Friday, February 6, 2009

Biking Beavers Bend

Last Wednesday morning as I watched the ice accumulate on my back porch, I wondered if I was going to make my afternoon flight to Jacksonville. (I did.) On Sunday, I broke out the bike and went for a ride in shorts and a t-shirt. Welcome to winter in North Texas.

I’ve written before about some of the hike and bike trails being developed in Frisco. So as the day dawned bright, clear and warm, I decided to try out the latest: Beavers Bend Trail Extension. The first step was to find the place. Sadly, this proved more of a challenge than expected. I have the utmost respect for our Parks and Recreation department here in Frisco. But updating the city website is not one of their strong suits. The status of the Beavers Bend Trail Extension was listed as “Construction of this trail is scheduled to begin in 2007.” I found other references to projects that were slated to “be completed in 2008.” Meanwhile, the PDF map showing the various trails and parks in town was more confusing than helpful.

But ultimately, with the help of that old stand-by, Google Maps (the city GIS system was off-line), I found the trailhead off Legacy, just north of Lebanon. First of all, let me say that if you’ve got a young one who’s fondest desire is to poke around ponds looking for frogs; this is the place for you. Beavers Bend Park is basically a large wet-land area wrapped by a paved trail. Picnic tables poke out into the middle of the boggy area, providing easy access to budding herpetologists looking for the latest amphibious life forms.

The trail itself, however, left something to be desired. Unlike its counterparts, the Caddo and Taychus trails, Beaver Bend is pretty much devoid of any trees. While this made for a nice ride on a warm winter day, it left me exposed to gusting winds (we get those from time to time around here) and I can only imagine the temperature out there come summer time.

On the plus side, Beavers Bend is one of the first “connector” trails in town. On the eastern end, the plan calls for a connection to the future Grand Park through the corridor provided by Stewart Creek. On the western end, the trail already connects (almost) to our newest community park, BF Phillips. Ultimately, the master plan calls for the trail to continue down the creek, ultimately connecting with Lake Lewisville near the Colony. While that day may be years off, it’s nice to see some of the structure that will someday allow casual riders to cycle around town without risking life and limb in traffic, and actually getting some decent exercise along the way.

While I was pedaling around BF Phillips, I took the opportunity to wander through the space recently designated for an upcoming Dog Park. I must say it seems to be an ideal location. The nearest home was well out of barking range, and the terrain will lend itself to an interesting playground for all kinds of dogs and (lest we forget) their owners. Funding remains a steep obstacle to getting the park built, but I for one look forward to this addition to our diverse park system.

On a completely unrelated note, I made another discovery during my ride. Years ago, I abandoned the daily coffee-grind in favor of tea. One catalyst to the switch was visiting a tea shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown that opened my eyes to the amazing variety of flavors available. But here in North Texas, I haven’t been able to find a shop that carried any kind of selection. Enter the Halo Tea and Chocolate shop at the northwest corner of Lebanon and the Tollway. They’ve got a dandy selection of green teas (great antioxidants), blacks (more caffeine that coffee!) and even some white teas, all sold in loose leaf bins. I tried the Green Caribbean Breeze – a nice fruity blend – and was pleased that it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet like most of those packets you find in the grocery stores. If your exposure is limited to Lipton tea bags, drop by Halo for a taste of what tea is really like.


Anonymous said...

Does Beavers Bend have a gravel trail for us runners with bad knees? (I know I should find a different form of exercise better on my knees, but I'm addicted & not ready to let go.)If not, do you know of any trails in Frisco/Colony/Little Elm that arent concrete?

- Allen Biehl said...

There's a great new track laid out near the Frisco Athletic Center, just off Ohio, north of Lebanon. This is a Frisco ISD project, not a park, and I believe the idea is to use it for cross country teams. But I see a lot of folks using it. Give it a try!