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This is The Elusive River Park Trail in Sugar Land and it is a wonderful way to get close to nature. While it is challenging to find for outsiders it is the backyard of the River Park subdivision neighbors. River Park Trail runs along the mighty Brazos River between Richmond and Sugarland on either side of 99 Parkway. I can wholeheartedly state, this trail is what I seek when I get out exploring and it is all too rare of an experience here in Houston. Trail entrances are discretely nestled between homes which back up to levees that surround River Park Subdivision preventing flooding when the Brazos River exceeds the banks.The Elusive River Park Trail in Sugar Land

 

The Elusive River Park Trail Rubric

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) 1
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 1
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 ?
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 ?
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 2
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 2
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limited water, limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water 1

The Elusive River Park Trail in Sugarland is actually a struggle to score, virtually impossible using my rubric and perhaps is more of a flaw in my rubric than the trail. The trail still earns a score of 20, without determining a rating for crowd quantity and culture. I left this blank because I did not see another person on the trail to make a crowd judgment. There is evidence people use River Park trails but the only people I saw were in River Park neighborhood just outside the trail. A woman walked her dog, and another neighbor asked how the trail was looking since it was about a month after Harvey and there was significant flooding.The Elusive River Park Trail

Let Me Give You The Breakdown

Cost, is free perhaps residents of River Park pay a maintenance fee with their HOAs? I am curious about that and I would love some input from a resident. Trail length is adequate, with loops and meandering natural paths as well as human-created paths, options seem endless. Trail material is challenging at most levels. Deep leaves, sand, rugged terrain with rocks, it is a workout even at a slow pace. Since I push a double stroller I imagine I struggle more than most might as I trudge along. I also found myself trecking off the intended trails, which is understandable considering the flooded Brazos River passed through the area dragging branches, and creatures, and debris along the trail making it was difficult to identify. This is why I can not provide accurate information about it's normal status is since I have only seen it at it's worst. Not that it was a bad experience, it felt more natural than I expected but was not surprised considering the location. Without a doubt there are bugs, so I covered myself in some Deet. Not my worst bug experience and not really a big deal. I found an unusual red spide with black spikes on it's back in a large web stretched across the trail. It was impossible to miss right at eye level, and while I found it frightfully intimidating I was not hasty in my retreat as I admired it's perseverance as it cut a large twig from her impressive woven home. The view of The Elusive River Park Trail is absolutely magical. Tree covered, trails right on the bank of the Brazos River. Dare I say it provokes a spiritual experience. Which is what I seek when I adventure out into what nature I can find in this big city. It was very clean as far as trash, considering the surging river from the banks, a couple of cans and a tire was really all I noticed. As far as safety, I feel there are some significant risks, which is not just the trail degradation but also the lack of people. I imagine it is not always such a danger, but the water swept tree branches across trails, the debris from the storm made other hazards. I could not see the trail most of the time, and unintentionally wondered off and had to turn around and go back on more than one occasion. The misplaced dirt and tree branches also made it difficult to watch out for some creatures with camouflage defense mechanisms. My heart raced, not just because of my great workout from the steep inclines I pushed my stroller up, but also because I did not feel secure. I suggest go with a group, and I always share my location with my Love and give him a time I will check in. It is absolutely worth visiting, but do take precautions. Parking is free, but it is in front of homes in a neighborhood. It is not much of a hike from the various trailheads, to an appropriate spot on the street. Amenities, there nearly are none. No bathroom, but the nearest city park in Sugar Land; Memorial/ Brazos River Park does have some creature comforts which I use before I head out into the wilderness of River Park Trail. There are some benches and some maps and trail name signs.  Just no real accommodations so come prepared.The Elusive River Park Trail

I am thorough and not brief, but I hope you find the information about The Elusive River Park Trail useful and occasionally entertaining. This is the information I feel I need and wish I had before I get out and explore any trail so it is my goal to give you the details so you can explore safely and confidently! Let me know what you think about The Elusive River Park Trail in Sugar Land or if you want to read about a particular trail!

Happy (Running) Trails!

