Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hiking Nebraska: Oak Creek Trail - Brainard To Loma

It feels like forever since I wrote a Hiking Nebraska/Iowa post.   It really hasn't been that long - Sept 2011 - when I wrote about a revisit of a hike in Hitchcock Nature Center.  The last Hiking post about a new trail (for me anyway) was back in November 2010 when I did part of the MoPac East trail.  Last Tuesday, for one of my biweekly walks, I decided to complete the Oak Creek Trail.  I'd done over half of the trail in November 2009.  It took me a while to go back and finish it but I finally did.

Oak Creek Trail is A Rails-to-Trails trail.
Last time I'd started from the Valparaiso, NE end of the trail.  This time I started from the other end in Brainard, NE.  There is a small parking area, a covered picnic area, and a steel ranger for the $1.00 trail fee near the southeastern end of the small town of 354.  My turnaround point would be near Loma, NE where I'd turned around last time.

It was a nice day to hike - a slight chill in the air, partly cloudy, and a bit windy.  It felt good to get out of the city.  All my walks since last November, when I started Phase II of my exercises, have been urban walks.  The fresh air and the lack of civilization noise was welcome.

The hike was fairly uneventful.  The north half of the Oak Creek trail is a little less interesting than the southern end.  The south crosses a few creeks/rivers over converted railroad trestles.  The north end doesn't cross any creeks.  The highlight of the hike was, once again, the tiny town of Loma.

Like towns on the Camino, the first indication of Loma is a church steeple.
I turned around after passing Loma.  I wanted to walk at least twelve miles and Loma was less than six miles from Brainard.  At my turnaround point I left the trail and followed the road into town.  The road parallels the trail closely.  No new businesses had opened since I'd last been there.  The bar was closed when I walked through this time.  I didn't see a soul as I walked down the middle of the road.

Being a rails-to-trails trail, the Oak Creek Trail is straight, flat, and passes through farmland.  It reminded me strongly of the Meseta in Spain.

This hike was 12.57 miles long with about 1,050 feet of vertical spread out over the trail.  It's hard to tell that you are going up or down on this trail.  I still want to try some day to do the entire trail in one go.  It would be a challenge - a full marathon distance - a full four and a half miles longer than my current record of 21.4 that I set in Spain.

I've added a few pictures to my 2009-2012 Oak Creek Trail Hike Google Photos album.

[Click on map for a larger version]

2 comments:

  1. I can't get over the mileage! I am totally beat and want to take a nap after one mile. Or drink sangrias. I think I need to step up my game!

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    1. Miss McC: Take it slowly and you can do the long distances. I've worked up to the longer distances.

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