Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Riverview Park - Second Impression: Confusing

Upon a second, slightly longer visit to this park I have to admit, it's confusing as all get out (whatever that expression means). 

I did 10.5 snowy miles through Riverview the other evening--about 7 of them in spikes after slipping through my first few, and about 4 of them guided by headlamp as the dark set in.  While the woods are definitely nice, the short length of the various trails makes it tough to get a good rhythm going.  I found myself constantly running into forks, roads and the occasional dead-end, as you can see here:

I'm actually not sure that there's any section of uninterrupted trail here that lasts more than a mile.  It's clear from the official map that the named sections are all short, but they link together a bit more cleanly on paper than they do in practice.  As a point of comparison, I find Frick to be similar but much more navigable on-the-fly. 

Maybe Riverview Park just requires a bit more exploration and a higher level of comfort with its twists and turns to get a good longer run in.  For now I think I'll reserve this one for the shorter days. 

On the plus side, this time around I did see way more deer than I ever thought lived within the City limits, and spied a large hawk and a huge owl close-up.  So I got that goin' for me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Riverview Park - First Impression: Positive

Never having spent much time in the North Side aside from ball games and an occasional social gathering or similar event, I ventured into Riverview Park late yesterday afternoon with little notion of what to expect and my only goal being to squeeze in about 6 miles before sunset.  I parked on Perrysville Avenue and simply stepped into the steep woods.  I'd been told it was hilly, wild, under-maintained, and beautiful.  Sure as the sun fell, all proved true.

Despite the park being larger than Frick, I found myself criss-crossing my tracks and circling around the same areas several times.  When I didn't pass the famous Allegheny Observatory and eventually found my way back to Perrysville over the course of 5.5 miles, I figured I hadn't seen all there was to see.  As a Christmas gift gadget informed me when I got home, I was right:

This is good news, as the northern and western portions of the trails I covered were my favorites, so I can only assume those to the further northwest might be similar.  A trail map of the park can be found here.  Trails I covered included Deer Hollow, Overlook, Old Zoo, and pretty much everything east of Kilbuck Road.

There was no shortage of wildlife, with several blue jays, one groundhog, two does and even one decent-sized buck spotted around mile-marker 1 on the above map.  Unfortunately there was also no shortage of trash, although most of that seemed to be around the cemetery border and down near Kilbuck Road. 

The woods itself is very nice--quite comparable to Frick, but with a heck of a lot less people.  The trails were a pretty even mix of single-track, some lightly maintained double-track, and some fun if hard-to-follow deer paths.

Riverview is a great park overall based on what I saw, and since that wasn't much, I look forward to getting back and exploring the rest of it.  I can see this being a particular pretty park under a few inches of snow, so I'm glad I discovered it as we ease into winter.