HARKER HEIGHTS — As I stood at 850 feet above sea level, I took in the astonishing view of Stillhouse Hollow Lake from the top of Dana Peak. 

The current pandemic is consequently forcing the world to distance themselves from each other. As a result, activities are limited. During this time many have either found themselves spending countless hours on the couch or rediscovering their love for old pastimes. During the last month, I’ve taken in twice the amount of vitamin D than usual.

Recently, my husband has been on a fitness frenzy and we’ve been hiking or rucking every weekend for the last month. After a hike or ruck, my husband and I usually go for a swim or enjoy lunch by the lake. In the last month, we have spent more time outside enjoying the fresh air than we have in the last six months. It’s been a nice break and we’ve fully taken advantage of social distancing. Unfortunately, due to life’s responsibilities and “adulting,” my husband and I have only visited this park a handful of times.

The lake, owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was created in 1968, along with the Stillhouse Hollow Dam. The park spans across 600 acres and has a 6.8 mile trail loop. The park is located on the 58-mile shoreline of the 6,430-acre lake. The guidelines for the park have been set by the International Mountain Bicycling Association and can be found on the trail board, at the trails’ starting point. As a guideline for the park, visitors should stay on the trails. The park has six different trails, each with its own level of difficulty—but of course, the trails with the best view are the most difficult. By the time my husband and I reached the 850 foot elevation point, I was completely out of breath.

My husband and I usually marinate ourselves in sunblock and/or DEET 40 before starting our ruck or hike. I recommend wearing shoes with grip soles when running or hiking because we have slipped on loose gravel more than once. Also, we always carry a water source and wear comfortable athletic attire.

Approximately 30 minutes from Fort Hood, Dana Peak Park is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is located in Harker Heights at 3800 Comanche Gap Rd. Dana Peak Park is a great location for a variety of outdoor activities and it’s free. For more information on Dana Peak Park or recreational parks, visit www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds.