By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
At the Pinetta Market, just off Colin Kelly Highway, Bill Washington says he was originally against the recently completed part of the Four Freedoms biking trail that goes through Pinetta, almost within hollering distance of his store. “Frankly, I thought there were better uses for the money,” he says.
But now that the segment from Hanson to the Withlacoochee River is finished, he rides it all the time. “Since they spent the money, we might as well use it.”
Washington also says he has seen several other people out on the trail, which now runs a little over 12 miles from Madison, ending at an old railroad crossing at the river where part of the old trestle still remains. “I think people are a little more health conscious now,” he says, adding that the trail is beautiful, making for a scenic ride, where biker might encounter squirrels, gophers and maybe even a wild turkey or two along the way.
The hikers and bikers often stop at the Pinetta Market, which for some is a destination in and of itself – for others, it is a rest stop along the way – but most of them come in for a cone of Washington’s hand-dipped ice cream. He sells hot dogs and hamburgers as well, but it is mostly the ice cream he is known for. Recently, when a bicycling club of several hundred members rode through the area, he had quite a few customers coming in for a cone.
The trail parallels the Colin Kelley Highway from Madison to Pinetta, where it crosses over to run parallel to Persimmon Street until it reaches Mt. Horeb Road. There it crosses again to the other side of Persimmon and begins veering away gradually until the trail is just a quiet path, out of sight of any road or building, with only trees and undergrowth on either side and the sky above; a sky that is sometimes big and open, and other times seen through an overhead canopy of green. At places the overhead growth is so thick the trail becomes a cool, green tunnel.
For people riding the trail, there are plenty of picnic areas and places to stop and catch a breath along the way to the river. But, even if they only make it as far as Pinetta, there is at least the possibility of an ice cream cone in the picture.
Hiking And Biking Through Pinetta
By Lynette Norris