Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Escape the City: Wannamaker North Trail for Valentine’s Day

By Miranda Jacobs
     Want to take your special someone for a walk in the woods for Valentine’s Day but don’t want to go far?  Lucky for you that the grand opening of the Wannamaker North Trail in Goose Creek was last summer, and it has proved to be an excellent trail. Although it was designed for mountain bicyclists, walkers and runners are equally welcome to enjoy the trail. It is one of the only trails around town that provides people with a peaceful experience in the woods away from pavement and passing cars. The hundreds of volunteers who worked on the trail created it with a variety of hills and turns. I have walked the trail many times and it has still not become boring, thanks to all of its manmade features as well as natural scenery and wildlife.
     The trail is eight miles long, which is plenty of distance for most bicyclists. Fortunately for those who do not want to go the entire distance, there are exits along the trail that lead you quickly
back to the entrance. The exits not only benefit people who want to choose how far they go on the trail, but also people who need a quick getaway in case of an emergency.
     One of my favorite features of the trail is its policy that everyone has to travel in the same direction, which prevents people from constantly crossing each other. Each time I found the trail
parking lot packed with cars and feared the woods would be crowded; however, the same-direction policy has never failed to allow me a quiet and private walk. Even better, the direction changes every day, giving people a chance for a different visual experience.

     Until the Wannamaker North Trail was built, most of the available trails were either unexciting for mountain bicyclists and more suitable for walkers and runners, or were miles away from the
city and too difficult for beginners. The new trail, however, is a great trail for everyone. Professional and beginner bicyclists, walkers, runners, adults, children, and even pets can all find the trail equally enjoyable. For bicyclists, there are hills varying in size throughout the trail, and for every hill, there is also a side passage for people who do not want to make the climb. The width of the trail is perfect for my boyfriend and me to comfortably walk side-by-side, and it has gotten a little wider as people have broken in the trail more and more over the months. The gradual breaking in of the trail has also made it much smoother and will continue to improve its flow as time passes.
     The scenery and wildlife give mountain bicyclists an experience similar to true mountain biking, and gives walkers something interesting or beautiful to observe every step of the way. Along the
trail, you can see the swamp, oak and beech trees, turtles, deer, and much more. The trail is also located on top of historic grounds, and some people bring their metal detectors with them in search of artifacts (and maybe things left behind by other people walking the trail). The trail is not paved, but the pathways are clear and smooth and give people safe passage through the woods.
     Whether you bicycle, walk, run, or just like spending time outdoors, I recommend going to the Wannamaker North Trail, especially on Valentine’s Day. 


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