Priscilla

Explore The Trails at W.G. Jones State ForestWhen you think "Forest" do you think "Houston"? It's not my first thought! Believe it or not, you can Explore the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest located in Conroe it is a reasonably convenient drive just north of Houston. The extensive trail system at WG Jones State Forest is worth exploring whether you run trails like I do, or ride bikes or even horses. With those towering pines, the forest is a nice reprieve from the city and the sun.

Research and Application at the W.G. Jones State Forest

The property is affiliated with the Texas A&M University forestry system and used to determine best practices for trail erosion prevention and park conservation techniques. Markers can be found at various locations along the trails indicating a research site. There is also a ranger station located on the other side of the street from which you find the parking lot. It was closed when we went to Explore the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest.Explore the the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest

What to Expect When You Explore the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest

 

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 3
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 2
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 2

The Trail Running Rubric Breakdown

Cost; free (always worth three points!)

Trail Length; I didn't see every stretch of the trail on the property so I scored it a 3 for length. I have seen according to this site: https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/jones-state-forest/ there are 15 miles of trail total and I am not sure if that counts narrow offshoots from the main trails. I managed much less than that and I want to go back and explore more of the trail systems at W. G. Jones State Forest.

Trail Material; dirt, mostly, some sand, and grass and all reasonably manageable with my double stroller.

Trail Width; While there are some narrow offshoots, the main trail is actually the width of a vehicle with tire tracks indicating wear.

Bugs; present but no swarms. The trail is large enough you don't find those massive spider webs that usually spread across the trails from one tree to another.

View; I always enjoy the sights of tower timbers and the view is very nice and considering most of the area is swampland this area is less swampy.Explore the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest

Crowd (quantity); the trails were comfortably populated not too crowded and not few people. I felt safe.

Crowd (culture); the trail goes were engaged in their hike with their companions, be it horses, dogs, or family and friends.I saw a lot of people with dogs, respectfully, stand at the side of the trail while we passed by. It was a good crowd, and I didn't see anything inappropriate as reported in an article a couple years ago.  ( just do a google search the headline comes up)

Cleanliness; W. G. Jones State Forest has very clean trails. I may have seen an empty water bottle here or there but I didn't feel like it impacted aesthetics. If it bothers you consider taking a bag to pick up the left behind trash. The facility does practice a pack it in, pack it out policy but not everyone can be counted on to pull their own weight, and sometimes we need to pick up their slack. (It will make you feel good to help clean nature since nature can't clean its self.)

Safety; There is always a risk when hiking or trail running in nature but the environment feels safe. Stay aware of your surroundings and have a safety plan. I always share my location when I go on trail runs using my google maps app.

Parking; I found a lot on fm1488, the W.G. Jones State Forest website states there are 3 parking lots. These are dirt lots, and not exactly easy to find when the sign is obscured by some trees.Explore the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest

Amenities; are very limited. Bathrooms are only found at the ranger station across the street. You won't find water fountains or playground facilities, or really any other creature comfort, but plan accordingly to get the most out of your visit to W.G. Jones State Forest. I went on a day when the ranger station was closed, so I did not explore the amenities available.

Explore the Trails at W.G. Jones State Forest

The W.G. Jones State Forest receives a score of 33 out of 36. I enjoyed my time and I will go back to see how much more of the trail I can run. The little ones liked the nature experience and asked a lot of questions. My oldest did not enjoy running (she usually doesn't) and her belligerent protests were the reason we cut the exploring short. Small increments keep us all sane in that situation.

Let me know what you think about the W.G. Jones State Forest when you visit. Or if you have any questions or comments; let me know! I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy (Running) Trails!

Priscilla

If you run in Houston you know or at least have heard of Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area which consists of a magnificent 500 acres that stretch along northwest Houston. So many Houston runners make this their go-to trail, and it makes sense: with it's towering trees and the babbling buffalo bayou you almost forget I-10 is a stone's throw away at times.Terry Hershey Park of the Houston Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explore Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area

While I love getting out for a run I feel even more passionate about getting out on trails that are tree covered especially when it is the middle of Summer and the temperature is in the 90's with a heat index of another 10 degrees due to humidity. Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area is such a great place to meet friends for a run, and of course, it has the necessary amenities for the kids like playgrounds and picnic areas.

