Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bowman's Island (East Side)

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Having completely scoured the Chattahoochee River Recreation Area west of the river, north of highway 20, today the girls and I turned our attention to the east side of the river. I assumed that since Island Ford Road leads into the area, that it was the Island Ford Area. Turns out that no, there is an Island Ford Area, but it's way closer to Atlanta. This area is just more Bowman's Island. Whatever, new trail, I'm checking it out.

We drove in on Island Ford Road, passed the Island Ford Church, est. 1831 and parked here.

 1 - Island Ford Road Trailhead

Just up the road was another trailhead. I wonder why the main gate is closed? Seems like there's a much better parking area by this trailhead. Maybe delinquents parked there at night and bothered the folks who's houses back up to the road. Who knows.

 2 - Old Island Ford Road Trailhead

The trail was a typical troad. Ie. old-road-turned-trail. Kind of cool though. If the church was established in 1831, this trail could easily be that old or older.

Almost immediately we made our first discovery. An old well maybe?

 3 - Old Well

Classic troad feature; just a little below grade :)

 4 - Old Island Ford Road 1

Second discovery. An old rock wall. Perhaps there had once been a house here.

 5 - Rock Wall

The girls had been less than ecstatic about having to go running around in the woods. But they always get into it once we're actually there.

 6 - The Girls

Third discovery! Definitely an old homesite. This is a crumbled chimney. Rock piles that had supported the corners of the house were clearly visible nearby, and it had been built under a large tree for shade.

 7 - Old Homesite

Found some rock piles up on a ridge, further down the trail. I thought they might be old ruins as well, but upon closer examination, I couldn't be sure what they were.

 8 - Rock Piles

The trail had been following a ridge, but eventually dove down into the flatts of Richland Creek...

 9 - Old Island Ford Road 2

...and bent back north along the river. The girls were begging for a break. We took a little trail out to the river and climbed down a gnarly embankment.


Kind of spooky.

 10 - Girls at the River

Iz slipped on some slickrock, almost saved it, but not quite, and slammed on her right hamstring. She was unhappy at first, but the edge wore off and soon she and Sophie were just snacking away.

 11 - Iz Snacking

 12 - Sophie Snacking

We were digging the view, when the wind picked up a bit and we heard a roaring sound. At first I thought maybe they'd released some water from the dam, but then I realized it was coming from downriver. The trees down that way were really swinging. And in a few seconds it started to rain.

Rather than scramble back up the bank, we walked up a little feeder creek back to the trail. For some reason, walking up the creek creeped the girls out. Maybe it was because it was so far below grade, maybe because it was narrow. Whatever it was, it took a lot of encouragement to get them to keep going. Before long we were on the trail again.

North or south, though? We could backtrack, but if we kept going along the river, the trail might bend back around and intersect the main trail. I'd seen a couple of spur trails leading away from it earlier. Worst case, we could cut cross-country. North it is.

The rain was really coming down. Iz came up with this idea.

 13 - Girls in the Rain

The trail was becoming a "trail", and we had to step gingerly around some slick washouts.

 14 - Old Island Ford Road 3

Eventually a spur led north up along a feeder creek. I figured this would tee back into the main trail. Much of this trail was what my brother calls three-quarter track. Ie. it was well defined, but only about one footstep wide, on a sideslope.

I was impressed with how well the girls negotiated the washouts and this trail. No slips, no falls. Nice job.

 15 - Creekside Trail

Yay, the trail went exactly where I'd hoped it would. It wasn't raining any more, but the trees were dripping and we were soaked. Sophie was complaining about wanting to be home, so I put her up front and she led us back to the truck.

Blah. I'm going to have to remember to check the weather forecast next time.

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