I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Greenway update: White Oak Creek Greenway

Last year, I published a handy beginners Guide to Triangle Greenways. I focused mainly on trails in Durham and Raleigh and skipped over trails in Cary despite the fact that Cary actually has at least a dozen greenways. The problem is, most of them are pretty short and not connected to one another. There are maps everywhere showing how these greenways will eventually connect, but currently there are far too many gaps which makes it hard to string together a long ride. Plus, a lot of Cary greenways are really hilly. We explored the Morris Branch Greenway last weekend and it has a certain roller coaster quality to it. Don't get me wrong, we like a few good hills on a ride to make for a better workout. But the Morris Branch Greenway frequently has steep hills leading to intersections where you have to make a right turn. So, if you're coming down, you have to ride the brakes, and if you're going up, there's no way to build momentum. Finally, there's a hill on Yates Store Road that is just soul crushing. Well, maybe it's not that bad, and I suspect that we can conquer it eventually, but the first time we attempted it we both made it halfway up before giving up and pushing our bikes to the top.

So, we didn't have high hopes for another Cary greenway we finally tried out the same weekend, the White Oak Creek Greenway. It turned out to be fabulous, one of the nicest greenways we've biked, though, admittedly, the best scenery is all in the first quarter mile that crosses marshland.

Whoever designed the boardwalk across the marshes was some sort of boardwalk savant, because it's perfect. Rather than just a straight bridge across the gap, there are several gentle turns that makes the whole ride visually appealing. Even better, the boardwalk is wider at the bends, so you have more than enough room to make a turn at speed, and if you stop to take photos you don't feel like you're blocking the path.

The rest of the ride is also pretty nice, not too flat but no soul-crushing hills. An out and back ride is just under 8 miles. This is a little short for what we normally want to ride, but perfect for beginners. This greenway is part of the East Coast Greenway, and will eventually connect with the American Tobacco Trail and trails leading to the Reedy Creek Trail in Raleigh. I look forward to being able to start riding in downtown Durham and have a continuous greenway route available all the way to Clayton on the far side of Raleigh. When we do finally make that ride, you can bet the White Oak Greenway will still make it into the pictures we take along the way.