Saturday, February 20, 2016

Robber's Cave State Park

Fifteen TATURs and friends of TATURs made a 2 hour drive to Robber's Cave State Park to run trailz Saturday. This is a great area to hike, camp, run, and explore.
I wanted to run the mega-loop--having tried to cover it a few years ago. The trailz here are smooth and runnable in places, and ruthlessly rocky and rooty in other places. Probably the biggest cause for a slower overall pace are the ooooh and awe stops, and the first few miles are unbelievable scenic.

We grouped up on a newly built bridge for a group picture. Everyone looks fresh and full of anticipation. I had made no promises of the course being flat, and was not roasted too bad for the severe climbs in the first few miles. I am sure there were a few swear words uttered though!

 Like running on a carpeted forest floor and beneath towering pines? This is your place.

We stopped for pictures and breathers every mile or so. We ran along the shores of Lake Carlton which was trail heaven.

 A small group from OKC net us--Alicia joined her twin sister Mishelle, and brought a friend who hiked on her own, eventually meeting us at the caves.

 This was one of the runnable sections. Our group[ would get spread out and speedsters Jbob and Clint would run back from their trail blazing position back to the caboose position, and then would speed back to the front. Doing this got Jbob four extra miles by the end of the day, and Clint 100 additional feet of elevation.

 Mitch looks back to where we were--along the shore line in the far left. 

And then we began climbing. I'd say we climbed 130 feet in a tenth of a mile. I love this. Clint and I are in a climbing competition, and both of us do crazy hills for the fun of it. And yes--we think it's fun. 
 Alecia, Lindsey, Susan, and Theresa take a break. 

Travis, always the gentleman, helps our girls up a 5' two-step. Going back down this way would no doubt be a bit rough.

Finally, we reached the top of the4 bluffs overlooking Lake Carlton. This was worth all the effort getting here. 

Many pictures were snapped. No one really wanted to get very close to the edge. 

 Travis is just speechless!!

 I took a lot of pictures and swiped a few from Facebook. Since Clint is missing, he must have taken this one. 

 So I had to go sit on the edge with my feet dangling. I gotta admit is was all kinds of freaky. The urge to fall--more than a fear--I actually felt like I might just jump. Do I need help??? It was weird. I think Alecia took this one.

Clint's picture. It's easy to seem like a good photographer in a place like this. Just point and shoot--the view makes it easy.

More ups, more downs. Everyone was having fun. That's my story and I'm standing by it.

Jbob with his giant chopsticks. Travis and I have named him Captain Badass.

We came to a point where our group split up. The girls took a shorter route to the caves while us guys went a longer route there. The girls made a remark to Jbob to not beat them to the caves, and that was just gasoline on his fire. He, Travis, and Clint took off like a shot, while Mitch and I plodded along.

From here on there were no scenic overlooks, and no super steep hills, but it was peaceful and a lot of runnable single track. I liked this Heart rock. I also got a picture of an Oklahoma rock, but it's backwards. I didn't have time to photo shop it--plus it needed a slight bit of resizing, so I just left in on the editing room floor.

Two small lakes (or ponds). Cattail pond was shallow looking but pretty. There were two new and very nice primitive campsites on the other side, including charcoal grilles which had yet to be used.

Lost Lake was another. Deep in the woods and for what reason I don't know, was this beautiful man made lake. That's a HUGE covered wagon on the other side.

Mitch and I eventually made our way around to the caves. The girls were already there, and the fast guys had just blown in having got lost and running an extra loop ending right back where they started, and then ran backwards for a bit, and then bushwhacked back to a trail that took them to the caves.

Mitch and I did a quick tour of the area, and climbed from almost the bottom to the top in a brisk fashion, and then painfully made our way down. I snuck in some elevation on Clint.

At this point, we had anywhere from 7.5 to 10 miles on our Garmins or phone GPS's. The trail that returned to our starting spot on the east side of the highway was an unknown distance--I thought it would be 5-6 miles, but it could have been further. A quicker way back to the car was to take a paved road that ran through the park. It was a solid 5K and was mostly downhill. I was outvoted, and was ok with that especially after FOOD was mentioned.

I ran those 3 miles fairly fast--for me anyway. I was clicking off 10 minute miles wearing my clunky Hardrocks, a half full Camelback, and with 9 miles of rocky hilly trails under my belt. I was happy with my day--slow pace and all.

Pete's Place in Krebs was our refueling spot. They serve Real Italian family style dished. It was way good. I had all the spaghetti and meatballs I could eat, with yummy garlic bread and Muenster cheese. I also had a side of lamb fries.  

This excellent food was gloriously washed down with a couple of Choc Peach Ales. It was a great day with awesome friends.

Well, my pace overall sucked except for the last three miles. Lots of picture taking, and just enjoying the day. A quarter mile of vertical is always good. And I still want to come back and do the remaining part of the mega loop.

1 comment:

  1. Another patented TZ adventure. I haven't been to Robbers Cave since a cub scout campout there eons ago and I think this adventure is definitely more fun.

    My in-laws used to live in southeast Oklahoma and we used to eat at Pete's place all the time. Heather and I were looking at your pic of the food and it brought back a bunch of memories. I loved the spaghetti and the ravioli.

    I hope you guys tipped the waitresses good, no offense but I bet you were a smelly bunch.

    Nobody documents a run like you!