I went out last night to do a ride in the McDowells. Got there with what I thought was two hours of light, forgot about the time change and all. Anyhow, I head out on the "Long Loop" thinking I've got plenty of time. I make it to the turn around point, and bail out to the main road as I approach civil twilight... I just know I'm going to get a ticket for being in the park after sunset. That is, if I'm even able to get back in to get my car. As I make it back to the parking lot, sure enough there's a pick-up parked next to me that wasn't there when I left. He's backing out and as he turns around and sees me coming up the parking lot to him, he stops and turns his lights off. Great, a ticket my first time out here. As I approach, he's writing something... A ticket I'm sure. I speak as I ride by, hop off the bike and start putting my stuff up. Mystery guy is still sitting in his truck doing something. I'm just about through packing up and he drives off, no nothing. Guess I dodged a bullet.
As I'm out on the trail and it becomes obvious that it's going to be well after sunset (when the park closes) when I get back, I actually thought about pulling my spare tube out of my Camelbak and poking a hole in it so I had a good excuse. As it stood in my mind's eye, Mr. County Park Ranger was going to say "yeah, you should have" when I offered my excuse of "I should have known better than to start a trail called the 'Long Loop' when it was as close to dark as it was. I just misjudged it."
Fun trails, but I just can't understand why there are so many fall-line trails. I'm not talking just close to fall-line, I mean straight down the hill. Sure, they're fun, but man are they eroded.