Riding Past The Oasis

Trail: High Trestle Trail

Location: Ankeny to Slater

Ride Length:  Long

Surface:  Asphalt

Terrain:  Flat with a grade going into Sheldahl

Date:    4-15-2014

Time:    10:30

Weather: 30’s/Breezy/Sunny

Starting Point: Ankeny Public Library

Ride Map 

Trail Map

Trail Information


Overview

  • The High Trestle Trail is 25 miles in length.  The wide concrete trail is in fantastic condition and travels through Woodward, Madrid, Slater, Sheldahl, and Ankeny.  The trail portion traveling east to west is the most popular segment with the artistic High Trestle Bridge.

  • With most trailhead facilities not yet open for the season I chose to start my ride at the Ankeny Public Library located at 1210 NW Prairie Ridge Drive.  After crossing the street to the trail I headed north with the town of Slater as my destination.

  • About 5 miles from of Ankeny is The Oasis.  It’s a trailside rest stop constructed as a memorial to a local cyclist.  With it’s shaded picnic area, water fountains, restroom and views of Iowa farmland, it’s a great spot for taking a break along the trail.  

  • Several concrete bridges cross streams while trees flank the trail north of Ankeny.  The segment past The Oasis is more out in the open with NW 58th Street running parallel to the trail.

  • On previous rides out of Ankeny The Oasis was my turn around spot, but not this time.  After making a quick pit stop I continued my ride towards Slater curious to explore this segment of trail.

  • Reaching Slater I took my break at Earl Grimm Park. Ball fields, tennis courts, horseshoe pits,and  picnic areas provide lots of opportunities to have fun. I took a snack break, soaked up some sun, and then headed back to Ankeny.

Considerations

  • There are multiple highway intersections to cross.  Slow down and be sure to get a good look for oncoming traffic.  Motorists seem to travel faster on these highways so be on the alert.

  • This stretch of the High Trestle is ideal for recreational or fitness riding.  With their park, ice cream shop, and restaurants, Slater is a good community for a destination ride from Ankeny. The Oasis is also a good destination for young or beginning cyclists.

Stops

  • Earl Grimm Park and The Oasis were stopping points on this ride.  

Sightings

  • Entering the trail in Ankeny I spotted a happy looking tree trunk that had been yarn bombed.

  • Just across NW 18th street a trailside memorial is dedicated to a former Ankeny resident.  The weathervane on top of the picnic area caught my eye along with a forgotten helmet next to the picnic table.  

  • A trail tattoo communicating peace, love and happiness was spray painted on the asphalt.

  • A slice of train track serves as an artistic bike rack at The Oasis.

  • Greenhouses from Central Iowa Floral are along the trail in Sheldahl.

  • Through the trees on the outskirts of Sheldahl I saw an old church.  Later I learned it is the First Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  I also learned that this tiny community of 300 people sits on three different Iowa counties; Polk, Story, and Boone.  Polk County is the controlling county.  

  • The park in Slater has some “vintage” playground toys you don’t see much of anymore.  

  • I found a tennis ball to add to my growing list of stuff found on bike rides.

  • Along the High Trestle Trail you’ll find signs indicating how many steps it is to the next community.  They also include inspirational quotes.  I couldn’t help but wonder what the quote might have read had Charles been a cyclist.

Treats

  • In Slater I had a mini picnic with a PB&J.  Nothing fancy but when is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich not good?

  • I use my Tupperware Sandwich Keeper quite a bit on rides.  It keeps snacks safe from being smashed in my bike bag.

Wrap Up

I was so pleased to have finally witnessed what is beyond The Oasis.  Hopefully this season I’ll be able to ride the trail in it’s entirety instead of in segments.  Now that would be a great Iowa bike ride!

Happy Riding!