Upper Tampa Bay Trail (The Gem of Hillsborough County) 7/4/2011

One of the best decisions the County Commission made was to allocate funds for turning an old unused CSX rail bed into one of the most beautiful multi-use trails in the State of Florida.  If you are into cycling, walking, jogging or rollerblading this is the place for you.  The trail is perfect for fitness buffs or those just looking to take a little leisure time outside.  It really accommodates all and the only thing you need to take advantage of the trail is a reasonably priced pair of walking shoes and you are set to go.

I have only ridden the trail on my bike and have never really had an opportunity to walk it and take my time to visually inspect the trail in better detail.  So I decided the 4th of July is as good as any other day to grab my phone and visually concentrate my efforts on the geography of the landscape.  So with my trusty Samsung Galaxy S in hand, I embarked on the more scenic spur of the trail to check it out.

It was a great start on the 4th, clear blue Sky's but really humid!

In some places the trail is really wide open with minimal tree cover.  Luckily this happens to be the exception:

The trail is very well marked.  I just can't imagine anybody getting lost.

As you can see shade is plentiful on the trail:

The trail has strategically placed rest stops that are benched and usually have a scenic quality to them (some with water).  It makes for a great place to stop and either take a quick nap or just a break

Nice bridge constructed over a small drainage creek (Rocky Creek):

This bridge leads accross a man made channel (Channel "A") that was dug over 50 years ago.  There was supposed to be about 60 more miles dug but an EPA study resulted in shutting the project down because of environmental impact to the area.

For a clear unimpeded flow they have constructed a few underl passes.  I really like this idea since crossing some of the busy roads can be a bit unnerving:

Nice shaded oak canopy (you will frequently encounter long stretches of shaded areas):

Underpass at an abandon railroad trusel. A note of CAUTION here as well.  A couple of years ago I was riding the trail and a rider heading in the opposite direction was traveling way too fast and was unable to negotiate the turn (not to mention there is a blind spot).  He left his lane and we had a head on collision.  No one was seriously injured but my bike suffered a broken fork and a bent rim.  I was pissed because "dude" said he would pay for the damages.  We exchanged numbers but later when I called him amnesia seemed to have set in:


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