Friday, March 25, 2011

Settles Bridge Park

I had the day off of work today. It would have been great to get up early and adventure myself all over the place, but I slept and slept. At 2PM I finally rolled out of bed. First stop: Dutch Monkey. Second stop: Fantastic Sams. I needed a haircut. Third stop: Shipping Post to mail out the Spot Tracker I used for the Huracan. Sorry to send it back so late Matt. I hope it's better late than never. Fourth stop: Settles Bridge Park. I discovered it last weekend. It's nearby. There are trails there. I am compelled to set foot or tire on all trails. Allons-y.

 Park Sign

Settles Bridge Park has a basketball court, several playgrounds, a dog park, what looked like 5 miles of trails and a skatepark. A skatepark. My mind kept wandering in the direction of buying a 20 inch bike and a skateboard and reliving my teenage years. I quit riding when my bike got stolen for the second time and quit skating when I ended up spending more time healing than skating. I'm wiser now and I think I could keep myself from getting that hurt again, but for the time being, I just have to tell myself not to do it.

The first trail was a paved, multi-use trail leading north from the lot, past the dog park and down across a couple of creeks. There, it turned to dirt, or more precisely, bark. There were a couple of more primitive spurs though, one of which led down to the Chattahoochee.

 Chattahoochee River

There was a monument of sorts as well. Thanks Stemblers!


One of the trails had this weird feeder off to the side.


I guess it's a feeder. It had a big tub under it. Despite the roof though, the tub was full of leaves and nasty water.

No bikes or horses on this trail.

 No Bikes No Horses

The sign was in a weird place though, way at the back. There was no sign at the end of the multi-use trail or any of its intersections. I assume the trails are hike-only, but it doesn't actually say except way at the back there, and only in that one spot. It's actually aimed in a funny direction too, toward the NRA. No bikes or horses are allowed there either though. Strange.

There were 3 different kinds of trails there: a paved multi-use trail, big wide, bark-covered, mostly-sidehill trails...


...and some more singletrackish type stuff. One had a strange rock wall along both sides for a long way.

 Rock Wall Trail

I walked all over the place - every trail, and I passed a lot of people coming the other way. It was nice to see so many people out and about. I saw a couple of interesting things.



As I've said before... harbinger of my deliverance - I'll be over my pear and cherry allergies soon.



I saw a good bit of it out there. It's all over Sawnee Mountain and I've always thought that it couldn't be indigenous. Maybe it is though. I've seen it in various places around the Chattahoochee.


 Buckeye Flowers

The first real green of the season. The hillside was covered with it.

The map showed a little dot on the top of a hill, along an old roadbed or trail, which the park trail now followed. That usually signifies a house or structure. All I could find there was a flat spot and some debris.

 Ruins or Dumping

A washtub.


I thoroughly exploring the marked trails and a couple of spurs. There was only one spur that I hadn't checked out yet. It led down along a creek that the girls and I had walked up along last weekend.


Before long, I recognized the trail. There was a parallel trail on the other side. I followed it, and it led to another network of trails to the north. One of them was a loop. It looked a like an old roadbed, maybe where they'd wanted to build a neighborhood, ages ago, but I didn't see where connected to any actual road. Weird.

Of course, there was garbage, I mean artifacts, chucked off to the side. A big ass tank, of some kind...


There were some white-tailed deer walking around in the middle of the loop. I ended up walking all the way around them. There's one in the dead middle of this shot, but it's really hard to see.


I saw part of a TV show or movie or something when I was a kid where this guy was talking about an "Indian Runner" I think. He'd go out in the woods and run a deer in circles until it wore out and he could just walk up and kill it. That always seemed ridiculously impossible to me, but after watching the deer for a few minutes, I can at least see how a tale of doing it might have been spun. If you get close enough to a deer, it gets spooked and runs away hard, but not too far. If you keep spooking it, it keeps running, and it always run hard, but never too far. I wonder if a fit enough person, in an open enough forest, in the right terrain, couldn't run a lone deer around for a long time. Maybe there's something to that story. Hmmm.

The woods out there was kind of odd; old pine trees down everywhere. What it looked like, and this is a totally amateur assessment, is that the land had been cleared for farming - some of the hills were terraced - and nothing but pine grew back, then the beetles got them - gazillions of tiny holes in the deadfall - and in most places, hardwoods have been grown up between the corpses. There's a section in the Bowmans Island unit that looks similar. There were a few stands of healthy pine though, and a few places with virtually no deadfall at all, just what looks like normal secondary growth. Maybe that land was never cleared, or more than just pine grew back.

It was getting late, the fat old sun was hanging low, the girls would be back from gym and dance soon and Kathryn would have dinner ready. I'd only eaten a chocolate twist all day. My blood sugar was low. I headed back.

It wasn't the greatest adventure of all time, but it definitely got the job done. I'm not sure what else I'll be able to get in this weekend, it's supposed to rain - 80% chance. Next weekend is the Trillium Trek though, that ought to be pretty good.

1 comment:

  1. Easily one of the best parks in Gwinnett! It's always good to get on Blue Trail and enjoy the far back side of the park... I USED to enjoy walking the trails at the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center/Ivy Creek but they have DESTROYED the beauty of that land! The man who donated this land in his last will and testament did so to be preserved and to be a place that people could enjoy nature and the outdoors, and instead they've turned it into more of an amusement park in the past 2 years. It's really sad....