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Hell’s Gate

Hell’s Gate

There is a place in East Lubbock, in the Dunbar-Manhattan Heights district, that stretches thin between realities. At the end of Canyon Lake Drive lies an old abandoned trestle from the Santa Fe Railroad known as Hell’s Gate. If you ask a native Lubbockite about this area they’ll tell you that many tragedies and haunting have occurred here. It’s rumored that this trestle was where a satanic cult met every pagan holiday for their sacrifices and rituals. There is also talk that multiple suicides have taken place here to resemble a western Aokigahara. Of course these are all things that we were told growing up and none of us have really experienced. Yeah we might have gone out there one night and felt an eerie feeling but as far as we know, all these stories are just myths. Intangible.

smoke fills the skies above Hell's Gate last week during Lubbock Fire Rescue's controlled burnings
smoke fills the skies above Hell’s Gate last week during Lubbock Fire Rescue’s controlled burn

But there is something else out here that is absolutely real. Something that you can touch and feel. The only thing that you’ll need to do so is a good two wheeled off road machine. There is a system of mountain bike trails that move around the old trestle and they’re not to terribly well known of. These tails offer plenty of different experiences for different riders. If you are new to mountain biking and just need somewhere to start then this is the perfect place for you. There are also plenty of features to challenge the more experienced rider but most trails also offer a more manageable route. You can also use plenty of different bikes on these trails too. Over the years there have been BMX bikes, road bikes, hard tails, full suspension bikes, cyclocross bikes, etc. out here. In fact, this is where some of the local bike shops have their demo days and there are also rides that take place out here very regularly. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what kind of bike you have, or how good at riding you are. All that matters is that we have access to some great bike trails that can be challenging or relaxing depending on how you want to ride them. The only thing that is left to do is to get out there and ride. Just be sure to keep your eye out for any ghosts that might be lurking in the mesquite.

-Nick

there is a trail map at the entrance located just north of the small parking lot on the north side of the lake.
there is a trail map at the entrance located just north of the small parking lot on the north side of the lake

 

2017: 101

2017: 101

It is pretty well known by the locals that Lubbock is a great place to work but a terrible place to have a weeekend. What is there to do in this town to fill your time anyway? There are plenty of restaurants to eat at but not too many mom and pop joints for the local foodie to explore. Another option that the grade school students heavily emplore is a visit to one of the movie theaters in town. The only issue with that is, depending on which weekend it is, the list of movies to watch may not match with your acquired cinema tastes. Lubbock definitely has more than enough shopping with South Plains Mall and the many local centers and plazas around town. People from hundreds of miles around even travel to our city for the consumer amenities that we offer. This is fantastic and the Lubbock natives love to have guests in their city but we’ve done these things every weekend since our eldest high school friend obtained their drivers permit. So the question remains, what else is there to do in the Hub City? If you’re willing to commit to following us throughout this year then hopefully we can finally answer this age old question. We are going to see what an everyday adventurer like you can do with our slice of West Texas. The only things you’ll need access to are moderate transportation, a map, and your local outdoor outfitter to get going. We are going to tackle everything there is to do within this town as well as everything outdoors there is to do within a six hour radius of us. We will summit multiple peaks, bike through canyons, swim in remote lakes, meet new people, and eat fantastic food. Our adventures are going to take us anywhere from El Paso to Amarillo to Taos and lastly Austin. We are going to discover everything that Lubbock has to offer and use it to its fullest extent. If you’re willing to commit to the outdoors then we can have some of the most exciting times in West Texas. Just be sure that your boots are strapped on tight and your jacket is cinched down because it’s going to be a crazy year.
-Nick

 

A New Place

A New Place

Recently I have invested a lot of money in winter mountaineering equipment. I’ve bought a 4-season tent, crampons, and an ice ax. I had just ordered my tent a few days ago when I found out I’ve been offered a job in southeast Kansas. What better place to make use of my new equipment. Not really. However, the offer is too good to pass up – so Kansas here I come.

In the past few days I’ve already started doing some research about how I can possibly entertain myself this winter in the Midwest. At first glance, a small town in Kansas may seem like a downgrade from even Lubbock (which borders New Mexico and is fairly close to Colorado). But, I beg to differ. I’ve found that your surroundings are what you make of them. Now this post is not being written just to make me feel better, but my point is that a new area is a NEW  area, no matter where you end up.

So for those of you who are looking for ways to make the best of your time in a new, flat place – here are a few tips.

Fly-fishing is not just for the mountains. I can speak from experience on this one. While I do agree that there is nothing like trout fishing a stream in the mountains, there are other options too. During my research, I realized that the Midwest actually has rivers, lakes and streams. Bass, crappy or blue-gill fishing can be a very exciting notion. It’s a very different type of fishing that requires patience and accuracy. The town I am moving too (Iola, Kansas, if you’re wondering) has 3 rivers within 5 miles of the town square. I’m sure they are all wrought with all of the fish I could ever want to catch.

I know what you’re thinking – the Midwest actually has a winter. It can be a pretty damn cold one too. I may not be hitting the rivers anytime in December, but there are winter options as well. I’ve been looking at getting into skiing lately, so I decided to look into the often-forgotten sport of cross-country skiing. I was surprised to find that there are numerous flatland skiing clubs throughout the middle of the country. The wooded meadows and rolling hills of Kansas and Nebraska are prime territory for cruising on a pair of skinny skis. One the best aspects is that cross-country skiing is substantially cheaper than anything in an alpine environment – no lines, lift tickets or $10 slices of pizza. I’ll definitely look into making the most out of the sometimes bitterly cold Kansan winters.

Lastly, like I said before, a new area is a NEW area no matter where you are going. I immediately thought I would be moving further and further away from my outdoor hobbies and enthusiasms. Something I forget to mention is that I’m moving 11 hours closer to states I have never been to before. Now the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas are a mere 4 hours away. The badlands of South Dakota and its Black Hills are about 8 hours away. Being put into a new environment will open up a whole new region of the country for me.

All of this being said, I’ll miss the southwest. The eclectic flair of New Mexico, coupled with the colorful hues of the sun rays hitting the mountains will not be forgotten in my mind. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of chances to see this place again, but for now my ice ax and crampons will have to wait. Until then I’ll be fishing for bass in the flatlands and possibly trying out a new way to ski. But, as the flatlanders of Lubbock know firsthand – at least I can look forward to the sunsets.