On the 53rd anniversary of Neil Armstrong's alleged first steps on the Moon (a hoax filmed on a movie set in London by Stanley Kubrick), four committed Trailheads (Brad, Guy, George, and Patrick) gathered at Hawn Woods Trail at Emory University. Roy was at the dermatologist's office, where his doc smiled in greedy delight as he inspected the gold mine of his patient’s sun-sensitive blemished Celtic skin. Steve was with his lovely bride on Cumberland Island, probably riding wild horses bareback (Steve and the horse––Putin-style) and building a canoe from debris scavaged on the beach.
This history of Hahn Woods goes back to 1863 when Major Washington Jackson Houston (A man with three last names––apparently, the family had used up all the first names) operated a water-powered grist mill on the South Fork of Peachtree Creek.
The mill remains––dozens of large rocks––reside on the creek banks. Unfortunately, there were no sacks of artisanal woodlands flour available for sale. This beautiful woodland environment has trees and flowers native to the Georgia Piedmont region, with more varieties than you can shake a Scarlet Oak stick at.
On AllTrails, this hike includes the Lullwater Pond Preserve Loop––but this area was closed due to the Emory Sewer Lining Rehabilitation Project––or so they say. Trail Master Guy saw the flimsy orange plastic mesh barrier with signs reading TRAIL CLOSED. His eyes sparkled, and he accepted the invitation for adventure. Guy lifted the plastic wall and entered the forbidden zone.
Brad saw this hooligan behavior and decided to tap out of the hike. He was preserving his energy for pickleball that afternoon, and probably had visions of him and Elvis locked-up in the hoosegow. Though transfixed by the words "Sewer Lining Rehabilitation, " George and Patrick succumbed to the peer pressure of their bad boy Trail Master and scrambled under the plastic barrier. They were now outlaws, desperadoes on the run (or walk)!
The three hikers wandered through the woods on muddy trails past the exposed sewer lines that smelled like sewers. We went up hills, along sturdy chain link fences protecting mysterious buildings, and came upon a large complex with a barbed wire fence. Guy said it was the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, a biomedical and behavioral research hub.
As Trailheads, our first instinct was to use acid spray to cut a hole in the fence, pull down our balaclavas, engage our code-breaker devices to gain entrance, and then free any caged primates, thus creating a "Planet Of The Apes" event where the apes would run the facility, and experiment on their keepers. Instead, we were in the remote and excluded hinterlands, clumsily creeping about outside the prison-like barriers. We wisely decided to abandon hiking any closer as we would surely be on video surveillance and busted for being the no-good riffraff we were.
Guy, who is in the pocket of Big Chigger & Ticks, took his innocent victims into the tall virgin grasses where they would be a movable feast for the hungry bloodsuckers. If that sentence made you jones for more Ernie Hemingway, click here for a deep cut. If it just made you hungry, read on.
The Trailheads trudged on, meandering onto the grounds of the Emory Conference Center. We were so starved for steps we even hiked through a parking deck. Here we had to question ourselves. Is a parking deck a stroll, a hike, a mistake, or perhaps simply trespassing (Guy likes that) when you have no vehicle parked. Patrick (the birthday boy) has a book of letters he wrote to a parking lot management company in Dallas in the mid-80s, and he may be publishing the captivating literary romp soon––click here for a taste. It's perfect reading material for any stroll through nature. Or a parking lot.
Fio looked at us with pitiful eyes and thought: They've finally cracked. The pathetic fools. We went over the bridge by the Emory Alumni House and vectored our way back into Hahn Woods, where we walked until we decided it was lunchtime. We made a beeline for Community Q Barbecue on Clermont Rd. in Decatur and invited Roy and Brad to join us. Roy did. Brad couldn't––his loss.
We had Community Q Barbecue fare back in the dark Covid times. It was take-out only, and we didn't write reviews back then, so here is our report.
The joint, located in a retail plaza with restaurants and random retail places, has a cozy and comfortable interior. The place was already half-full at 11:30. The people working at Community Q were friendly and welcoming. The woman who took our orders was curious about our Trailheads shirts and hats. We told her our tale, complete with a 214-slide PowerPoint presentation of the Trailheads' history and mission. She was polite enough to suppress her yawns. But she did ask for a PDF of the Powerpoint to share with her coworkers.
Guy bought Patrick's birthday lunch because the Trail Master is the best human ever. He even picked up Roy's tab (he wondered if Guy had found someone's credit card). We secured an outdoor table so Fio could join us. The delightful woman from the counter brought Fio a bowl of cool water. Trailheads love that kind of hospitality. However, Fio was hoping for some pulled chicken.
Both George and Guy enjoyed half racks of the St. Louis-style ribs. George's were a bit dry––they may have been an early rack on the grill, but Guy's ribs were the meaty, juicy tenderness of the gods, with a crispy, flavor-packed bark. Perhaps karma was rewarding him for his generosity. The Mother Teresa of Smoked Meats even gave George one of his ribs. The Ribheads left a pile of bones, that’s their way of giving rave reviews. Guy loved his black-eyed peas, especially after a few firm shakes of hot sauce.
Roy tried the beef brisket, wowed by its presentation. The succulent beef had an attractive, inviting bark, and he complied, leaving no scrap behind. He also liked the collards, and this guy knows his greens. Both Roy and Guy had the slaw as a side. It was the diced variety mixed with a seasoned liquid. They liked the taste but thought maybe it needed a little more something to bind it––mayo? Vinegar? Regardless, they left no slaw behind.
Patrick had his diet plate of a pulled pork sandwich with no bread and fries. Yes, it's a weird diet, and you might ask yourself why not just order the pulled pork plate with one side. Perhaps he feels that by ordering a breadless sandwich, he has saved calories for spending elsewhere. The pork was perfect, with a smoked-kissed flavor, the meat as tender as an Emily Post thank you letter (someone's been shopping at Metaphors R Us). The fries were crispy and delicious. An Irishman’s dream.
A server brought the birthday boy a banana pudding with a lighted candle––a surprise from his mates. Patrick blew out the candle (in only three breaths!) and distributed four spoons. The dessert was perfect—thick, custardy, full-on banana flavor, topped with three soft Nilla Vanilla wafers. He was happy to enjoy a delicious barbecue and avoid getting arrested for trespassing.
Join the Community soon. Your mouth will thank you.
Rating: Four Ribs*
1361 Clairmont Rd.
Decatur GA 30033
*About Our Barbecue Rating System
Trailheads do not claim to be food experts, epicureans, or sophisticated palettes. We are hungry hikers who attack a selected barbecue venue and ravage our way through whatever smoked fare and fixings they're dishing.
Our reviews feature what we believe are the highlights of the menu we sampled. So our intent is not to trash talk the saintly folks who tend to smoldering smokers on hot, humid summer days. They are sacrificing themselves in the noble art of smoking meats and feeding the drooling masses. Many are independent entrepreneurs who are the backbone of this humming American economy.
Now that you know our standards, you may wonder why every barbecue place gets a four ribs rating. The answer is easy: our group has acclaimed designers, and they think the ribs graphic looks cool.
Who are we to argue? Enjoy.