected.
When I saw the Please Use Caution When Climbing Hill sign, that you see above, I thought to myself that that caution seemed a bit ridiculous, with it not crossing my mind that I would soon find myself being very cautious when on Mount Wichita.
One does not need to be too cautious on the climb up the mountain. It is the descent where caution is required. As in the trails are way steeper than they look from the base of the mountain. One slip and a bad rolling fall could be the result.
I drove to Mount Wichita anticipating going up and down many times, replicating the hiking workout I used to get on the Tandy Hills.
Well, it took me about ten minutes to get my breath back after the first ascent. Then upon heading back down I quickly realized going down the steep trail was also heavy duty exercise. I made it to the base, thought about it a second or two, then turned around and headed back to the summit. Walking this time, not running.
Next time I will try to make three ascents. Maybe....