Takes Your Breath Away, Rock Springs Park
It’s Not You Peachtree Ridge Park, It’s Me
I NEVER have to pee when I’m on a run. Well not never but almost. I’ve probably had to go twice in the last 15 years or so. Well today was that day. I made it around that football field. Ran up that hill that scared me and going up it I’d say it was at least 45 degrees, I mean I was learning forward so far, I felt nearly horizontal. Made it back around to the front near the car and high-tailed it to the restroom…
which was clean had toilet paper and soap, thank GOD! I resumed my run, this time running through a small tunnel instead of the loop and followed the trail, again to the left and a funny thing happened, the trail ended in a parking lot, followed by more parking lots. This was fine because on this portion of the run I got to see a rabbit, the basketball courts, a large playground and the baseball and soccer fields. I made a loop through the parking lots and headed back to the trail. I said to myself, pick your feet up and watch the curb and I did , except all of my body went up. I FELL.
My bracelet flew off and I landed on my tail facing the other direction. A passerby asked if I was alright and handed me my bracelet. I had a small cut scrape on my palm that was bleeding, but otherwise I was fine, a bit heated but fine. I’d planned to run for a certain amount of time, but by then, my mind was made up to run back to the car. I was out of there. Stopping 20 minutes short of my scheduled time for today, I decided to cut my losses.
Rhodes Jordan Park, A Little Something for Everyone
For the last few years, it’s been a tradition to go check out a new park following the Peachtree Road Race. The purpose of which is two-fold, 1)finding a new spot to enjoy and to run in and 2)to exhale from Peachtree. This year’s exhale took place at Gwinnett County’s Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Rhodes Jordan Park at 100 East Crogan Street is nestled in downtown Lawrenceville and is built around Lawrenceville City Lake. At a large 162 acres, nearly any activity you’d like to enjoy can be accommodated there. The park features: a community recreation center, community room with catering kitchen, classrooms, dance/aerobics room, fishing lake, pavilions, playgrounds, seven baseball/softball fields, football field overlay, outdoor leisure play pool, double gym, tennis center with eight lighted courts, outdoor baseball court, outdoor horseshoe court (the first I’ve seen at any of the parks visited thus far in the county) and a 1.9-mile paved multi-purpose trail.
The beauty of the park is the lake and how everything is nestled around it. There is a an abundance of water fowl and in the early morning they pretty much have the run of the place, with their numbers decreasing as the morning heats up. There are several boardwalks bordering and crossing over the lake as well as a secure railing on the low lying areas of the park. There’s also a variety of wildflowers, and especially lovely to see, butterflies. I visited the park in July and September and the visuals were spectacular in both cases, which is especially enjoyable while putting in the miles.
According to the park master plan there’s a network of trails totaling 3.8 miles. What’s actually paved, connecting and usable is closer to the 1.9 miles listed on the website and it is a fairly easy 1.9. Taking the paved areas around the lake, behind the picnic area and near the horseshoe courts, will give you a nice crossing loop with minimal hills. The trail is not marked, which is fine. Those who keep track of such things as mileage (which obsessive runners like me do) can just do a timed run and do the math to arrive at mileage.
The trail is mostly shaded with only small sections bordering the lake open and you’ll feel the heat, only momentarily. The trail is really enjoyable because there’s a lot to look at and keep your mind off of how long you plan to be there, the relative ease of it is also good, for any distance or type of run (repeats, tempo). In fact yesterday I saw a young man doing hill repeats up a grassy hill to the trail. With all the beauty there is one drawback of the trail at Rhodes Jordan Park and that is the poop. Waterfowl, especially the gigantic geese (and there are several varieties) we have here make poop that’s as big as dog poop and it is everywhere on the loop directly surrounding the lake, so watch your step.
Camp Creek Greenway, Lilburn GA
I was out riding around looking for something compelling to take a picture of on that Sunday afternoon and ended up near a park that I’d been by before but had ruled out as there was no trail. Making a u-turn to go back the other way, I came across a sign for a Greenway. My heart started beating fast, because this one, if it was real, was close to where I live. I couldn’t figure out how to get to it and on the second access attempt, landed somewhere on this mysterious trail. Turns out I’d just located the Camp Creek Greenway.
