We ride our bikes on a lot of greenways. While in theory walkers, runners, and bikers should be able to share the greenways, the reality is that the interaction between bikers and walkers is a little stressful. Bikers move fast, and, if they don’t call out or ring a bell, they barely make any noise, catching walkers unaware. On the flipside, the number of walkers we encounter while biking who are oblivious of their surroundings is pretty high. Calling out to walkers doesn’t help if they are so focused on their phones they don’t hear you.
So, if you just want to walk without worrying about bikes, the path I’ll describe today is for you. Bikes are outright prohibited on half of the trail, and the rest of the trail isn’t very bike friendly with narrow bridges and tight turns. You’re free to walk without thinking twice about what might be zooming up behind you.
A few months ago, a bridge was built over the Eno River that links two great walking trails, the Hillsborough Riverwalk and the Occaneechee Speedway Trail. Both include segments of North Carolina's Mountain to Sea Trail. There are hiking trails around the speedway, but for our walk today we stuck to the flat walking paths, walking from the Speedway all the way to Gold Park, then back and once around the speedway trace. This makes for a pleasant 5.3 mile round trip that I would argue is one of the nicest long walking trails in North Carolina (as opposed to a hiking trail or bike trail). It's got great scenery, lots of historical markers, and easy access to water and bathrooms since a big chunk of the trail is so close to downtown.
|The path we walked, tracked by GPS.|
|Ordinarily not a sign we like to see, but it does make walking less stressful.|
|In winter, the trails possess a stark beauty.|
|Good for the brain as well as the body.|
|Blaze marking the Mountain to Sea Trail|
|A woodpecker working hard for its meal.|
Looking forward to the day they build a bridge connecting the Speedway and Ayr Mount. I also look forward to this segment of the Mountain to Sea Trail finally connecting with the portion in the Eno. Then, if a person were so inclined, it would be possible to walk from Hillsborough to the far side of Raleigh without having to once walk along a road. That's an adventure I'm really hoping can happen within the next few years.