Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hike Report: O. C. Fisher Lake Dam

While hiking in certain areas of San Angelo State Park, we could see people walking, jogging, and riding bicycles atop the dam. So, we investigated and have recently begun walking on the O. C. Fisher Dam in San Angelo. Now, such a walk really isn't a hike, at least, not in my book. But, I'm going to treat it as such today.

The dam is accessed off Mercedes Street in northwest San Angelo. A gate blocks access so that cars can not drive out on the dam. However, there is an open gate for pedestrians and bike riders.

Gate at southern end of O.C. Fisher Dam
The surface is paved and flat, an ideal environment for bike riders. Mileage is spray-painted on the surface so that you know how far you have gone. The farther out you venture, the more the weeds and grass have encroached on the roadway so that the walking area is narrower at 2 miles than it is at the beginning.

On the day I took these pictures, we went out 1.5 miles and returned for a 3 mile total. It was a warm day, very clear and sunny, but the wind was blowing a steady 20 mph or so atop the dam. A road runner (chaparral) darted across our path about a quarter mile out. On a previous trip in the early morning, we saw deer grazing on both sides of the dam.

This is a great walking environment because there is no traffic, and the views are great. So, no more talking from me, I'll just show you some pictures.

As REK says, the road goes on forever. It's straight for about 1.75 miles before curving left.
This shot shows the curve of the dam as well as its height.
Mileage spray-painted on the surface.

Near the curve, you can see a bit of water in the lake. The paved area at the lower left is a boat launch in the park. Bring your boat and let's go skiing. All the area to the left (west) is San Angelo State Park.

This photo shows 2 separate camping areas in the park. In an ideal world, they would be separated by an arm of the lake. Notice the mesas in the far background. I do love this country, as rough as it can be.
Downtown San Angelo. We don't have many tall buildings, but we do have a lovely and active downtown district along the North Concho River.

It's a mile and a half back to the gate. Notice how the grass has encroached on the pavement a few feet as compared to the pictures as the top.
Numerous soccer pitches line the east side of the dam.

As we approached the gate at the completion of our hike, we noticed some activity. A vehicle had pulled up to the gate, and I could see people dashing about. As we reached the gate, we saw a young woman lying on her back at the bottom of the east side of the dam. Apparently, she had attempted to ride her back through the narrow gate and lost control, causing her to tumble down the slope. We offered our assistance but were told all was being done. As we were leaving the area, we met an ambulance that had been called to the scene. It kind of reminded us of our trip to McKinney Falls State Park just over a year ago when a young lady tumbled down some rocks and had to be rescued.

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