A Tale of a Trail

Regular readers know we just love our e-bikes. Since we bought the e-bike rack for our Expedition, I’ve been scouring the internet for new places for us to ride. I found a “new to us” trail on Great Rivers Greenway. Great Rivers Greenway is an organization which is working to add greenways to the St. Louis area. Their motto is “Live Life Outside.” God bless them. The trail I found was called the Dardenne Greenway, Legacy Park to Dardenne Park.

Map of Dardenne Greenway.  It has one purple line.
D is Rabbit Run Park
C is Woodlands Sports Park
B is St. Charles Community College
A is Legacy Park

Dardenne Park is closer to our home than Legacy Park, so we thought we’d start at that end of the trail. Why not save gas, right?

Dardenne Park is 11 miles from home, 19 minutes. Perfect. The Dardenne Greenway map pictured here is from the Great Rivers Greenway website.

It looks fairly straightforward, right? Just don’t turn right or left off the main trail, and you’ll be at Legacy Park before your heirs even know you’re gone.

Now this is the representation of what we actually rode from the “Map My Ride” app.

Trail rode as per Map My Ride

When enlarged, sections of it remind me of the ole’ Spirograph art kit we used to have when we were kids.

The darker lines indicate we rode that part at least twice. Any lines which end abruptly indicate places where we turned around, either by choice or, in most cases, out of necessity.

I count eight of these end points. Ever make a U-turn on a 60 pound e-bike? Repeatedly?

We even reached out twice – asking a couple walking and later, a police officer (in a vehicle) how to get to the trail heads. All either could do was point in a general direction. I was too polite to tell them that we’re not birds.

We also kept ending up in residential areas because the trail led us there. This is great for access to the greenway from these homes, but for us, we were thinking we were in some bicycle version of “Ground Hog Day.” We didn’t think we’d ever get out of there.

When we finally did make it make to the car, Dan said, “My dear, how about next time you pick a trail you find one which just goes out and back or one that goes in a loop?” Life experience has taught me that at moments like this, the best thing for me to do is just not talk. Don’t say a word. Nothing. Nada. So, I didn’t.

Later at home, I wanted to learn more about this trail and how, moving forward, we could have a better idea of how to travel a new trail. So, I looked at the “All Trails” app and signed up for a free account.

Here’s the maps from All Trails. Sorry, I had to break it up into three sections, so the map would be enlarged enough for you to see all the trail options. Every dotted line is a bike trail.

All Trails map of trail.  Section includes Rabbit Run Park and Woodlands Sports Park.

In this first section, you may be able to see the confusion getting across “Mexico Road” after leaving the Dardenne Park. You can also see Dardenne Greenway outlined in red. However, the straight trail (along the yellow line) on the left side is also called “Dardenne Greenway.”

Notice the Roundabout in Woodlands Sports Park. This was the maze that kept spinning us around and leading us into residential areas.

All Trails map with Woodlands Sports Park and Saint Charles Community College

One way or t’other, we got past Woodlands Sports Park and headed towards the Community College.

Last section of ride on All Trails map.  Legacy Park is in the bottom, left corner.

The section above is the area past the community college. Can you see all the spinoffs for residential areas? Somehow, we did make it to Legacy Park. This is located in the lower, left corner. It’s right near where “N” crosses Dardenne Creek.

Even after studying these maps and riding the trails, I’m not sure I could navigate the route again without mistakes. I’m glad we were on e-bikes. Yes, there were signs, but apparently, not enough – for us. It’s not like it’s a super, big problem. It’s just more fun when you can just ride and explore without continually getting lost.

So, what’s the solution?

I plan to review the information on the All Trails app before trying a new trail. Other than that, there is an All Trails Pro version. It costs about $30 a year and can give you notifications if you go off trail. I’m not sure it is worth it – for us. Just knowing this is a feature of the Pro version does make me think we are not the only ones getting lost on trails? Right? Have you ever gotten lost while bike riding – or even hiking?

Any other ideas or suggestions?

Because the next trail I have in mind is called “Spencer Creek Trail.” It’s one that goes straight out and back. Pretty Much.

40 comments

  1. Oh my! I knew exactly what you were feeling as you were “lost”. Many years ago, hubs and I got lost on a summer hike in the woods and the very next winter we got lost on a remote cross country ski trail that had many trail options. It’s such a relief to finally find ones way out! With your engaging writing style and your sense of humor (even when recalling frustration), you’ve woven another great story, Betty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Terry. One would think we wouldn’t have gotten lost on our way back, but we did! Sometimes, all you can do is laugh. We’re hoping to do better on future trails. Hope you have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your bike route does look like it was made with a Spiro-graph. Remember those?

