Monday, July 29, 2013

My WV List: #10 The Snail Trail, Cheat Lake Trail, and Botanical Gardens

When I came to interview at WVU, the first thing I did was run on the rail trail.  Literally.  We drove in from Pittsburgh in the evening, I went to bed, and the next morning at 6 am I was running on the rail trail.

I decided immediately I wouldn't spend much time on it.  Flat and straight.  BORING.

Which was true for a year or so.

But the "snail trail", as I like to call it, is unavoidable if you're an athlete in Morgantown.  Or it felt like it was.

And with time, it's become very familiar and very useful for me.  Now, I actually enjoy it.

Many creatures can be found on the snail trail
I use it a lot to do spin-outs, recovery rides, mental rides, or as runs/rides with people who aren't as fit or don't want to ride hard.  I also like to roller ski on it, which gets me some strange looks

And it really is the gateway to all the other places to ride in the's the super highway for cycling of the area.

Or running.  My friend Derek and I used to run on the snail trail to the might Mon river and swim all the time.

The trail is also a pretty wild place at times.  Dusk and dawn especially.  I've seen things on the rail trail I'd probably never see anywhere else...yikes.

The rail trail is a meeting place for all Morgantown cyclists.  For me, it's become a place of comfort.

Well, except for last weekend.  Ouch.

A stick jammed in my wheel on the snail trail.

The Cheat Lake trail is similar.  Except quieter, and more isolated.  Gus (our dog) knows it as "the licky lake".  Long story, don't ask.

When I lived out on 857, I used to go there all the time.  ALL the time, every day nearly, winter, summer, raining or 100 degree heat.  It's also a gateway, but not even close to the magnitude that the snail trail is.  But you can get to Mud pike via the stairs at the end of the trail.  And I've Nordic skied on the cheat lake trail multiple times, so there's that it's got over the snail trail.

Carly loves the Cheat Lake Trail
But to me, they both encompass the same sort of idea and feeling.

As does the botanical gardens (aka the Picky Park if you're Gus).  Except it's even more isolated, and you can't ride your bike.  Just running.  Still, it is an extremely peaceful place that serves as a sort of comfort to me when I don't want to worry about where or how much or how far.  I just go and do.

Unless they're shooting at the range, which is right next door.  Go figure.  Then, it's not quite as nice.

Sure, I've been on better systems.  The one in Westminster, CO that I spent some time on was really amazing.  But not as amazing as the one in Anchorage, AK.  Stowe, VT also has a really nice path.

But, when I look back and think about the good times on my bike, in my running shoes, with my cycling friends, etc., I always seem to think of these trails in Morgantown first.  It's because I've spent so much time on the trails, but also because of how much fun it always seems to be.

And the comfort it brings.