We picked up the Heights Bike Trail where we left off last time - in front of Sawyer Heights Lofts close to the shopping center at Sawyer Heights Street and Sawyer, where parking is plentiful and safe. From here, the trail runs alongside Spring Street, dips under the I10 and the I45, crosses the bayou and turns south towards downtown. Right now, it ends just short of downtown but construction is already underway on the bridge that will take the trail over the bayou and into Main Street just where the METRO currently terminates at the University of Houston Downtown.
Today’s walk turned out to be full of contradictions. The thrill of setting out along this “new to us” bit of the track was quickly tempered by the increasing noise of traffic as we approached the freeways. But, despite the traffic thundering overhead as we dipped under the roads and turned south, the impressive view of this new angle of the downtown skyline redeemed our spirits. We quickly settled back into our conversation with a long straight stretch of smooth pathway ahead. We enjoyed watching the birds fishing in the peaceful bayou to our right and took photos of the pretty selection of wildflowers to the left. We were briefly amused to see a group of cormorants perched high in a tree over the bayou and also managed to catch a glimpse far off to the right of Four Giant Presidential Heads –some of the many sculpted by David Adickes.
All too soon we were approaching the University of Houston Downtown and the noise of construction became almost overwhelming. The trail comes to an abrupt end but our curiosity forced us on across the mud, past the jackhammers and over the old bridge into the somewhat less scenic but nonetheless interesting area around Harris County Jail and other correction facilities.
The return journey was tiresomely loud and also uneasily unpopulated. By the time we were passing back under the I10 and I45 we were feeling a little uncomfortable and resolved to carry mace and a personal alarm with us the next time. The final contradiction of the day was that while there were convenient restrooms and good coffee right where we had parked, we found the location rather lacking in charm and novelty.
Overall, the Heights Bike Trail is a great find and we will be walking, or perhaps even cycling, this way again in the future.