I was introduced to the Randolph park through a trail running club, of which I am a member. I was really impressed with all aspects of the park right from the moment I pulled into the parking lot. It felt like I was getting a hug from nature as I was greeted by the beautiful, white moss covered trees. A wide spread plot of land with a multitude of activity areas fenced by trees and creeks. There are a couple of large parking lots, and the running trail loops the park area with routes sprouting off of the main loop cutting through the center of the park; meandering between playgrounds and picnic benches, tennis courts, soccer, football, and baseball fields, and friendly strangers. And although I did not get to linger in the herb garden (my children insisted on spending extra time on the slide and swings) I felt a little giddy when i came across this lovely little corner of color and unexpected whimsy. Thank you; to the creative folks that came up with that idea, and the designers for making it ever so inviting. I look forward to going back for a trail run and a picnic under the trees in the herb garden.
I don't want to be misleading with my introductory description; It is a size that no matter where you stand; at any one time the opposite side of the park remains visible. I especially appreciate that every square foot of the park has been utilized, providing something for all types of park patrons.
Trail Running Rubric Randolph Park
|1 low quality||2 average quality||3 best quality||Score|
|cost||expensive, charge per individual||small fee||free||3|
|trail length||requires laps to get adequate workout||1 mile minimum||loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum||3|
|trail material||broken sidewalk cement, grass||gravel, dirt, sand||paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc)||3|
|trail width||hardly large enough for single||single but easy to pass||double wide, easy to pass, side by side||2|
|bugs||doused in bug repellent and still leave itchy, mouth closed breathing||carry bug spray, could get on with out it, possibly leave with a couple of bug bites||like being indoors, a pretty butterfly would be a treat||3|
|view||grimy, no greenery, no tree cover from sun and wind, no visual appeal in the distance or directly near by||visual appeal either in the distance or directly near by, some greenery, some tree cover from sun and wind||visual appeal both in the distance and near by, green, seasonal foliage, tree cover from sun and wind||3|
|crowd (quantity)||too many people to maneuver as desired||some passing required but doable||comfortably populated||3|
|crowd (culture)||hobo community directly off path, rude or abrasive individuals||people keep to their self, not negative and not positive interactions with individuals||friendly individuals on and off the trail, smiles of encouragement, helpful if needed||3|
|cleanliness||nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell||trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics||spotless, clean||2|
|safety||not getting out of the car, too dangerous||share trail with bikers, some risk due to wildlife, surprise dark and scary and secluded tunnel or bridge, poor upkeep of trail material or signs||minimal risks, visible security/police, well maintained trail material and signs||3|
|parking||sparsely spots available in trail lot, street parking, may have to hike to trail, charge to park||adequate parking in trail lot, some hike required to get to trail||adequate parking in trail lot, no hike to trail||3|
|amenities||not encouraging the hanging out in any way||limited water, limits to any desired amenity||toilets, benches, workout section, water||3|
Randolph Park Running Trail scores a delightful 34 out of a possible 36! There of course are variables like bugs which may come and go with weather changes. It was not very humid on the morning I went, and in fact a light sprinkle prompted an end to the kids swinging. While there is ample parking, there may be days and times where the parking becomes scarce due to those attending an activity at one of the field sports, or a tennis match. I felt my children and I were safe, especially after seeing a couple of sheriff's patrolling. The occasional trash nothing more than a deflated balloon, or old soda can, located on the far side of the park in the grill and picnic area which has a view of a run off creek which butts up to a neighborhood. I could see a small footpath running parallel and on the opposite bank of the creek. It appeared that some might could gain access to the other side and explore further, but it was clearly unsafe for me and my stroller. (I am not condoning jumping the creek! PLEASE BE SAFE!) There was also a clearing I was curious to explore on the side near the sports fields, looked like a wood frame hanging swing was situated right in the middle. It was less than inviting with a maintenance man riding a lawn mower in that vicinity. All in all a wonderful trail running experience for the whole family.
I look forward to going back to Randolph Park and as summer sets in here in the Houston area, the trees will make for an enjoyable trail running experience. I hope you can get out and try Randolph park for one of the many great features and see how the Trail Running Rubric can be useful to you!
Happy Trails (running)!!
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