The beauty of this place is ridiculous, especially on such a gorgeous day. The morning started off chilly, as we expected it would be in the middle of March, and as we piled out of the car for our hike around French Lake I took stock of all my layers: comfy t-shirt, jacket with hood, insulator jacket with plenty of pockets, and a scarf. Matt loaded his backpack with drinks and snacks and we finally made our way to the trail.
For the sake of argument, I must confess that I cannot tell the difference between hills and mountains so I will refer to all of them as mountains. I am a flatlander from Florida, after all, and get deliriously happy when I’m anywhere significantly above sea level.
I’ll admit that the first part of our hike was absurdly tranquil and stress-free. There were no inclines, not a single reason to exert ourselves. A pair of playful otters even added some excitement to our casual stroll around French Lake. I don’t know about the rest of my family, but I found it kind of surreal that I was dodging bison poop while studying the handiwork of beavers from afar.
We were really enjoying our morning out on the trail so we decided to go a little further. The Longhorn Trail would bring us right back to the parking lot after 2.4 miles. This much was made known on the signs and trail markers along the way. What was not disclosed, however, was the gradual incline toward the top of a mountain. Or maybe it was a hill. (Refer to my earlier note, though, as it is apparent that I cannot judge such things.)
Not too long into the trek going up, the layers started coming off. The removal of the scarf was soon followed by the removal of my insulator jacket. Being away from the lake got us out of the way of the wind and out of the way of the cold. I had to rest a couple of times because my legs aren’t used to much more than the weekly up-and-down jaunt into my basement to retrieve clothes from the dryer or a pound of beef from the freezer (coincidentally, longhorn beef). But the views.
Oh, the views!
We rounded our way back to the parking lot after about an hour and a half and chatted about the highlights of our two-day trip to Wichita Mountain. Elle was delighted to have seen otters at play in their own habitat. I think Matt was happy to just get us two girls out of the house and into a tent, onto a trail, and jokingly planned to prepare us for a backpacking trek in the near future (at least, I hope he was joking…for his sake, I’m pretty sure he was joking). Me? I got everything I wanted out of this trip. I saw prairie dogs and otters, roasted marshmallows on a campfire, and stood on top of a mountain.
Oh, and I finally got to meet my bison.