    But it’s not like you have to wake up tomorrow and punch a clock somewhere. You two are retired; everything’s an adventure! Right?

    As always, your sense of humor is spot on.

    As you say, enjoy your day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, David. Of course, I had a Spiro-graph! Sections of our route do look like we used the red-pin on our Spiro-graph. 🙂 Yes, we are retired and enjoy it very much. We are blessed and try to bless others. I hope you enjoy your day, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It can be frustrating to feel like you are never going to get back to the beginning of a trail! That happened to us at Mission Bay Park in San Diego. My husband has the All Trails App that he uses for hiking, but I did not think about it for biking. Good to know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we both felt frustrated, but it all worked out – eventually. 🙂 If we ever visit San Diego, I will watch out for Mission Bay Park. 🙂 Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my! That was quite an adventure!
    Our worst “getting lost” was driving the 35 ft Winnebago. Once we ended up in a little gated retirement community and another time barely made it around a too-small-for-us traffic circle. Once nearly skimming too-low telephone wires. I was so afraid we’d end up stuck somewhere, blocking traffic with now way to move!
    And one time my husband went for a bike ride and a thunderstorm suddenly picked up so the kiddos and I had to try and find him in the middle of nowhere to rescue him!
    Being “lost” is such an uncomfortable feeling in the moment but those experiences make for such amusing stories afterwards, once you are “found” again! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This makes me tired just thinking about it! You were exercising your mental as well as physical abilities at least! I like to get lost walking in really big urban places where I have no clue about where I am. In the days long before phones with maps on them, my top “where am I” experiences were Milwaukee and the Bronx Zoo. Both were valuable lessons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am wondering what the valuable lessons were… self reliance? How to spot someone to ask? What shoes not to buy again? 🙂 I’m not a big fan of getting lost. The good thing is we were on e-bikes, so it wasn’t a big deal to add more miles. Once in Milwaukee, we happened upon a lakefront festival with synchronized kites flying to music. It was amazing. That’s a good memory for us! Hope you have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve had the same thing happen on hiking trails. Always so relieved to find the end. Reminds me of a time my kiddo and I went into one of those mazes that has an ‘enter here’ and an ‘exit there’ somewhere else, Oh my, it was so confusing where the path went. Finally, we gave up and crawled out from under one of the sides. Ha ha. Spirograph is the perfect description!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I went into one of those mazes, too – once. 🙂 Getting lost in hiking trails could be worse – who knows how long you could end up walking! The good thing though is even when we are lost, we are still getting exercise! Thanks for reading and your comment. I hope you have a good day!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love that you said you went into one of those mazes- once. Ha. That’s true about the exercise! After walking a long, long ways on trails that never seemed to end, I started only looking for looped trails. That way they always led back to my truck. Your post mentioned St. Louis area? I’m in southeast MO. So many great hiking/biking trails.

        Liked by 1 person

        • We live in St. Charles, MO. I grew up in South St. Louis. I’d be interested in what biking trails are in southeast MO. Loop trails are great for walking. Last year, we camped at Trail of Tears state park and visited Cape Girardeau. Loved it!

          Liked by 1 person

          • That’s great. I have a friend in St. Charles. I’ll do some looking for more bike trails, but I think there are bike trails around Poplar Bluff. There’s a new and really nice bike trail at Wappapello Lake- it’s a one way trail that runs along the lake. It’s paved with beautiful scenery. I’ve ridden my bike on it. There are also hiking trails there and campgrounds.

            Ooooo, love Cape Girardeau area. We are west of Poplar Bluff, not far from Alley Spring, Echo Bluff State Park, Big Springs, Round Spring areas. We’ve ridden bikes around the lodge at Echo Bluff- though I haven’t scene an official trail bike trail. There are wild horses there that are so beautiful, a lookout with picnic area, hiking trails, and a campground. We’ve taken our bikes to Alley Springs and Round Springs, too, and just rode around the areas, I don’t think there are official bike trails there, but we ride around. There is a hiking trail at Alley Spring, but there are rock steps that would be tricky on a bike- pretty narrow. For my family, anyway.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hi Jessica! You live in a beautiful area. We camped at Echo Bluff a couple years ago, and we visited Alley Spring and Round Spring. I did write a post about it back then, just an fyi, in case you are interested. Thanks for the tip about the bike trail at Wappapello Lake. I didn’t know about that! It sounds really nice! There is an Army Corps of Engineers park on Lake Wappapello that sounds really nice. We have camped at Greenville Recreation Area – not too far from there. We enjoyed it there very much. It sounds like you ride bikes and hike. Do you camp? Thanks for your comment; it’s nice to make new blogging friends with common interests!

