Tale of two trails …

After hiking Hickory Trail, which hugs the southern shore of Dow Lake, I set off yesterday to try Lakeview Trail, which tracks the northern shore, including a long leg that circumnavigates Pine Cove.

What a contrast.

While Hickory Trail was in great shape, Lakeview was pretty much of a mess. Several stretches of it were more creek than trail and parts are already getting overgrown with weeds. But I still loved it.

Tough to see it in this photo, but the trail dissolves into mud in this stretch.
Tough to see it in this photo, but the trail dissolves into mud in this stretch.

I biked to the dam and set off on Lakeview from there. I must have missed the formal trailhead because the path I took in was closer to bushwhacking than hiking. After a bit of a slog, I found the trail’s thread but things grew only nominally better. The trail is in rough shape all the way to Whitesel Junction, where Groundpine Run feeds into Pine Cove. I set off at about noon, so the woods were quite. Everyone was hunkered down for siesta. Even the omnipresent chipmunks were unusually quiet. I did startle a black vulture along the shoreline, the whoosh of his wings echoing through the piney cove as his ominous shadow lumbered across the water.

At Whitesel Junction, the trail grew noticeably better but it still tended to meander around a bit. I walked all the way to the parking lot at the swimming area, stopped to eat a few apples, drink water and marvel at the day. During the return trip, I diverted to Amoretto Trail, a horse trail that cuts up the hill to a ridgeline trail called Lake Hill Trail. From there I picked up Indian Mound Trail, taking me back down to the dam. (Not sure if I spotted an actual Indian mound along the trail, though there was one hill that I suspected could be it.)

Lakeside selfie while taking a break during my Lakeside Trail hike.
Lakeside selfie while taking a break during my Lakeside Trail hike.

A few tidbits I picked up along the way:

  • Watching Roscoe the dog splash around in Dow Lake, oblivious to his owner’s shouts to return to shore.
  • Listening to a couple shout and giggle as the paddle-splashed each other in a canoe out on the lake.
  • Taking a call to discuss details of the closing for the house we’re selling while I was standing out in the woods, listening to birds sing.
  • Two women riding horses down Hank Trail. They were talking so loudly it was if they were riding Harleys instead of horses.

Distance: About 8 miles RT hiking Lakeview Trail out and diverting to the Amoretto Trail and Indian Mound Trail to loop back to the dam during my return; 8.9 miles RT biking to the trail head and back.
Bike route: Route details from Cyclometer.
Highlight: The wind picked up as I returned to the dam, creating crazy-beautiful patterns in the tall grasses that carpet the dam.
Link: Athens Trails
Critters: A mountain biker, a few squirrels and chipmunks, a black vulture, two swimming dogs, assorted songbirds, a pair of horses ridden by very loud women.
Song: I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke, a nasty earworm that infected me the previous night while watching the Mad Men finale on DVR.

The dam at Dow Lake seen from the Lakeside Trail.
The dam at Dow Lake seen from the Lakeside Trail.