FIELD TRIP: Walking the North Oconee River Greenway, Athens, GA - April 2013

I was in Athens, GA for a work trip and I decided to use a free afternoon to walk the North Oconee River Greenway. I started at Broad Street and planned to walk north about 2 miles to the Sandy Creek Nature Center to explore a bit before walking the 2 miles back.

Here's where I was:

View Larger Map

There is also a nice map here.

The Greenway is a 3.5-mile paved path with interpretive signs along the way that opened in 2003.

I didn't know what to expect from the Greenway. I have to say I was hoping it would be right along the river, not a concrete path next to a road above the river, but I just went with it. Luckily, as I walked north there were little areas to leave the path and wander around some parks and as I got even further north the path was separated from the road by trees and greenery.

One great thing about the Greenway were the markers. They were embedded in the concrete and that made it really easy to tell which way to go on the path to continue on the trail (this one indicates to go straight because there was a path that went off to the right).

Here are a few shots I took in the first mile of my walk:

"The Bike is the Answer"

Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)
Once the trail turned away from the road and closer to the water things got a bit more interesting:

Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)

I guess the water table was high and so some parts of the path were covered with water. Someone had made a little stone "bridge" to get through the water.

I was almost to Sandy Creek Nature Center when another walker told me that the trail was completely flooded just around the bend. I decided to press on and I'm really glad I did because I spotted these beauties:

Common Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
And then the flooded trail . . .

I thought about running through, but I'd learned my lesson years ago (on a trip to Tennessee where we hiked up to a waterfall and jumped in!) that hiking with wet shoes is really unpleasant. I decided to turn around and head back to the hotel for a nap before the conferencing began.

All told it was a really pleasant experience. Check it out if you're in Athens!


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