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Grapevine Lake: Runny and stinky

Run date: Sunday, Aug. 12

Ok, so I’ve got the Cedar Hill State Park thing going, but I wanted to give another trail on the NTTR list a whack. The trail that’s the most discussed and hailed on the message board is Northshore Trail on Grapevine Lake. It was a Sunday afternoon, so Baybay was going to be with me. Doggone if he didn’t agree to go.

(Side note … I’m listening to Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime” — totally not planned!)

I have a one-word review of this area of the lake and this trail: Dump. I was really surprised. I don’t think it was just because a lot of the trail was ravaged by the summer rains, either. The glamorous, sprawling Gaylord Texan was within view, with an equally tony golf course, paint ball facility and Glass Cactus music venue and nightclub right on the lake. Then the lake itself … total dump.

The shoreline everywhere — where families picnicked, where people swam, where no people were — was chock full of garbage. The air smelled wretched. And the bathrooms, oh the bathrooms. I’m not sure I can do it justice, but let me try. The small, cinder-block structure was divided in two for men and women. You could smell death 10 yards before you approached the entrance, which was in the back. Wasps swarmed all around the opening. But inside … oh dear. Two stainless steel prison toilets stuck out of the ground. You could see straight down to the waste from the the bowels of the previous 400 people before you. No sinks, trash can, nada. Flies. Old paint peeling from the cinder block walls. Horrid-smelling heat. The smell … oh the smell. I’ve been to a couple of developing countries in my life, and no lie — this was quite likely the worst bathroom I’ve ever been in.

Brian and I finally found the trailhead. It was difficult because so much of the shoreline-hugging trail was under water. We had to find alternate ways through vegetation at times to go around the submerged parts. This often meant a face full of cobweb, which inspired more than a couple of “ARE THEY ON ME? GET THEM OFF ME!” dances. The parts of the trail that were beautiful and worthy were almost disqualified by the bother of just trying to stay on some semblance of a path. Wait-a-minute vines scratched our thighs up pretty good, too. The non-sweat-proof bug spray held up quite nicely, though. I still have a big scary (spider?) bite from Enchanted Rock on my hip, but nada from this run; amazing, since we spent half the time thrashing through fauna.

The blessing of having the forest shade us from the sun was pretty much canceled out by the forest blocking the circulation of wind. I gave up and took off my goofy, neon-orange “TDMN Fit Club” t-shirt and tucked it into the back of my sports bra. Brian, ever body shy, decided to tough it out fully-clothed.

There seemed to be a couple/a few layers of trails, from right on the shoreline to farther away and up on the hill. They all offered steep climbs, rocky descents and an air of sweet-smelling fir (farther away from the stagnant-smelling lake, anyway).

The run itself wasn’t too tremendously terrible. But I’ll only return to that part of the lake when I hear that the lake level is back to normal and the trail is, well, all there.

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  1. The City of Trophy Club is dumping over a quarter million gallons per year of wastewater containing pathogens like cryptosporidium, giardia, e coli, MRSA, etc. into a source of drinking and recreational water for area residents(see youtube video).

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=M_1qqQ8TjEs

    Pool filter backwash is a hazardous source of e coli and other pathogens. Below is a link to a documented e coli outbreak in British Columbia that was traced to dumping pool filter backwash to the storm sewer; exactly what Trophy Club is doing. The manufacturer of the pool chemical(diatomaceous earth) found on the streets of Trophy Club thinks it causes cancer(see material safety data sheet link). It sometimes triggers asthma attacks in our four year old daughter. The Trophy Club City Manager refuses to respond to these allegations of a public health nuisance.

    http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/05vol31/dr3112ea.html
    http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/d1288.htm

    Trophy Club expressly allows, by city ordinance, the backwashing of pre-2005 pools into the streets, storm drains and creeks that drain into Grapevine Lake. This illicit discharge is not even quantified in Trophy Club’s current Stormwater Management Plan submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for permit coverage.

    Citizens who use Grapevine Lake and who do not want to drink or swim in wastewater from the City of Trophy Club only have one opportunity to comment on this. The City of Trophy Club is trying to sneak this through before anyone finds out. Comments from affected parties can be sent to the address below requesting a public meeting where this can be properly reviewed.

    Attn: Ms. LaDonna Castañuela, TCEQ Office of the Chief Clerk MC 105,
    PO Box 13087
    Austin, TX 78711-3087
    Re: City of Trophy Club, TX – General Permit TXR040080, Phase II MS4
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/trophyclubstormwater/

  2. Christy,

    Thank you for your brilliant commentary and insight regarding the running trails and conditions surrounding Lake Grapevine. Since you claim to have traveled, maybe you could name the international running hotspots you DO approve of. I would be happy to suggest some, but you’re only worth the time it’s taking me to fire this off.

    Grapevine and Southlake (where I live)are unique,growing,vibrant and affluent. The trails of Lake Grapevine may not be ready for YOUR analysis, but it’s a shame you would spend the energy to insult the area to the extent you did.

    Christy, you don’t appear to do much research. So maybe you don’t know that Grapevine and Southlake are teeming with company owners and executives, professional athletes,runners. Everyone here has pride in where we live and run. And if you, Christy, “Web Editor” are ever looking for a new gig, you may want to think about who you insult on your ignorant blog first.

    I looked up this site to seek new routes and your bullshit is what I found. Good luck on your worldwide quest for a trail that you feel is not a “dump”. You can come to my “dump” and clean my pool any time.

    Keep your shirtless boy/girlfriend Brian far away; what a joke.

    Happy Running!

  3. Dear Anonymous, The dump you loooove so much is actually called Grapevine Lake, dear.

    I’m not sure what international running hotspots have to do with the present conversation, and especially what they have to do with your toilet of a lake. So no, I won’t share any with you.

    I’m also not sure what this sentence even means: “And if you, Christy, ‘Web Editor’ are ever looking for a new gig, you may want to think about who you insult on your ignorant blog first.” A job search and what I say about stinky lakes on a running blog aren’t subjects that exactly reside in the same neighborhood of point-making. Especially since I didn’t insult an actual “who” who could endanger anyone’s future career prospects.

    You appear to be insecure about your own job, or at least your status in society. No defense of the trails’ clientele is needed, sweetheart. I know that “executives, professionals, athletes, runners” use the trails, because it’s from those sort of folks that I heard about the trails to begin with. That doesn’t make the lake smell any better.

    It’s been over a year since I wrote that post — thanks for reading my blog so deeply, by the way. But I do remember there being some immense storms and flooding of the trails, although it had been a while. I highly respect the folks who told me about the trails and use them on a regular basis, so I suppose they aren’t typically as gross as they were that day.

    I also have family who live in the Grapevine/Southlake area and think highly of them as well. I can say that the area’s residents really don’t need you to defend their cities as “unique, growing, vibrant and affluent.” They’re pretty secure in those facts already. Feelings of worthiness eradicate the need to defend. So where does your insecurity come from? Is it that you’re new-money? Or that you’re no-money-but-want-desperately-to-be-perceived-as-having-money?

    You seem to be quite the advocate for Grapevine Lake. Which is good — it smelled like it could use all the love it can get.

    Happy running to YOU!

    xoxox,

    Christy