              Liked by 1 person

            • We really enjoy this area. We moved here a few years ago from the Springfield area, which was beautiful, too. Here there seem to be more natural springs. We mostly hike and ride bikes, don’t do much camping, I think it’s because we’re within a couple hours of most places. Day trips work well for us. We have stayed at the lodge at Echo Bluff a few times. It’s really nice.

              Wappapello is really great. We go there often for a few hours. The sunsets there are wonderful. The new bike path is actually on the side of the dam, so that was super fun to ride.

              I’ll look for your posts about Alley Spring and Round Spring. I saw recently that they’re going to open up the Alley Spring Mill certain days this summer for tours. That’s definitely something I’d love to do. Hope you have a great day!

              Liked by 1 person

            • When we visited Echo Bluff, we stopped in at the lodge, and we looked at the cabins, too. You are right; they are beautiful!! The campground is really nice, too. Taking day trips to things in the area is one of my favorite things to do. It’s easier and cheaper than traveling, but it still feels like you went on a little trip. I would enjoy a tour of the mill, too. I always like to take tours if available when we visit places. I get so much out of them! I already talked to my husband about Lake Wappapello and the bike trail. We get our travel trailer serviced at Legacy RV on Hwy 67. What we’ve done in the past is after the service, travel down 67 to Greenville Recreation Area. Redman Creek on Lake Wappapello is only about another 30 miles. So, that’s our plan for next Spring when we get de-winterized. I always like to see new places. I am glad you told me about that bike trail. Hope you have a good day!

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            • Wow!!! How exciting that you’re going to go to Redman Creek- I have a couple of friends who’ve camped there. I’m so happy that you’ll see the lake by bike. It’s super fun. That’s pretty cool that you have your travel trailer serviced on 67. I’m about 30 miles from 67 on the south end down by Arkansas. Small world.

              Did you see the wild horses at Echo Bluff? I’ve seen them by the campground there once and also at Round Spring. So beautiful.

              Liked by 1 person

            • We did not see the wild horses. We were told at the time that they were relocated because of issues of being so close to people. Perhaps they have found their way back. It’s been a couple of years since we visited.

              Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my! That was an adventure you didn’t plan to take, but it seems to have been a learning experience! I’ve also had problems with trails that intertwine, even on a trail that loops sometimes there are branches off that lead elsewhere and require on one to seek the direction of the sun to find their way back to the car!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I did learn about trail apps. And I even found another one (traillink.com) which looks even better. So, I will refer to those in the future. I generally have a “sense” – kind of like the direction of the sun, which can help, but I prefer not to be lost. 🙂 Hope you have a great Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’d rather have a handle on it. 🙂 From what I understood, All Trails had the PRO version. You could download a map of your trail. Then you could set it up to give you a notification if you go off route. That doesn’t sound too bad, but it’s not like GPS when driving. Maybe that’s the next improvement. We can hope! Enjoy your Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Linda. I discovered TrailLink after writing this post. The route they showed for the Dardenne Creek Trail was a much better representation in my opinion. I am going to check TrailLine first from now on.

      Liked by 1 person

        • By “subscribe”, do you mean sign up for a free account? Or is there something else I’m missing? I do see that you can purchase some “unlimited” version.

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          • I purchased the unlimited version. I believe it is $19.95 a year subscription. I like to download the maps so that I can see them if we are in an area where there is no cellular data available. There are other features available, too, with the unlimited version. I can’t recall those additional features right now.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m with the grandkids right now and I’m very behind on my blogging life! All of these trails are familiar to me. When we had our apartment in St. Peters, for a year, my husband would walk them every morning while I was still working. We’d explore them together on the weekends. I was so impressed with all their trails but they can be confusing. Hiking or more biking regularly will help with familiarity!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the trails in St. Peters and St. Charles are awesome! And I agree, visiting them regularly will help with familiarity. I was also thinking of when we travel and explore new trails. What is the best way to not get lost? LOL. TrailLink had a better map of the Dardenne Greenway, so I’m going to check them first. We have always ridden bikes, but with our ebikes, we can really cover some ground! Thanks for your comment, and enjoy those grandkids!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We have the All Trail Pro app. I like it for hiking if I can remember to download the map prior to getting to the trail and finding there is no service. I also like that I can keep a log of the trails we hiked. I never thought of using the app when bike riding. Like you, I use Map My Ride. I have to try All Trails when riding bike trails.

    I think if I was in you shoes, I might of called Uber to get me back to my car. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Since writing this, I have found TrailLink, and from what I’ve seen so far, I like it better. The maps seem better to me. I am just using the free version. Most of the time, bike trails are fairly straightforward . However, we may come across some trails when traveling, where a map would be a good idea. I use Map My Ride to keep a record. The best thing in all of this is that we are riding.

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