Monday, November 1, 2010

Mixed Signals at Camp Robinson; Burns Park

I headed back to Camp Robinson Thursday evening, taking advantage of the dwindling daylight hours. I checked in as usual at the Visitor's Center, but...
Mixed Signals:
 It may have been my last chance for a while (or not!), as I have heard from another rider that she was turned away on Saturday and told that the C.A.R.P. trails in Training Area 2 were closed "indefinitely".  As a follow-up, I called the Camp Robinson Visitor's Center on Monday and was told that "we're just handing out passes" and that no directive concerning closure had been issued.

Riding Blind
On Thursday, I returned to Merlin's Trail via Shipwreck, the same route I'd taken a week before, but the addition of a fresh blanket of fallen leaves made the ride much more challenging as the trails have pretty much disappeared under the leaves and there has not been enough traffic to keep the trails ridden down.

It was very difficult to see the trail, much less pick out obstacles and ride the good lines. This is on Merlin's Trail and, yes, the trail is in the photo. For much of my ride, the tape tied to trees along the route was the only indication that I wasn't off-trail. I had a light, but was very concerned about getting out before dark. In most places the trail was only a faint trace.

I was able to ride Merlin's to Dogwood, and then return on Five Mile, but that option will likely soon disappear. There was tape on the west side of the trail indicating the harvest boundary and orange blazes on trees to the east.

This tape was along the western edge of Five Mile Trail

These blazes are to the east of the western-most loop of Five Mile 

It looks like things are going to be sketchy at Camp for a while, so I plan to use the opportunity to explore other options, like Burns Park. I've ridden at Burns Park some, but will be getting much more familiar with it. At this time, I'm still getting my bearings and I'm often surprised at where I pop out on to the road!

This view at sundown from above the gravel quarry near the golf course at Burns Park is hard to beat.
I had a vague notion that this was in the woods above the pump track at the quarry, but this was my first look. The see-saw looks cool, but I'll leave it to those riders with better balance and less aversion to impact than I've got.

Heat-Seeking Reptiles

This black snake was soaking up some late evening warmth on the River Trail last week. He's harmless, but it is not uncommon to see a copperhead or cottonmouth on the trail this time of year, particularly in the evening when temperatures drop and the trail is still warm. If you're not familiar with snakes, just give them all a wide berth. I'm much more concerned about a skunk encounter than snakes.


Bryan said...

Hey where's the "pump track at the quarry" located? My daughter rides a unicycle (plays bike polo on it too) and will possibly be getting a mountain unicycle for xmas and that looks like something she'd have a blast on. Thanks!

JBar said...

Just west of the Burns Park golf course off of Tournament Drive. I'm not sure what kind of shape it's in at this time. I haven't seen much activity there, lately, but worth checking out.

Anonymous said...

Contacted camp robinson today (11/2) and the visitors center indicated they did not know how long the trails would be closed, but they are indeed closed. This blows. I know the typical speech that camp is a privilege, not a right, etc. But I think it is completely assanine that they have no communication with the mountain bike community other than f-off the trails are closed until further notice. Camp is some of the best, if not the best, trail system in Arkansas. Weak Sauce on behalf of the officials at Camp Robinson. At least give a time table or something.

Anonymous said...

I agree, the officials at Camp Robinson blow. They just sold me my Sportsman pass the other day. Now they close them before I even get a chance to ride.

JBar said...

There should be an update on access soon. The CARP folks are working it out. Communications from Camp could be better, but I'm grateful to the guys at CARP for their continuing efforts to retain access. We'll just have to work around the current situation and look forward to the "new normal" after the timber harvest.

JBar said...

I should have complete information on Thursday, but Camp is open to riders, though some trails are closed and parking will be moved temporarily. I think the guys at the Visitors Center are a little confused. Check back here or check the sign board at the current parking area for trail closures and parking information. Both should be updated by Thursday evening.

RMooney said...

Richard took me to Boyle Park to ride on Saturday, the trails there are awsome, I don't know why more people don't use it, there is a nice paved trail also and a huge feild for some dog's to play fetch, but for some reason the city has not mowed it in forever(or done anything)