Terry Hershey Park Running Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


With so many trails in the Bayou City, how do Houstonians choose? Some prefer proximity and convenience, some require a particular trail material, gravel or asphalt, some people just don't want their car to be broken into, others want a view of the scantily clad. This trail meets my personal standards for comfort and safety while running a trail with my children. Check out the

Terry Hershey Park Running Trail Rubric:

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  3
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  2
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  2
cleanliness nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics spotless, clean 3
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 2
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

Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area overall score is a: 33 which means I will be back to visit the Terry Hershey Park and Running Trail. Since I know many people are too busy to read a detailed rubric itemizing and scoring each characteristic I personally find desirable in a running trail I provide the following summary of the Trail Running Rubric.

12 Reasons to Run Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area:

  1. Free to park free to enter, need I say more?
  2. Trail length is an adequate distance to get a legitimate workout, run out half the distance you care to run and then turn around.
  3. The trail material is a firm asphalt/ cement surface, which some may complain damages the joints, but for me running on loose sand or gravel causes my joints to twist when my foot pushes off and if it is dry conditions I end up sucking in dirt which is kicked up into the air giving me an asthma attack so for me I strongly prefer the trail material at Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area.
  4. The trail width is adequate for my double stroller to pass oncoming runners who are also double stacked.
  5.  Yes, of course, there are bugs, but none chased me aggressively, none ate me, and I didn't choke on any swarms. So good in my book. We did stop on the side of the trail and found ourselves in an ant bed, which required some evasive maneuvers but the kids and I came out bite free.
  6.  Great view. This is subjective no doubt, but for me, I like to see water (trail runs parallel to Buffalo Bayou), I like to see trees, I like to feel the shade of the trees, I like to have some hills for a sprint challenge but they are also a nice change of scenery in this coastal prairie.
  7.  Not too many people and not too few. Sometimes seclusion can be as much a hazard as too many people.
  8. The culture of the trail made me feel safe and comfortable. I didn't see people shooting up or passed out under bridges. People kept to themselves and respectfully scooched over when needed.
  9.  The park and trail both clean, I didn't see trash or graffiti on the trail as far as I made it. I saw trash cans in the park and on the trail.
  10.  Safe park and trail, as far as the trail being maintained. I felt reasonably safe with the crowd. There are bikers so caution is necessary and of course, the chance of some man eating alligator crawling out of the bayou is always on my mind in the Bayou City. The trail was closed at the Eldridge lot due to high water. Some of the reviews I read said the trail does get flooded with even small amounts of rain fall, I suggest following signs and warnings posted. Use common sense as conditions on the trail can change from day to day or even hour to hour.
  11. Parking is found in various places around the Terry Hershey Trail and I always choose a place that has close proximity to a bathroom. It is free to park, and in a lot which had pleanty of spots, I saw a couple of other places to park along the trail.
  12. Amenities are comfortable and maintained. Bathrooms with plumbing, water fountains, benches, gazeebo, picknic tables, playground. Not all parts of the trail have direct access to these creature comforts. I suggest parking at the park on Memorial Dr. for direct access to these things. You will find water, trashes, a shower (I dont know why) toilets and benches along the trail as well.

You should check out Terry Hershey Park Running Trail of the Houston Area and let me know what you think. This is one of those trails I suggest during the Summer months since the sun can get intense and decrease motivation to get out and exercise. Hope it suits you and your trail running needs here in the Houston area.

Happy (Running) Trails!

Priscilla

 

1 Comment

Black Hawk Running Trail of the Houston area nestled in Dixie Farm Road Park and branching off into comfortable neighborhoods is a delightful find. Running trails in the Houston area are plentiful. Finding running trails that provide a runner with some basic amenities is easier said than done. Thanks to my Foursquare app I stumbled across the reviews and found it was a reasonable distance from my house so here we are!

Black Hawk Trail Dixie Farm Road Park

It is nice to see trees!

