Sunday, November 19, 2006

High Drive Trails

I don't know what folks call the trails that have emerged off the west side of the High Drive bluff. There is a name; I've heard it, but I can't recall it.
Growing up on 16th and Adams ST--which was pretty close--we simply referred to this area as "the bluff." About twice a year, I would pack up lunch and fishing poles and take some friend down the bluff.
We'd go down at about 21st Ave. There were no trails, but there was an old access road, that you can still see today. The best part was jumping down the side of the bluff where the long sandy hills emptied into the river below. It was an all day journey.

Since moving back to Spokane about 3 years ago, I was thrilled to see that someone has created a wonderful network of trails. I've actually met a couple guys that have confessed to much of the work. They do it primarily by kicking out trails with their boots; since it is a county-owned park, they don't want to get "caught" with tools. In general, they make good decisions on where to put trails, though I do occasionally see posted signs from other trail users asking the trail-builders to stop making new trails. Those posting the signs, cite concerns about erosion.
There is a network of trails directly south of the Bernard/Highdrive area, then there are 3 tiers of trails that run sort of north/south along the High Drive side. I've spent a bit of time in the network section, but the majority of my rides are on the long flat tiered trails that travel parallel to Latah (Hangman) Creek below.
I enter the trail now at the top of Bernard and Highdrive. If I'm just out for a quick lunch ride, I'll take the trail down and I'll pop up on 29TH AVE. That short loop, from my house, takes about 20 minutes. If I have more time, I'll go all the way down to Polly Judkin's Park on 14th. That's about a 40 minute ride.
The trail is wonderful. Except for weekends, it's virtually empty. I rarely see anyone on the trail on my lunch time rides. It's clean. It's got amazing views of Vinegar Flats and the Latah valley below. It's kind of technical, in that you have a lot of different surfaces to handle and some tight weaving with long drop-offs that can be a bit distracting. I typically ride it on my fixed gear, which makes for a much more interesting ride than the mountain bike that I used to ride. The trail network is a wonderful thing to have a mile from my home. I am grateful.

1 comment:

Jon Snyder said...

John,

Thanks for the great blog. This is exactly the sort of thing I love to read about Spokane.

As far as I'm concerned it will always be "The Bluff." I think it's good you brought up the issue of over-building the trails. Isn't there a point where you have enough trails on a finite piece a land like The Bluff? It would suck to have overbuilding create some sort of backlash that restricts access.

Best,

Jon Snyder
OTM