Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gwinnett County-Harbins Park: Trail Trip #1 (Part 1)

I decided to check out Harbins Park in Gwinnett County. It’s not too far from home and easily accessible from either GA-316 or GA-81.

The park is located on the south-facing slope of a ridge above the Alcovy River. The trails wind through pine or deciduous forests. (The 'A' marker is the intersection of Bold Springs Road and GA-81).

The park has a couple of paved trails (thick gray on the map); the Meadow Loop Trail is a 1-mile that circles south of the park entrance and another trail that goes down to the equestrian area. The hiking trail is accessed from the Meadow Loop Trail, near the 0.5-mile marker.

Beyond the paved trails there are unpaved hiking (black), equestrian (orange) and cycling (blue) trails. The signs indicate intended us. Some trails are marked for use by hikers, equestrians and cyclists; others, such as the hiking trail is intended only for hikers. In addition, each sign has a Help Locator number. In case of an emergency, a call to 911 with the closest locator number will bring help quickly.

The route I took. I wanted to start with the hiking trail and investigate the other trails later. I took a photograph of the map but hadn’t mastered it and turned onto the equestrian trail rather than continuing on the hiking trail. As it turned out, this was a good introduction to the park.

I started on the Meadow Loop Trail in a counterclockwise direction from the parking lot. This trail winds through a deciduous forest. There are markers at each quarter mile on this trail.

With the occasional Holly tree.

Starting out along the unpaved hiking trail. This area had Loblolly Pines (Pinus taeda) and the trail was covered with pine needles.

Occasionally there were patches of moss.

Another section of the woods and trail.

Dead trees have been felled and decorate the trail.

A small Witch’s Butter (Tremella aurantica) fungus on a twig lying in the middle of the trail. Unlike the moss, this was the only Witch’s Butter I saw.

Some small patches of snow lingered from the Christmas night snowfall.

A wildflower that is green in spite of the cold. I think it’s Dwarf Cinquefoil (Potentilla canadensis). I’ll have to wait until April when this blooms to confirm the identification.

More woods and trail.

The Emergency Exit sign at the ‘half-way’ point in this walk. A trail, green on my trail map, runs from the beginning of the unpaved trail down to the hiking trail. This provides an opportunity to leave the trail and return to the paved trail or to access sections of the trail without having to walk the complete trail.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Gwinnett County Government: Harbins Park

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