Bunten Road Park, Duluth GA
George Pierce Park/Suwanee Greenway
I knew it was my last one until November (ragweed sucks) but I’m so glad I got this one in.
Since I was going to be in the area, I came geared up and ready to run in George Pierce Park. A huge park in the Gwinnett part of Suwanee was a good one to go to. On this particular Saturday I ran right smack into the Suwanee Fall Festival on the square, but once through the traffic I made it the park.
George Pierce Park features all the typicals but on a grand scale. Multiple baseball, football and softball fields, a senior center, basketball court, pavillions and playgrounds. In fact the park is so big that I didn’t get to see it all and with darkness approaching quickly I had to stop the tour in order to get the run in.
Or should I say trails, there are multiple ones. The main paved trail loops around a couple of football fields and is a little over a mile long and slightly, not overly hilly. After running the mile loop twice, I made a turn down hill and ran right on to the Suwanee Greenway which was a treat that wasn’t expected.
Suwanee Greenway runs between two parks, George Pierce in Suwanee and Suwanee Creek in Buford and is a whopping 9.5 miles of basically flat, fast tree covered running/walking/biking excellence. The trail is concrete and wooden with several diversions along the way that allow great views of the wetlands and wildlife.
George Pierce is a great park for families and sports enthusiasts and families, but is it’s connection to the Suwanee Greenway that puts sends it right to the top of my list for great places to run in Gwinnett.
See you on the trail!
(because fall pollen season is over :-))
For more photos, see the Picasa album (taken the night of the run and the next day).
Jones Bridge Park
In between the 4:00 and 8:30 pm games I ducked out briefly out of curiosity. Having scanned my park map earlier in the day. I went looking for something close by. Not as close as I thought but worth the trip I headed over to Jones Bridge Park.
The park, is nestled in the Jones Bridge area of Norcross has some different amenities than than some of the others, and some of these amenities were closed. The park is an area in which there are periodic releases of flows from he Chattahoochee River and there is ample signage to let folks know about so that they aren’t swept away when they come. Here in the metro, every summer there are televised rescues of folks from the different parts of the Chattahoochee where flows are being releases so the signs are definitely appropriate.
Features include, children’s playground, soccer fields (closed), sand lot volleyball, a large pavilion senior center. The park is also a great place for fishing and family barbecue, and there was plenty of both activities going on even at near dusk.
There is None. There are plenty of natural foot made paths throughout the wooded areas and designated walking paths to get to the fishing areas, but a paved trail is non-existent.
As always I’ve never been to a park that I didn’t like. Jones Bridge is no exception. If you want to hangout with friends and family or go fishing, this is a beautiful park to do so. If you want to do any running or walking for fitness, blaze your own trail if you must. I’ll be hanging out at the barbecue while you do.
See you on the trail.
Club Drive Park, Lawrenceville Georgia
After a day in the house feeling a little sluggish and in need of some air and some people. I headed out to a place I’d passed several times before, Club Drive Park.
Situated on Club Drive in Lawrenceville GA the park features all of the usual park type stuff only on a smaller scale than others I’ve visited and run in Gwinnett County. Notably absent at Club Drive are tennis courts, and a baseball/softball diamond. Additionally there is only one basketball court which is divided into two half courts with benches in between for dudes “who got next” and spectators.
The children’s playground is really one of the highlights of the park, as it is LARGE. Even in this late summer evening heat, it was packed with children and parents enjoying themselves. Another highlight is the lake. Which features wooden walkways and covered and uncovered seating to enjoy the sites and sounds of the park or anything else you might want to do.
Now for what I go to each of these parks for, the trail.
The trail is paved, flat and fast, however it is SHORT .3 miles. I would only recommend runners come here during off-peak times (late morning, mid-day) and when it is not swelteringly hot outside. This is great place to do speed work (I don’t do it anymore) but if you do, it’s perfect. Long runs are not recommended, you’ll simply have to run around too many times to get any miles in.
There’s really no park that I don’t like and Club Drive Park isn’t bucking that trend. For families, for folks who want to chill and read or watch the ducks and geese and for speed freaks, Club Drive is the place to be. If you’re in the area, check it out. Until next time, see you on the trail.
For more photos, go here.