I train for a 28-mile Memorial Walk each year and yesterday I needed to get at least 10 miles to make sure my feet are ready.
I was looking for a specific path for this walk. Here were my criteria:
-did not want to walk along a busy road. Walking/rucking is relaxing to me and I do not like consistent road noise.
-wanted a long path so I could easily get 10+ miles without making the same loop many times
-needed some seclusion and/or restrooms b/c I drink a lot of water and have to go at least every hour
-prefer some sitting options so I can take a quick break to snack, drink, stretch and change socks if needed
-since the annual event is on paved roads, I want a paved path. My family and I make great use of the many hiking trails in the area, but this specific event is paved roads, so that’s how I typically train, especially for long walks
Fortunately, Huntsville, AL has many greenways and I’ve spent time on most of them. But, the Aldridge Creek Greenway is one that I’ve never walked on. So, off I went.
I parked at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on the corner of Bailey Cove Road and Green Mountain Road, and headed south on the path.
It was a perfect spring day, late April. Birds were everywhere, kids playing in the water along the path, many runners, walkers and bikers–both families and individuals; all ages. Since the path is wide, there wasn’t a problem with being overcrowded.
Smells always stick with me. I don’t know what caused the wet dog smell for about the first mile, but after that the honeysuckle and other pleasant smells took over.
There are benches about every 1/2 to 3/4 miles–plenty of them. Generous people have donated, often times in memory of a loved one.
I walked to Ditto Landing, covered that area just a little, found a bathroom at the pavilion, took a quick break along the river, then headed back.
Note: there are more paths at Ditto Landing, but I didn’t take them. Next time, I’ll check out the path along the river.
Went straight back to the church parking lot, which was 10 miles. Took me 3 hours and 20 mins. Step count was around 21,300.
My goal is always around 18-19 min miles b/c that’s the pace we’ll do during the JAG 28 Memorial Birthday Walk. I wasn’t far off, but didn’t stop my counter when I stopped to talk with a biker, sat and ate a few snacks and used the bathroom.
If you’re looking for elevation gain, this isn’t the path. Over these 10 miles, my gain was only 154 feet. When I want elevation gain, I have a great spot in Hampton Cove that is a burner!
The only time I encountered road noise was close to Ditto Landing.
The scenery along the path was beautiful. Also saw some brightly colored birds and a mama duck with her ducklings.
These walks (actually a ruck since I was carrying 20 lbs on my back) are my time to get away from my busy and loud life, listen to a podcast, listen to silence and nature, and think. Basically, rucking is perfect outdoor therapy.
I hope this post is helpful to you as you plan your next short or long walk/ruck. Huntsville is a beautiful area and has many great outdoor options. I’m not saying this is my favorite path, but it’s definitely one of my favorite. And since I was looking for distance and seclusion, I got it on Aldridge Creek Greenway.
Post a comment below on what you like or don’t like about this greenway. Also, please share other paths that you like and why. And if you’re new to Huntsville, welcome! I’m far from an expert on the area since I’ve only been here 2.5 years. We’re still exploring too.
If you’re interested in my playlist for this walk (when I wasn’t listening to nothing), here are the two podcasts I completed:
Our Town Podcast – Lisa DeFalco
The Ready State – Jon Gregory