Saturday, February 6, 2016

Old St. Hillary's Open Space Preserve in Tiburon, CA

I recently moved to Tiburon in California and am too lazy to start a new blog, so there will be lots of CA related posts on here going forward. Most people access individual articles on here directly from Google anyways, so I don't think this will be a big deal. If it gets too annoying I can hide them down in the archives. John Kester III and I will continue to post articles on Arkansas trails and issues as well.

I have a new favorite park/trail in the Bay Area and it is St. Hilary's Open Space Preserve in Tiburon! This gem of a park has INSANE views of the bay. From the top of the hill, you can see much of the East Bay, San Francisco, and Marin County; including 3 of the major Bay Area bridges (Bay, Golden Gate, and Richmond-San Rafael). From one point, shown in the panorama below you can see Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland, Angel Island, San Francisco, Sausalito, and up to Mt. Tamalpais.

This site has more information on the history and ecology of the area:

Click to Enlarge. That is Richmond on the left and Mt. Tam area on the right! Angel Island is near the center.
Old St. Hilary's

Monday, February 1, 2016

Iron Ranger Challenge: Get a Move on in Arkansas National Parks!

Iron Ranger Challenge: Mile 0 

My name is John Kester III and you may have seen me mentioned in some of Johnnie's previous posts (see Dogwood Walking Spring Path; Mt. Kessler Greenways; Swimming Holes 2). I am grateful to Johnnie for introducing me to the awesome outdoors of Arkansas. I now have the privilege of posting on the Trails of Arkansas blog in the coming year to document my experience pursuing the Iron Ranger Challenge.

On January 1, 2016, the national parks of Arkansas kicked off the Iron Ranger Challenge ( — a year long program to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and encourage healthy and active lifestyles for park visitors.

Over the course of the year, visitors can choose to hike, bike, paddle, walk, run, or roll 100 miles in any or all of the Arkansas National Parks. Arkansas National Parks include: Arkansas Post National MemorialBuffalo National River; Central High School National Historic Site; Clinton Birthplace National Historical Site; Fort Smith National Historic SiteHot Springs National Park; Pea Ridge National Military Park; Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

Visitors who complete 100 miles of activity will receive a special Centennial Iron Ranger Challenge commemorative award. 

As of January 7, over 400 people have signed up for the Iron Ranger Challenge!

To register for the Iron Ranger Challenge, simply enter your first name and email at the following website Once you confirm your subscription, you'll receive periodic emails with event details, training and wellness tips, and activity suggestions. On the first day of each month -- beginning February 1 -- you'll receive an email form to record your mileage for the previous month.

Buffalo National River Deputy Superintendent Laura Miller encourages visitors of all ages and fitness levels to participate in the Centennial Iron Ranger Challenge. "The National Parks in Arkansas have so much to offer. Visitors can see spectacular views paddling the Buffalo River, take a bicycle tour of President Clinton's hometown at the Clinton Birthplace Home, hike in the Ouachita Mountains and then relax with a thermal bath at Hot Springs National Park, and see places where history was made from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. There are so many great options in Arkansas, so get out and have fun." Source.

I will be posting at the end of each month to share the miles covered and my experiences during my treks. I have copied below some additional information about the monthly guided hikes in Hot Springs National Park and the social media outlets for the Iron Ranger Challenge. Please share any comments and feel free to share your experience in Arkansas National Parks this year!



Hot Springs National Park Hike, 1st Saturday of each month through December 2016

Social Media for Iron Ranger Challenge:

Pictured below: Johnnie and I after the annual Mt Kessler Trail Run 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Buffalo River Trail - Woolum to Margaret White

This past weekend I went on a short backpacking trip on the Buffalo River Trail between Woolum and Margaret White. The roughly 6 mile route had some real elevation change going from river level to the top of the bluff line twice. While we got some amazing views from Dave Manes Bluff, I suspect big views are more frequent (though less colorful) in the winter.

The river was bone dry for most of this section, something that isn't rare this time of year for this part. In fact, the water is there, it is just flowing underground through the karst and it resurfaces downstream in interesting springs. Oddly enough, we had to cross flowing water at Woolum, but then were able to cross the dry bed downstream of there to camp near Dave Mane's Bluff and Ben Branch.

We heard tons of coyotes at night and saw a lot of stars.
Here is a link to more photos of the dry river bed:
There are some interesting trails near here up around Point Peter:

Monday, October 19, 2015

30 Crossing Recap

I've written quite a bit about about why it is worse than a waste of taxpayer money to widen I-630 and I-30 and provided some discussion of better ideas that would save money and have positive impacts on our community and state. Today I want to focus on the I-30 project, now also referred to as "30 Crossing".

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Little Rock Trail Network Expansions

I've written previously here and in my books about the need for Little Rock to work on trail connectivity and the potential of trails along Coleman Creek, Rose Creek, Rock Creek, and Fourche Creek. Tonight they are voting to add many of these ideas to the master plan! Please contact your director or attend the meeting to show your support for these projects.

These trails would greatly expand the walkability and bikeability of Little Rock. The Rose Creek Trail (it may have another name now) would connect the River Trail to Fourche Bottoms and would also make it easier for a lot more people to bike to work downtown by connecting major residential areas to the River Trail.