Hanna Park

I just ended one of my Juancho trademark wanderings. This one began at Hanna Park in Jacksonville, FL which I found with little trouble.
The subsequent rudderless effort to find my hotel took me to: the back entry gate of a military base, a substantial sample of Duval County subsidized housing, north then south on I-95, a return to the gates of the military base to start over and some good solid assistance from Eli and Jerome who were holding it down at the CVS Pharmacy. No matter. I needed toothpaste anyway.

I assume I need these moments off the mental grid. I watch myself make turn after turn with no idea where I might be going as if I am watching a rerun of Law and Order. I know the plot, but I still find the characters compelling.

I brought this same level of intensity and focus to my ride at Hanna Park. The rain was steady- like it aimed to stick around a couple days- so I put on the iron mask and sloshed out into unknown terrain. Slick and rooty, the trails here are lush with prehistoric palm fronds which doused me with their blessings every two or three feet. Situated right on the Atlantic Ocean, the coastal breeze and the rain brought goosebumps to the skin- in July!

No complaints about that.

2 hours of slogging and I declared every nook and cranny ridden. The afterwork crowd was filling the parking lot when I returned. Lots of dudes sitting in their cars wondering if it was going to let up. As I stripped my sloppy gear off and flung it on my red rental Dodge Charger, riders broke the seal and exited into the rain, insistent ding dinging of keys still in ignitions signifying doubt.

A rinse in the ocean with a view of belching smokestacks and murky roller waves under a grey sunset- talk about atmosphere.

I wouldn’t go out of my way, but I would never pass it up.


7 Responses to Hanna Park

  1. I grew up about a mile south of Hanna Park. There is a fence blocking entry but some enterprising person always managed to keep a hole cut in it so we could squeak through with our beachcruisers and surf boards. If the tide pushed us north too far we would drift right onto the Naval Base land. That’s when the sailors would come with their bullhorns and trucks to move us off. I also have memories of some of my first, fumbling experiences with members of the fairer sex in those woods. Good times. Thanks for the reminder.
    Dr. D

  2. I’ve raced at Hannah Park more times than I can remember. It’s always been one of my favorite FL courses. The twisty woods, technical palmetto roots, and lack of any real elevation, suit my skills. I’ve surfed there even more often than I’ve raced there. I’ve camped there during a monsoon. Your post brought back all of the smells and sounds, and now I’m jonesing. Thanks, Juancho.

  3. Yep, it’s the classic 2 hour feat, where you can find everyone from 4 year olds on training wheels to the likes of bigworm. The postcoital dip in the surf is a sweet bonus. For a displaced NE Fla. boy, the Atlantic = the Ganges. Now I’m jonesing, too.