Thursday, November 26, 2009

Harbins/Alcovy Park

Thanksgiving is a good day to spend with your family. Of course, my family is in Baton Rouge, but my folks are in town, so I'm spending it with them, starting with a ride at Harbins/Alcovy Park with my dad.

I'd never been to Harbins before. I'd heard of it, but never made it out that way. It's out sort of out by Tribble Mill and Yargo.

My dad met me at 10AM and we hit the road. I'd bought some new pedals a few days earlier but forgotten to switch my cleats. My dad worked on them in the car while we drove, but it was a hopeless cause. The bolts were all but welded into the shoes. Fortunately we brought my old pedals as well and I swapped them in the parking lot. I'll have to drill the cleats out or something.

At the trailhead, some guy was parked next to us, sitting in his car, talking to a lady using his hands-free. I couldn't hear what he was saying, but I could hear the other side of the conversation as clearly as if the lady were standing next to me. He did this for about 10 minutes before finally driving away, still talking. It was weird. His windows were up, but I guess in that car, you can just hear the door speakers from the outside really well. He either didn't realize, or didn't care, but it was funny imagining him driving down the street, broadcasting his calls to everybody.

But I digress...

We rode the west side first. Not too much climbing, just twisty singletrack through piney woods. The east side had a little bit of climbing, though not enough to mention really, and again was really just more of the same piney woods. Super fun, but not very scenic. There was one section where we popped out onto the power lines...

 Ridge Run

...but it pretty much looked like this everywhere else.


The map at the trailhead showed the trails we'd just ridden, but there were maps out on the trails that showed new construction to the southeast. We took the paved multi-use trail back around to check them out.

 The Padre on the Multi-Use Trail

At first we were a little confused. The signs pointed toward an old roadbed, which had a locked gate across it. It seemed like maybe we weren't supposed to go there, but there weren't any signs saying "trail closed" or anything. And, we had seen a sign earlier, in a different part of the park, indicating that a different set of trails were under construction, so they appear to make it clear if they don't want you somewhere. There was a trail paralleling the road, but there were large rocks blocking it and the sign didn't point that way. There were plenty of tire tracks though...

Eventually we decided to ride, and later, coming back out we realized you were just supposed to ride over the rocks that we thought were blocking the trail.

Immediately we ran into some cool stuff. Like this shoal on Cedar Creek...

 Cedar Creek Shoals

..and this small falls on a feeder.

 Tiny Falls on Cedar Creek Feeder Stream

The trails were more challenging. More climbing, more technical stuff, and there was a downhill run with jumps and berms.

There was also this cool rock face, which you can ride down part of if you're brave.

 Rock Face at Harbins

We rode a couple of laps back there, then bailed out back to the truck. A front was coming in and it was getting cold and windy, and besides, we had traditional Thanksgiving stuff to attend to.

Nice park though. I'll definitely come back for some hiking and riding with the kids.

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