Sunday, December 15, 2019

Lionel Hampton Trail

ITP. That's "Inside The Perimeter" for anyone not versed in Atlanta Metro slang.

I've been on a local exploration kick for a while now, and after spending the last few weekends in the Cohuttas, some local exploration was a welcome diversion today. I've heard there's plenty of ITP singletrack, if you know where to find it. I don't, per-se, but I know how to find stuff... so maybe I do?


There's this paved trail called the Lionel Hampton Trail meandering around the Atlanta West Side. I kind-of knew where it was from exploring other paved trails in the area. Considering the green space it runs through, I figured that by exploring it, I might encounter some of that ITP singletrack along the way.

Let's find out.

I took Veterans to Bolton, to Browntown, to Hollywood, to Gun Club, and up through the cemetery there. Got chased by a pit bull on the back side, but he was cool. Cool enough, at least. He didn't bite me. Back to Hollywood, left on Jefferson... And, finally on to an actual trail, paved though it may be - Proctor Creek. Three ladies were pushing cruisers up that mean hill near the quarry. They looked unhappy. It's a tough hill. No shame in pushing. I rode it, but I hope I looked like I was suffering adequately to reassure them.

Before long I was on Bankhead (or Hollowell as it's called these days), and I forget what road I took over to Lena. That's where I began my exploration for real. I'd been there before, exploring the beltline, but not that far down. I hoped to hit the Path right where it started. It looked like I did, judging by the width of the sidewalk, but Google alleges the trail goes farther east than what I rode. If it does, then they're just calling the sidewalk a trail.

I don't think I was on the Lionel Hampton Trail itself at that point, but I was on some Path trail, and it ran through this cute little park just past the beltline.

Ella Mae Wade Brayboy Park.

That's a lot of names. I guess it's fitting though, because she did a lot of stuff.

I felt bad that the first named had been vandalized on the memorial sign.

What weirdo reorganizes the letters? Oddly specific vandalism.

There was a little spur trail through that park, and I felt compelled to ride it.

From there, I continued west, ended up in some other park - Mozley Park, and followed the Path through that too. Some guys were playing basketball on one court. Some individual guy was hitting a tennis ball against a wall in another court. It was nice to see people out. It wasn't exceptionally cold, but if it gets below 60, people like to stay indoors around here.

From there I took some roads over to Anderson Park

...and picked up the Lionel Hampton there again. This section looked like it got less traffic that the other sections.

I say that, but I actually ran into a guy walking there. First trail user I'd seen yet that day.

About halfway through the park I noticed a little singletrack spur leading right. Success. ITP singletrack.

It basically led up to some old abandoned school, which I later found was named Anderson Park School. Specifically, it led to the old softball field, and then eventually out to the road. It's always weird to see a closed school. You don't see it very often. I think the last one I saw was in Waleska, and it was falling apart. This one still looked pretty intact. Still weird though.

It seems like I was on neighborhood roads for a while after that. I remember going under I-20, right on MLK, and left on Willis Mill. At the end of Willis Mill, it just becomes the trail again. This time though, it led through Lionel Hampton Park itself.

Almost immediately I spotted some singletrack off to the right. It was red-blazed, but otherwise unsigned. Someone had leaf blown it too. I'm not generally a fan of that, except for very well built, very popular trails, even had a discussion with a buddy about it recently, but people like to do it. In this case, if they hadn't, I don't know if I'd have been able to discern some of the trails until next summer. So, like it or not, it was helpful today.

There was a whole trial system back in there.

Some of the trails led down to various nasty creeks.

There's kind of a main route through there though, and it would be fun to ride as a side trail off of the greenway.

The greenway itself was marked confusingly.

It's referred to as the Lionel Hampton Trail these days, but it was apparently part of the Westside Trail at some point, and still marked as such. I'm not sure where mile 6 comes from either. Maybe it was 6 miles from the start on Lena Road, including all of the sections on pavement.

There was more paved trail in the area, but it was getting late enough that if I didn't start heading back, I wouldn't make it in time for dinner, so I called it a day. I managed to take a shortcut back home and make it by 6PM, but it turned out my family had already ordered pizza, not sure whether I even intended to make it or not. Well, you guys have fun with that, I'm getting Mexican from El Solecito. Camarones al Ajillo! Delicioso.

No comments:

Post a Comment