Archive for August, 2014

Double Oak / EBSCO trails – annotated maps

Posted in ride reports with tags , , , , , , on August 11, 2014 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

I’ve been on somewhat of a kick lately of trying to catalog my riding routes on top of Double Oak Mountain, primarily within property owned by EBSCO.  As I’ve mentioned before on this site, EBSCO requires a permit to ride their trails and I am one of a few lucky people to have such a permit.  So….don’t say I didn’t warn you if you get caught up there without one.  Also, it should be mentioned that their trails are very secluded and could be difficult to find help should any accidents arise.

With that said, below are some annotated maps I took from Google Earth.  I imported around 7 or 8 rides from 2014 into one kmz file and then brought them into Google Earth to see how they stacked up with each other.  There are a few places where I briefly lost GPS signal, which caused some errant straight lines, but otherwise they are pretty accurate.

A brief rundown of the trail options is as follows: from Highway 41 I typically access the trails via Double Oak Way, which is a paved road going up to a cell tower on top of the mountain.  The entire road makes a Cat 3 climb, though the bottom portion can be ridden by itself for a Cat 4 climb.  From Double Oak Way, there are doubletrack trails that can be taken from 5 different points, though really only 4 of them are navigable.  Furthermore, most of these trails have multiple splits that lead to different areas.  It is possible to link up to Forest Parks, Jones Valley Urban Farm, Dunnavant Valley Greenway Trail, Stonegate Farms, Hw4 43, and even the top of Hwy 25 without ever leaving the doubletrack.  Also, there are multiple trails on the opposite site of Hwy 43 that are controlled by EBSCO, many of which I still haven’t had the chance to fully explore.  The maps below show just a portion of those trails.

google earth - forest parks and old 280 and soccer blast

google earth - gate 4 to gate 7

google earth - jones valley farm and forest parks soccer

google earth - mt laurel and double oak way

google earth - other side of 43

google earth - stonegate farms and smyer lake

Google Earth overview map with no grid

Google Earth overview map

strava heat map Feb 2014 to July 2014

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Saturday 08-02-14 ride report – more double oak exploring

Posted in ride reports with tags , , , , , , on August 6, 2014 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

This past Saturday morning I set out with Brian P to do some exploring on the southeast side of Hwy 43 within the EBSCO property limits.  I have ridden up there several times in the past, but still had a few trails I had yet to try.  After leaving Mt Laurel and riding up Double Oak Way, we dropped from the top of the mountain down to Hwy 43 via EBSCO gate #4.  Then it was just a very short ride to the southwest and across the road into more property via gate #3.

The great thing about accessing the land via gate #3 is that you can either take the trail/road straight until you reach the top of the ridge, or hop onto any number of it’s little off-shoot trails (probably at least 5, and some of those likely also multiply).  I’ve gone to the top a couple of times, where the trail dead-ends and you are forced to go right (towards hwy 280) or left (towards hwy 25), and have only gone to the right a short distance.  I told Brian that I would like to go right until it eventually connects up to some other road near 280.

Upon hitting the top, we first decided to go left a short distance just to see what the trail was like.  We only went maybe a half mile or so before the trail began to nosedive downhill.  Rather than being forced to then climb back up (or hike up….it was that steep), we just decided we had seen enough and would return another day to fully explore that route.  But we passed at least 2 other trail off-shoots in the short distance we rode, which tells me there is some good exploring to do up there when I have more time.

After turning around we stayed along the ridgeline going towards hwy 280, eventually surpassing a point where I had never been before.  The trail was great up here – just smooth doubletrack with little rolling hills.  We naturally assumed that this trail would eventually lead us back to some form of civilization.  We eventually reached the end of the doubletrack and there was a little needle-head shaped turnaround point, but the trail then became grassy singletrack leading deeper into the woods.

Staying on the singletrack, we took a lot of spider shots to the face as we were in prime spider web country.  None seemed too large though, so we kept on trekking.  After a while the singletrack just sort of stopped.  We couldn’t tell if it had simply gotten grown over, or had actually reached its terminus point.  Not wanting to believe it had ended, and still holding out hope we could find our way to 280, we started basically just bushwhacking and riding through the woods.  We pulled up our position on our phones’ satellite maps and could see that we were right above the Forest Lakes neighborhood.  So we kept going, until it just made no more sense to continue any further as we had officially gone about as far as possible with the forest getting denser and denser.  We reluctantly would backtrack all the way back to the main doubletrack trail….a lot of wasted time.

Once back on the doubletrack, we found a trail off-shoot that went downhill in the direction of Forest Lakes.  We figured “no problem”, it will bring us down to Forest Lakes where we can have an opportunity to get onto some pavement.  Having never been inside of Forest Lakes, I was sorely disappointed to find that it was a continuous wall of houses backing up to the mountain, all with fences in their backyard that prevented any sort of passage opportunity for us.  We ended up exposed on the hillside trying to scout for locations to cut through.  After lots of time and some more guidance by our phone maps, we were able to locate on the satellite imagery a house at a cul de sac that appeared to have no fence in the backyard.  We hacked our way through some really dense pine forest to eventually find that house, along with a ton of neighboring dogs.  After we decided the opportunity was as clear as it was ever going to get, we made a run for it through someone’s backyard, sideyard, and eventually driveway to haul butt onto some pavement.  All told, we probably spent almost an hour that morning just getting lost and/or hacking our way through the woods.

By now we had been riding for around 2 hours but had barely gone 13 miles.  A quick steep climb up through the backside of the bottom of Forest Parks on the opposite side of Hwy 43 and we were back on top of our original Double Oak ridge.  We capped off the ride with a fun downhill into the Jones Valley Urban Farm property and then onto Hwy 41 where we could finally get some easy spinning done on the way home.

I told Brian as we pulled into Mt Laurel that I didn’t know if I should say this was a good ride or an awful ride.  He responded that at least it was a fun ride.  I think I can agree with that.

No pics today, but the strava data can be found here.  Basically just 19 miles but with well over 2600 feet of climbing.  I still plan to do a post soon with some detailed ride maps for the area, so I will be sure to note some of the sections of this ride on those maps.