However, due to the short stature of the pines which line the trail and the gully you will find yourself baking as you stroll along at Black Hawk Trail. Much to my delight, there is a fork in the main loop trail we came across that had some wilderness appeal. Tall trees and thick underbrush. There was the pleasant scent of wood and foliage. It was very nice to experience the reprieve from the scorching sun.

Black Hawk Trail Dixie Farm Road ParkWhen I take my kids on trail runs I usually offer a compromise: First we run the trail, and if everyone is civilized and cooperates, we will stop at the playground.

I like when we can all find an activity at the same place.

Dixie Farm Road Park PlaygroundDixie Farm Road Park not only provides access to Black Hawk Trail but also has bathrooms, a towering playground with a supple fall zone and shade, picnic tables, workout station, and a front porch swing. Something for everyone makes it worth a trip and see how it fits your needs.

 

Check out the Black Hawk Trail Running Rubric:

With an overall score of 29 it is worth another visit in my opinion.

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  2
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 2
crowd (quantity) too many people to maneuver as desired some passing required but doable comfortably populated  2
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  2
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  2
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limited water, limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water  3

So, this is Houston, and in the Bayou City, we are constantly enduring significant heat and humidity. With that being a factor when considering the best trails of the Houston area to get out on especially during the summer I suggest early mornings or a day with a good breeze to help cool you off if you hit Black Hawk Trail.

What do you think about Black Hawk? How does the Trail Running Rubric help you decide where to run?

 

Happy (running) Trails!

Priscilla

 

 

trail runningI 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.  20160303_110739

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)!!
Priscilla
More About Randolph Park

Even More About Randolph Park

The coastal city of Seabrook prides it's self on their community wide, interconnected trail system, with at least 10 miles spanning from one side of the city to the other. While doing research online about local area trails I found this little gem on the city government website; a nature path and running trail and less than an hour from my home. (which I consider a reasonable distance to travel to exercise in nature, especially living in a city where most week day commutes are over an hour) I was very excited to find a place that encouraged trail running and bird watching so conveniently located. Plus, one of my favorite features in nature: water! This is a beautiful coastal view, with trees and wildlife surrounding a lively and fun filled park.

trail running seabrookThe parking lot is packed, but we find a spot next to the buzzards picking through the dumpster. (nature is truely all around us!) I notice an overflow lot outside the park fence for those days when everyone has the same idea to head out to the coastal park. The sounds of the ocean waves as they gently break along the rocks is so soothing I opted not to turn on the music and zone out to the beat. There is the convenience of a park bathroom, which after a 45 minute drive is absolutely necessary. The park looks out on the gulf, picnicing families have overtaken most of the large wooden picnic tables. There are children of all ages running around on the playground and climbing on the hills and tire structures. There are multiple families camped out on the very large doc, fishing, chatting, listening to some rap music, children chase each other with bait fish. We can see a huge white cruise ship going out a few miles down the coast line. We are there at sunset and the sky is beautiful pink and orange framed by white caps of choppy water.  trail runningThe trail directly off the park is gravel and a reasonable width in most areas. There is a small water inlet on one side of the trail, with a fence preventing people from exploring, and a sign warning against it. An enclosed cemetary sits unassumingly on the other side of the trail located toward the from of the trail head, and the front of the park. There is also a sign at the mouth of the trail stating the presence of toothy wildlife, for people to be aware. Tall water grasses, and flowering bushes line either side of the winding trail. Safety markers also are posted periodically throughout the trail, to provide a more specific location for emergency services, in case help is needed. The trail is very relaxing, and my family and I enjoyed the entire visit. We did not feel comfortable running on the trail with the stroller, due to the number of people, and the potential to collide with them coming around a corner blinded by the abundance of follage. It was less than a mile in distance in one direction, and while the city promotes the use of the trails as an interconnected system, it appeared we would have to venture out onto a small road to get to the next gravel trail. My boyfriend and I did not feel comfortable taking the stroller out onto this two lane road, to get to the trail we saw up the road on the way into the park.

