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Monday, March 30, 2009

Wou Hou Devou - Devou Park Mountain Bike Trail Building

His chat turned to complaint.  Finally, the poor kid who wore sneakers to the Cincinnati Off Road Alliance (CORA) trail building day Saturday at Devou Park said he had to rest.  In a pair of big hikers I plodded on, initially to deliver empty buckets to the U-Give Cincinnati volunteers picking up garbage.  I soon realized I had passed the last trail group around section nine.  “Well, might as well see where this trail tops out,” I thought.  I put my bucket down to pick up on the way back and kept up a stiff pace.  A half hour and sections 10 through 19 passed quickly. 

From the trail head at the ball fields at the bottom of Sleepy Hollow Road, It was an hour round trip to the vista.  My hike of what will become the first mountain bike trails in Covington, KY’s Devou Park made me think more of Bent Creek in Asheville, NC or Brown County in Nashville, IN than local trails like Tower Park, Harbin Park or Mitchell Memorial. The trail is located on the west side of Sleepy Hollow Road.  While the amount of available land in Devou won’t match that of Bent Creek or Brown County, the topography certainly does.  I lost count of the switchbacks that crisscross the beginning of the climb.  Unlike most area trails, the switchbacks at Devou don’t end at the top.  That made me smile.  About 2/3’s up the first hill, the trail wraps around the south side and into a pretty valley with flowering

 trees.  Eventually there will be some Bent Creek-esque deep bench cuts in this steep valley.  After crossing a bridge-worthy creek which dropped nearly 6-7 feet from the trail markers above, a handful of switchbacks take you to the first real vista of the west side Cincinnati skyline.  Looking at my watch, then at the green trail flags wrapping around the bend, I shook my head in disbelief.  Just like the kid in sneakers, I had to turn back. 

This is going to be big.  Cincinnati is about to have its first trail system with a sustained mountain bike climb that will top out at what?  Nearly a mile and a half I guess.  I’m a strong hiker.  It took me a half hour to reach the top on foot.  On a bike, I’d hedge a guess that expert riders will be looking at a 12-15 minute climb and novices may be knocking on that half hour door.  There’s nothing within 20 miles of Cincinnati with a climb of more than a few minutes.  This is just to get to the top.  The trail keeps going around the 2nd hill and on and on.  This is just the warm-up.  There’s enough land here for 15-18 miles of trail.  There are plenty of trail days ahead, plenty of time to learn that a Pulaski is a tool and Pulaski is a historic Chicago figure.  We’ll see you at the next Devou Park trail day. 

 POST SCRIPT-TRAILSIDE TREASURES:

While picking up trash, debris and relics along the path of the new trail at Devou Park, I came across this unusual apparatus.  At first I thought it might be a spur of sorts for horseback riding, but upon further inspection it appears to be some sort of tool that would hang from a chain or maybe some sort of candle sconce.  Any ideas?  Leave a comment below.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks like a leg hold trap to me. If you laid it flat would so it looked like a D on its side would it open up like a clamshell? If so then it's trap.

Anonymous said...

I guess I should have previewed my previous comment vis a vis the extra "would."

Joe Biker said...

Seems kind of like that. The "D" shape was hinged from the upper part with the chain. I imagine the spring mechanism, or whatever would force it closed on the animal is probably missing. Cool. Just hope there's not anymore laying around in the brush for us to find the hard way!

Anonymous said...

If you were to take a metal detector around there, you'd find Cival War relics. At the top of that hill was an old Cival War battery base, and I've heard of people finding cannonballs, belt buckles, and buttons.

Anonymous said...

Just looks like a leg trap for raccoons, rabbits and small game.

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