Saturday, November 14, 2020

More Local Discoveries

Well, it's mid-November, and between selling our rent house, and too much work, I've really only had time to ride locally. But, I still managed to see some interesting stuff... Here goes!

This cool guy was hanging out on the side of the Silver Comet - Beltine Connector.

Brown Water Snake

Brown Water Snake or Banded Water Snake? They look really similar, and their ranges overlap right at Atlanta - Browns to the north and Bandeds to the South. Herpetologists comment please!

On another trip out to Austell, I found some sewer lines in the vicinity of Sweetwater Creek. It looks like there's a ton more of them in satellite photos, but I kept running into Private Property signs when I tried. I did find an exercise loop in the woods around a middle school out there.

VitaCourse 2000!

VitaCourse 2000

Most of the exercise stations were slightly overgrown, or in disrepair. It looks like people just walk/jog/ride the trail these days.

At some point, I had to bring something to Kathryn at work, and I ended up driving past it. I'd once noticed an old railbed back there that looked rideable, and figured I'd check it out on the bike some day. On that day, I noticed that it had been paved, beltline-style. Hmmm...

Next chance I got, I rode out there and checked it out. Turns out it's the Westside Beltline Connector.

Westside Beltine Connector

It wasn't finished when I rode it, and it's not immediately clear how it will eventually connect up to anything in either direction. It does end in the vicinity of the Proctor Creek Trail on the west end, so maybe it'll eventually connect up to that. On the east/south end, it's like a half mile from the Beltine, but who knows? I'm sure there's a plan. I'll go check it out again soon.

There's a park semi-nearby called Shoupade Park that I've long wanted to check out, ever since finding a "Shoupade" at River Line Park. Some time ago, I rode over there.

Shoupade Park Sign

Yep. Several more Shoupades.

First Shoupade Second Shoupade Artillery Redan

You can see Atlanta from the ridge.

ATL From the Ridge

And, there's this chimney and smoker that might be old.

Chimney and Smoker

Kinda hard to tell.

I also made it out to Sweetwater Park, not to be confused with Sweetwater State Park, and milled around old trails in the woods surrounding it for a while. It looks like there were, at some point, some semi-official trails back in there. Some of them are still mostly-passable, but trees fell, never got cut out, and it looks like the trails were mostly forgotten. The neighborhood next door - Holly Hills Lake was a bit more interesting. There used to be a connector trail over to it, but a storm had knocked out a little bridge on it too. The locals seemed to still use the part between the neighborhood and the creek, but the trail on the other side was super overgrown.

The "lake" part of the neighborhood name was intriguing, and yep, there was a lake:

Holly Hills Lake Dock Holly Hills Lake Dock Sign Holly Hills Lake

The neighborhood looked a little run-down, and there were a couple of completely abandoned houses.

Abandoned House Near Holly Hills Lake

But it didn't seem unafe or anything.

Way cooler though, was a blocked-off road a bit further down the main street.

Back up in there I found a bunch of ruins...

Mitchell Lane Area Ruins 1 Mitchell Lane Area Ruins 2 Mitchell Lane Area Ruins 3 Mitchell Lane Area Ruins 4 Mitchell Lane Area Ruins 5

...and a series of ponds...

Mitchell Lane Area Ponds

...and what looked like maybe where there was a kiln or something?

An overheated iron bar:

Overheaded Iron Bar

Some glass:


Some vitrified concrete:

Vitrified Concrete Vitrified Cement

Maybe there was just a huge fire? But, this looks like refractory brick:

Refractory Brick


I managed to get a couple of rides in "down by the river" too. Unfortunately, we'd just had a ton of rain, the river had been well over its banks for days, and I'd gone for a ride through the floodplain a little too early the first time. I had to clear my tires like 10 times in a mile. The second ride went a lot better.


Stans to the Rescue

That's not good. But I'm running tubeless these days, like the entire rest of humanity, and it didn't leak at all. I got Glen to plug it a few days later, and it hadn't leaked a bit.


"Down by the river!"


No van though.

There were displaced bridges everywhere.

Displaced Bridge Bridge Footings Another Displaced Bridge

But the trails were mostly rideable, and it turns out one of them led over to the Whittier Mill Trails, sadly, over one of those knocked-out bridges.

Even more interesting though, was the old brick plant.

Brick Plant Sign

The plant was operated by the Chattahoochee Brick Company from 1878 until the 1970's or 1980's. Until 1908, they heavily employed convict labor under the convict lease system. Standard practice was apparently to work laborers to death and then bury them in unmarked graves. Brick produced by the company during this period was widely used to rebuild Atlanta after the Civil War. What a legacy.

General Shale ran the plant until 2008 when it was shut down and demolished.

Plenty of brick was abadoned in place though.

Abandoned Bricks

And, it looks like some people dumped some cars back there, and then other people had all kinds of fun with them.

Burned-Out Vehicles

I could kind-of make out where the main plant used to be, and there was a giant area covered in waste clay, and another giant area covered in bits of old refactory brick. It definitely bears futher exploration though.

A few days later I was riding on the Silver Comet and saw this decent sized buck just hanging out.

Buck on the Silver Comet

Lots of people walking and riding by. No cares given.

All right then.

On another ride, I smelled a herd of deer well before I saw them. They smelled like horses. I've seen probably a thousand or more deer in the woods, alone, in small groups, and in decent sized herds. Never smelled them before.

And, that's about it for recent local discoveries.

More to come, I'm sure.

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