20160131_164330_resized I admitted to myself a couple of times, my discomfort in the environment, and I felt unsure about going out with the kids by myself. All of my concerns are completely unfounded, and mostly based on a feeling...and I may also be a wee bit paranoid. When I see a group of people all wearing the exact same color clothing, but not the same like a team or club would wear, I find it kind of suspicious of indicating membership of a gang. I could be very wrong and I do hope that I am wrong. I saw regular patrols by marked police cars, and at no point felt like my life was in danger. I just took note, and spent a bit of time cautiously observing the environment for a change in tone and culture. As the park came around to time to close, I saw an increase in patrolling, and the park goers actively packing up.

Pine Gully Park Trail Running Rubric

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   1 - with potential to expand at risk of safety
trail material broken sidewalk cement, grass gravel, dirt, sand paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc)   2
trail width hardly large enough for single single but easy to pass double wide, easy to pass, side by side   3
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   1
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   2
cleanliness nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics spotless, clean   2 - trail and park clean, but signs, especially the trail map is completely covered
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   2
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

I feel it should be noted, things like bugs, or parking are going to based on day by day conditions. Overall, the trail scores well at a 28 out of a possible 36 points. I would easily return to explore and hang out at the park with the family. I enjoyed the sights of the trail, and my indescribable connection with all things water puts the view far above the rank of 3 for me. I recommend you get out and try it, take the family and your stroller and do some walking or running if you can find the rest of the trails. 😉

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20160131_164220_resizedLet me know what you think and how your visit ranks on the trail running rubric. Hit me up if you have any questions or comments you can reach me at  prenatalmothersfitness@gmail.com or class details at premofitness.com and as always: Happy trails (running)!!

Best Health!

Priscilla

 

1 Comment

trail running with my stroller
Me and my two youngest after a quick neighborhood jog.

Hi All! I am just getting back from my maternity leave, recovery and learning to manage my time. I'm easing back into my workout routine and I want to share my experiences using my stroller on local trails. I have always enjoyed trail running, I especially love it because I can have my children with me while I exercise. They enjoy riding in the stroller, checking out the scene, and feeling the sun on their face and breeze in their hair.

To aid in sharing my experiences on the trails I run, I have created a rubric which breaks down my personal preferences and how stroller friendly the trail is, using a point system. The higher the number the more desirable the trail. Many times there will be multiple trail options in a single park, or variation based on parking location. I will try to be specific enough to identify the route I took or the location I parked if there are multiple options. I hope to get out on the trails frequently, and I hope to share with everyone just as frequently, but weather conditions, health, other life obligations may keep me from getting out as much as I like. So, here I am - putting it out there - my goal, and please feel free to keep me accountable.

THE TRAIL RUNNING RUBRIC:

1 low quality 2 average quality 3 best quality
cost expensive, charge per individual small fee free
trail length requires laps to get adequate workout 1 mile minimum loop of manageable length, 1 mile minimum
trail material broken sidewalk cement, grass gravel, dirt, sand paved with large wheels in mind (cement, road material, etc)
trail width hardly large enough for single single but easy to pass double wide, easy to pass, side by side
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
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
crowd (quantity) too many people to maneuver as desired some passing required but doable comfortably populated
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
cleanliness nearly hazardous due to trash, very appealing aesthetically, unpleasant smell trash here and there, minimal impact to aesthetics spotless, clean
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
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
amenities not encouraging the hanging out in any way limits to any desired amenity toilets, benches, workout section, water

Your questions, feedback on how I can adjust the trail running rubric, or suggested trails are more than welcome. I break things down by my experience of twelve individual aspects:  cost, trail length, trail material, trail width, bugs, view, crowd (quantity), crowd (culture), cleanliness, safety, parking and amenities. I use a scale to indicate preference, with the overall lowest score a possible 12 and the overall highest score a possible 36. Again, this is my opinion of trails as I use my stroller. I push a double Summit X3 (I love it!) and I estimate my total load weighing around 80 lbs, and it does not feel that heavy, but I notice other runners clearing the trail when they pass me. So, my opinion will be specific to my experiences and what I need in a trail while trail running to have my best workout.

I am looking forward to getting out on the trails this year and sharing my experiences with you. I hope you enjoy reading my evaluations and I appreciate your contributions! Happy trails (running!!)