Monday, December 14, 2009

Harbins/Alcovy Park

This past Saturday the girls and I went back to Harbins Park. I say "back". I went back, they'd never been there before. I'd been there with my dad a few weeks earlier and we'd ridden all the bike trails, but the park has horse and hiking trails too and I can't let those go unexplored.

The weather was terrible; 36 degrees and sort-of sprinkling. That sprinkle where you can see the rain in the air, but if you look at your clothes, you can't see that any has actually landed on you. Misting may be a better word. Whatever you call it, it was cold and wet.

We took a shortcut up over a meadow to the trail and started walking.

 The Girls on the Harbins Hiking Trail

The trail was mostly like this:

 Harbins Hiking Trail 1

Barely worn in, incredibly twisty. So twisty that I could only tell where we were by comparing the terrain to a topo map. Trying to follow along on the map I picked up at the trailhead was almost impossible.

The cold was really getting to the kids; their fingers and toes were getting numb. They were wearing fleece-lined tights, but no socks over them. We dug around in their packs but all we had was 1 sock and a bag of candy. Iz put the sock on one foot and used the candy bag as a sock for the other foot. I tore the top half of the bag off, tore that in two and wrapped each piece around Sophie's toes. It worked, the plastic reflected heat back and their feet warmed right up. Their fingers were another matter. I unconsciously make fists and pull them into my jacket sleeves to keep warm. It was working for me. I showed them how to do it, but it was awkward and they decided they'd rather just be cold.

There was this cool boardwalk about a third of the way through the trail, with a good view of some slickrock and the Alcovy River. I should have taken a shot of the view too.

 The Girls on the Harbins Boardwalk

Other than that, there wasn't much to see.

I'd guesstimated about 2 and a half miles of trail, but I was way off. Around mile marker 3, the girls had had enough of the cold and rain. Our original plan was to hike the trail, then ride bikes on the Meadow Loop, but they were saying that they just wanted to go home. That was good, because as long as the trail was turning out to be, we probably wouldn't have had time to ride anyway.

I could see the hill we needed to climb over to get to the car, but every time we'd start heading toward it, the trail would switch back on itself and go the other way. This was seriously pissing Sophie off and she was almost crying...

"I hate this trail! More than any other trail, I hate this trail! It keeps turning the other way! Why does it keep turning the other way?!"

It was sad, but it was also really funny and me and Iz had to keep from laughing. Iz could see the hill too, but when we tried to show Sophie, she was like:

"What hill?! All I see is trees! There's just trees everywhere! Everywhere!"

I tried to show her how you could see the sky through the trees and make out the outline of the hill but she wasn't hearing it.

"What are you talking about?!!! The sky is everywhere! It's just the air, there's 2 trees right there with sky between them!"

I was like "No, look way through the trees, see how you can see the edge of the sky right there?"

"What are you talking about?!!! The sky is everywhere! The sky doesn't have an edge!"

Well, I can't argue with her there. Technically, there the sky doesn't have an edge. I tried to explain that it was the horizon, but she had a different idea of what the horizon was, and I was really just making things worse trying to explain it. Eventually I just told her that some days are hard and you just have to push through them. We all had to push through that one.

When we finally got out, 4.75 was written on the pavement at the edge of the trail. I guess it's 4.75 miles long; way longer than the 2 and a half I'd figured.

Back at the parking lot, the girls warmed up in the bathroom and I struck up a conversation with the only other guy in the Atlanta area fool enough to venture out in that kind of weather. He lived nearby and told me all kinds of things about the park. Apparently it was once owned by the farmer next door. The land had been condemned and the county paid 18 million for it. A serial killer was caught down by the shoals a long time ago. Back when the dirt roads were driveable, the rock face and the shoals were a popular teen hangout. There are the ruins of an old mill, a two chimney homestead and a moonshine still on the property too.

That last bit piqued my interest. When I come back to hike the horse trails, I'm definitely going to check those out. Next time I just hope the weather is better.

1 comment:

  1. David , I know some more stories about the place and also love the history and searching the trails.

    I would be glad to give you a tour in the park. Just email me