So Saturday I had the big plan to load up the road bike, my rear wheel off the mountain bike, and my trail tools and head up to Milton for the Saturday Blackwater ride. I arrived at the trail head ready to go and shortly we were off, destination and distance unknown. I got to chat with several people I hadn’t seen in a while and I got to ride in the beautiful springtime weather. I’m sorta out of shape plus I did two hard days on the mountainbike last week so the 50 miles we rode was pretty tiring but I hung in there and finished up around 11:30. I changed out of my wet clothes and grabbed my rear wheel and took it over to Victor to get him to restring it. It should be ready this coming weekend so I get to repeat this weekend again. Next I grabbed a burger and fries from the quickie food stand at the trail head. I sat and enjoyed it at the picnic table where all the other riders were lingering. I can’t believe no one else got a burger as it’s all I could think about. As I sat there I saw four different sets of touring bike groups. Pretty amazing as I’ve been looking into (just reading lots of blogs, no real effort) doing some bike packing or touring. Soon I was on my way to do some trail work. As I passed the main gate I noticed they were doing some work out there and I assumed they were fixing the road since it’s pretty washed out. I grabbed my tools and backpack and headed out into the woods where I worked two turns and instead of discarding to dirt, I piled it on the trail creating some ‘water bars’ in a poor imitation of the Munson Hills trail. The mounds will mellow after the first good rain and a few people ride over them. It was labor intensive and I only put in 4 hours. After I finished I went to check out the construction of the road. What they were doing instead of road fixin’ was fuel wood cuttin’. A large swath of land around Porcchop was mowed down. They pretty much gyrotrac and then cut down anything that’s not a pine tree. It wasn’t pretty but I did see where they worked around the trail, leaving a 10′-20′ buffer on both sides. So the trail is safe except for a few places they cut across but it isn’t the same as before so be prepared. The road going in is a large sandpit that will have to be addressed by the Forestry Department. I’ll see how much they cut this weekend when I head back up.
Steve and I finally made it over to Tallahassee to ride at Tom Brown Park and at Munson Hills. I wanted to go help out last year when Trail Dynamics was doing a major reworking of the park but I got sick and missed out. They are back again but I have so much to do while the weather is nice. Anyway we hit the Magnolia loop and the Cadillac Trail. They did a great job of taking a confusing and choppy trail and making it fun and flowy. There were some sections missing but I thing the county has taken over some areas for new buildings. I didn’t miss them until after we were done riding. We ran into a local and he told us that there are many greenways around town with trails that can all be connected together for 60-80 miles of riding. Sweet. They might try to do an Ididaride type event in the near future.
Next we headed over to Munson Hills which is a trail in the Apalachicola National Forest. I had heard it was flat and sandy and not worth the drive but Trail Dynamics had been working on it and it’s pretty much the same type of terrain as Blackwater, pines and wire grass. The trailhead was easy to find but we were under the impression that you had to ride down the St. Marks rails-to-trails about a mile or so to get to the actual trail. Well I guess the new plan is to start at the parking area where we were and follow the orange trail through the woods. They have created a red clay causeway that rode like pavement and was constantly changing with banked turns and small rollers. Lots of fun.A lot of work went into making this trail nice. And a lot of red clay. We did part of the Munson loop, then hit the west connector that took us to the Twilight Trail. They haven’t done hardly any work on that section so it was just a trail through the woods. I was getting tired by that point so it wasn’t very epic but I think it would be a great after work aerobic workout. The Twilight Trail makes a big loop back to the west connector. We hooked back up with the Munson Trail and rode the sweetness back to the car. They still have a lot to do but what they had done was amazing. And it’s an all skill levels trail so you can creep along taking in the sights or go wide open and flow through the woods. We ran into Ed of Trail Dynamics and he got a picture of us and we tried chatting him up some but his riding buddy had diarrhea of the mouth and wouldn’t shut up so I’ll just email him any questions I have. It’s a great trail but not real diverse. I’ll check it out again next year and see what they’ve accomplished.