Tuesday, August 2, 2011

George Pierce Park

During one of my earlier expeditions to the Suwanee area earlier this year, I ran across George Pierce Park, which I recognized from a GPS track that I got from my buddy Tim a while back. The GPS track was incomprehensible, but sometimes a little context can turn that around, so I kept meaning to get back there to ride around and check it out. Today I did just that.

I figured I'd ride out there on the road bike and if the trails ended up being too rough, I'd bail and ride up to Buford instead.

 George Pierce Park

There turned out to be a fairly extensive system of paved trails throughout the park, kind of like Sims Lake, but more miles.

They mostly looked like this.


There were several loops with little connectors to parking lots or neighborhoods. It was confusing at first, but eventually I got the lay of the land.

There was a pond.


There were ducks in the pond.


I passed another guy on a bike who was out exploring too, and a dozen or so joggers, a few times each, which must have made them wonder what the heck I was up to.

There's a hill you have to climb to get out of the back of the park that's really long and steep. I ended up standing in the granny for about half of it.

I got slightly lost toward the back of the park and ended up on what turned out just to be a walkway to some ball fields. They were building a new field back there, or renovating an old one.

 New Ball Field

One section of trails was blocked off and marked closed due to new construction, so I didn't go that way, but then when I got to the back there was a different sign, saying "Trail closed ahead" and there was nothing blocking the trail. I figured "Ok, ahead of me somewhere, the trail will be closed" and continued.

The trail was mostly a boardwalk through some wetlands.


When I stopped to take that shot, a deer jumped up out of the weeds to the right of me. It was so big and loud that the idea of an alligator sprung to mind before I had a chance to turn and see what it really was. I'm glad it wasn't an alligator. Not that we have those up here anyway.

There were two overlooks that gave a good view of a marshy pond.

 Swamp - Lower Deck

 Swamp - Upper Deck

When I got to the second overlook, as soon as I stopped, dozens of turtles fell off of their respective logs into the water.

The trail ultimately led out to the Suwanee Creek Greenway. You could ride all the way out to the end of the bridge, but a plywood blockade prevented you from getting off and going the additional foot and a half to the Greenway itself.

I backtracked and took the only intersecting trail, which led directly to that first closure. Come on! What's up with blocking the trail at one end but not the other? If you want people to actually stay off, you have to block all of the entrances or at least put up unambiguous signage. I guess by "Trail closed ahead" they meant that the trail was closed ahead of that exact point. Perhaps just "Trail closed" would have been a better choice of words. Ugh.

I didn't realize how long I'd spent rolling around in the park, and it was getting late. When I first left the house, I'd ridden over to Reality to get a new back tire, then ridden out to Suwanee, then explored all over the park. I'd meant to stay out for about two hours, but it was already pushing 2:45 and I still needed to get back.

Traffic was backed up on Suwanee Dam Road and I ended up riding past hundreds of cars. It was a bit of a grind from the river to the house, but fortunately the traffic wasn't bad at all through there.

All right. Not a bad ride. I think I'll lay off tomorrow and maybe try to go fishing again or something.

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