Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gwinnett County: Little Mulberry Park – West Meadow Trail

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why is it cloudy every time I go to check out a new trail? Anyway, I was headed over to Buford along GA-324 which goes right by the roads that lead to Little Mulberry Creek Park. Previously, I walked the Miller Lake Trail. Last Friday, I left home early to walk the West and East Meadow Trails before I went on to Buford. The weather forecast indicated partial sun from 8:00 a.m. on until the skies cleared. But it was cloudy. Never mind. Sometimes it’s easier to photograph in overcast weather than in bright sunshine.

I wanted to explore the meadow trails that are accessible from the Fence Roa
d entrance to the park.

I decided to walk the West Meadow Trail and decide when I got to the trail to the East Meadow Trail whether to take the latter or just walk the first trail. As it happened I had time to walk both. It took 1.5 hours walking at a moderate pace and stopping to take many photos.

The West Meadow Trail. The darker green areas in the meadow have been mowed. I saw a sign for the observatory (E) when I started out on the trail. It’s on the top of the hill in the center of the meadow. If you walk the trail clockwise, the hiking trails – the Ravine Loop (B) and the Beech Tree C trails – branch off from the loop trail within the first half-mile. The trail (F) to the East Meadow Trail leaves this trail at the 0.75-mile marker.

A trail marker for the West Meadow Trail. It’s a multi-use, paved trail shared by walkers and cyclists.

This is the entrance to the Beech Tree Trail (C). The entrances are clearly marked; there’s no way to miss them.

A trail map at the entrance to the Beech Tree Trail. It’s difficult to see in this photograph but the map is a topographical map that shows the steepness of the trail. It’s a good idea to study this if you don’t feel up to an energetic hike. Some of the grades are 12% according to the information on the sign. Glad I didn’t plan to do this hike on this visit to the park.

This trail is intended only for walking. Bikes are not allowed.

The start of the Beech Tree Trail. It’s well surfaced with gravel and obviously intended for heavy travel.

Looking northeast from the trail towards an area that has little development.

From this point, I walked up the hill to the observatory that is a flagstone circle with two hemispherical benches.

Cardinal points – N (North), S (South), E (East) and W (West) – are painted on the flagstones just inside the bench.

Tracks of the ubiquitous possum. A series of animal tracks have also been marked across the circle.

In the overcast weather, the meadow and woods were rather bleak. It was good weather for walking though; it wasn’t raining or windy.

A flock of Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) were hunting in the grass at the eastern end of the meadow. They were teasers; they would sit until I almost got into a good position to photograph them and then they’d fly just a few feet further away.

I started to call a couple of rows of pine trees – a five on the north side and five towards the south side (D) - ‘The Sentinels.’ One or other of them seemed to dominate the skyline at any point along the trail.

Looking back along the trail at the 0.75-mile point. A covered picnic area with a BBQ stand is on the right and the northern sentinel pines are in the distance.

Looking south from the trail near the 0.75-mile marker towards the Pond Trail and the farm across the road from the park.

The path near the end of the West Meadow Trail.

This is a great trail to walk in the winter although it might be a little unpleasant in windy weather. I expect that it could be uncomfortable in the middle of the day in summer since it would be in full sun all day.

Click on an image to view a larger image


- Gwinnett Parks and Recreation: Little Mulberry Park

Related post:
- Gwinnett County: Little Mulberry Park – Miller Lake Trail


Beyond My Garden said...

I enjoyed the trail trip, especially the opossum tracks.

JSK said...

Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Stay tuned for the East Meadow Trail walk.