Monday, July 25, 2016

Surviving Alligator Alley On The Wee-Chi-Tah Trail

Sunday I was in Lucy Park, walking beside the Wichita River on the Circle Trail. As I neared the swinging suspension bridge which crosses the Wichita River to an RV Park I saw a pair of mountain bikers on the RV Park north side of the river.

I thought to myself, that must be the illusive Wee-Chi-Tah Trail which I had yet to find, despite looking for it.

I've taken you across the Lucy Park suspension bridge previously, via photo, text and video in a blogging titled Suspense On A Wichita River Suspension Bridge.

So, on Sunday I crossed the Lucy Park Suspension Bridge again, curious to see the trail those two mountain bikers were mountain biking on.

I walked west through the RV Park, looking for a trail. I found none. I walked to the road, thinking maybe the trail directs bikers to the road prior to returning to the dirt trail. I found nothing.

And then suddenly a grizzled old mountain biker popped out of the woods via a slender slice of single track I had not noticed. He biked to me, stopped a second, uttered "this trail is killing me" and then continued on to the east side of the RV Park.

I followed and eventually came to the sign you see above identifying a Wee-Chi-Tah Trail Head and something called Alligator Alley.

I walked a short distance in Alligator Alley. I saw no alligators.

Later, after returning to Internet Access I Googled "Wee-Chi-Tah Trail" and found a couple informative websites.

One was the Wichita Falls city website's Wee-Chi-Tah Off Road Trail page, where the information included...

Bring the family, friends, mountain bikes and safety gear and try the Wee-Chi-Tah Trail. You'll enjoy 13 miles of challenging twists, turns, descents and beautiful scenery

The trail was voted the best urban off-road trail in the State of Texas and is used for the Hotter 'N Hell's challenging Wee-Chi-Tah Mountain Bike and Trail Run.

The Texas Mountain Bikers website had a lot of Wee-Chi-Tah Trail information, and a lot of photos, along with the following descriptive paragraph...

Take the best that every other Texas trail has to offer, throw a little bit of each into one trail system and you’ll end up with the Wee-Chi-Tah Trail. This trail offers everything that makes singletrack fun; narrow, winding, flowing, well-packed, tight sections that require grace to squeeze through, to sweeping sections that allow some nice speed before approaching the next tight switchback or technical feature. You’ll find yourself weaving up and down embankments, even wall riding at one point. You have a thing for whoop-de-doos? No problem. Switchbacks bring a smile to your face? You’re well-covered. Quick ups and quicker, steeper downs? You’ll find plenty. Roots? Log crossings? Sandy sections? Drops? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. You’ll even be crossing a suspension bridge! So what does Wee-Chi-Tah trail lack? Long downhills. But that’s ok; it just means that you won’t find any long climbs, either.

From the Texas Mountain Bikers I learned the Wee-Chi-Tah has several areas where the trail has challenging options, marked via the black diamond method. As in if marked with one black diamond the section of trail is challenging. Marked with two black diamonds the trail is even more challenging.

I long ago learned that when I come to a black diamond trail marker to take the wimp bypass option and avoid the humiliation of having to carry my bike back out from something impossible for me to roll on.

It is currently much too HOT to get adventurous on an unfamiliar mountain bike trail, particularly a trail which is a one-way loop of 13 miles.....

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