Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sunday Ride #4, Part II: South on Arkansas River Path, Herman Hill Park

Though the bike I saw it on was a road bike, yesterday I saw a commuter heading north on McLean with an engine assist like this one--first one I've seen. Image found here.

Route maps: MapMyRide; Veloroute. Official map of Arkansas River Bike Path here. As when I went north on the Arkansas path, this was in its essence an out-and-back trip, with a side trip across the river at Pawnee to check out the greenspace just south of that street, about which more later. The route is basically flat; the path is in decent to good shape, though there are some drainage problems where the path passes alongside O. J. Watson Park. The one notable road hazard is at the railroad trestle south of Broadway: there, the path narrows and turns sharply at the base of one of the bridge piers, and gravel from the trackbed is scattered about on the path. If geese count as a road hazard, you'll want to watch for them along Greenway just north of Garvey Park: you almost have to nudge them with your bike before they'll deign to waddle off the path.

(Pictures would be nice, you're thinking, and you're right. When I get a little money . . . )

Tuesday morning: another cool morning, no place to be at any set time . . . I highly recommend that y'all get yourselves one of these sabbatical things.

The day after I bought my Fuji, my first real excursion on it was south on the Arkansas Bike Path. That, combined with the fact that my daily commute runs south to where Harry crosses the river, means that most of yesterday's trip was familiar to me. Some Saturday or Sunday, I'll ride down to try and get a sense of how utilized this path is. Yesterday, though, I met only one other cyclist south of Pawnee, and he (older man, on a cruiser) was clearly just out for a relaxing ride. As, of course, was I.

Re the southern end of my route: The Google Maps apps I used--and for that matter, the "analog" (read: paper) city map I have here are simply not correct in their depiction of the area around Garvey Park. Washington St. abruptly ends where it intersects with Galena; and to Galena's south, it's basically parkland and an elementary school, as near as I can tell. The city's map of the park is the accurate one. At any rate, it's from Garvey Park to, more or less, where Gypsum Creek empties into the river that the city will be building the connector between the Arkansas River and Gypsum Creek paths that I've mentioned before. The park's developed section is quite small, with a community garden, a (very) small playground area, a few picnic tables, restrooms, and a place on the river to put in canoes and kayaks. Most of its acreage is given over to habitat preservation, and it's down at the river's edge--lots of cottonwoods, sandbars--that you can get a sense of what the river once looked like along its entire length through this part of the state. So, while it'd be hard to imagine spending an entire day there, Garvey Park is a nice, quiet place to relax for a bit before heading back up the path.

It was partly accidental and partly out of curiosity that I visited Herman Hill Park on the return trip. Heading south, I noticed that south of Pawnee on the east bank there appeared to be a bike path that wasn't on any of the city's maps, so on the return trip I crossed the river at Pawnee to have a look. No bike path, but this very nice park instead. Herman Hill is one of the city's older parks, but not too long ago it received a dramatic facelift. Already home to a filtration plant that treats storm sewer water before passing it on to the river, the city has built a facility dedicated to teaching people about water's role in the environment: there's a building with exhibits and classroom/meeting space, and outside is a fountain, a small recreation of a creek and wetland, and a nice view of the river. There's also a disc-golf course there, plus the requisite playground area, picnic tables, etc. As with Garvey Park, Herman Hill is not a place to spend an entire day, but it's definitely a quiet, easily-accessible spot of green on the river more than suitable for an hour or two of relaxing.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Great bike i have bought it and tried it out really excelent quality but the design didnt quite speak to me. I changed it at bicycle motor they have chrommed it and now it looks a lot better if you have that bike i really advice to do the same.