Loblolly Loop – Bowie Nature Park

After a couple of weeks of bad weather and recuperation from the 2017 52 Hike Challenge, I finally got back outside in January and hit the trails again.  I always know when I’ve spent too much time indoors because I start to get itchy, antsy, and a bit irritable.  Having really enjoyed my last trip to Bowie Nature Park, I decided to go back and tackle the Lake Trails, which is a series of loop trails, which can be combined by hikers to create a much larger loop (see this map for a visual).  Since they are separate trails, though, and it’s possible to hike them independently, for clarity’s sake I’ll be writing individual posts about each one.

The trail which began and ended this particular trek was Loblolly Loop, a 1.09-mi loop that starts at Lake Van and makes it way around Upper Lake.  I went around the loop in a clockwise fashion, taking a detour when I connected with Twin Lakes Loop, but ultimately finishing the day’s hike with the last half of Loblolly Loop.  The trail itself isn’t difficult at all, but like Horseshoe Trail, horses are permitted, so watching where you step is a must.  My parents bought me some Black Diamond trekking poles for my birthday (Woohoo!) so even though they weren’t necessary for this level of hike, I still busted them out in order to practice using them 🙂

One of the more unique features of this particular hike are the exercise stations located along the entire length.  There are 6 stations with suggestions for particular exercises, and some basic equipment to assist people in the completion of those exercises.  For the life of me, I have no idea why this is a thing, but it’s not a terrible idea for people who want to combine a short hike with additional strength and cardio activities.

Upper Lake was small, but gorgeous – easily the most photogenic of all of the Lake Trails lakes.  If there hadn’t been rain coming in quickly, I could have spent much more time there, taking pictures and enjoying the solace.  A convenient feature is a small connector trail splitting off from the main path, which allows hikers to go all the way around the lake in case there’s a particular view they’re seeking.

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