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Trailheads Walk With Snakes And Run The Stroller Races Before Inhaling SmokehouseQ.

Updated: Apr 27

At long last, we almost assembled an entire team of Trailheads. However, George is babying a nasty bruise he received when gravity got the better of him on a walk and knocked him down.


As if that weren’t enough, he’s also busy in movie production mode. We imagine him in his tall canvas director’s chair, chomping on a Cuban cigar, a glass of Pinot Noir in hand, bullying the writer (himself), and threatening to “shut this whole damn picture down if people don’t get in line toot sweet.” He now demands we call him Mr. Producer and never approach without a fresh Vente, non-fat, quad-shot latte.


As Mr. Hollywood worked in the greasepaint arts, Guy, Steve, Brad, Roy, and Patrick rallied to our endless pursuit on the path to truth and barbecue. Because Roy is still battling a respiratory ailment, Trail Master took pity and selected Willeo Park Boardwalk for our weekly hike. But was it a hike or a walk? You decide.


The journey begins from a parking lot to a sidewalk and then to a lovely boardwalk that winds through pretty woods and over water, then to another sidewalk leading to another long boardwalk.

Four of us wore sneakers (Roy, as usual, was the most fashionable with a pair of bright white New Balances), but Steve wore his trusty Merrill Moab 2 hiking boots. No walking sticks appeared for this expedition.


Those who say it was a hike use the logic that it’s officially listed on AllTrails, which is a hiking site. Case closed. But the counterargument is there are no exposed roots, rocks, dirt, or mud to contend with. Case opened. Even still, we demonstrated incredible endurance, scaling an impressive 23 feet of elevation on the whatever it was. Yet, amazingly, none of us suffered nosebleeds from the extreme altitude changes.


As we began our “hike,” we went past a group of women doing something called Boot Camp. This is a ruse where people pay money, and someone commands them to do exercises designed to make participants sweat. Wait––people spend cash to sweat in Georgia? What’s next––paying money to inhale pollen?


Trail Master Guy also served as tour master since he came to this area six times a week when his daughter Allie did competitive rowing in high school. Her team practiced on the beautiful Chattahoochee River. Rowers will tell you that a large body of water comes in handy for that sport. The river is wet, pretty, and flat, and rowers apparently like that.

We wonder if condemned men forced to row in galley ships paid for their oar exercise program. 

“Come on, guys,” the galley boss would shout while beating the drum. “Give 110%. Feel the burn. That’s it, fellas––remember, the burn tempers steel! Let’s get ripped!!!”

Then, the Euro dance beats would pick up speed with intensity and volume, and the rowers kicked it into high gear.


As we walked along the busy road, Guy proudly pointed out a metal post with various tools for bicyclists to keep their two wheels in prime cycling condition, complete with an air pump. He is a cyclist and was excited about this convenience station.

We suppressed yawns and walked on, saying, “Yeah, yeah––that’s great, Guy. Amazing.” We wondered how they knew bikes would break down right here. Is this the designated bike breakdown spot?


We came upon the area where the Union Army crossed the Hooch at Shallow Ford during the Civil War. The Roswell Battalion had burned the bridge as a practical joke (they had also strategically placed whoopee cushions on the riverbank).

A Union Army soldier described the crossing this way: “…the bottom was rough and rocky, hard on bare feet.” Seasoned trivia experts know that contrary to popular belief, there were no water shoes in 1864. Surprising but true.


After a good stretch of sidewalk walking, we came to the boardwalk, which cut into the woods and crossed the river. On this beautiful morning, there were many people out enjoying the weather. As we walked (hiked?), we were passed by many mothers pushing baby carriages. We think we heard a few say, “Listen to Mommy and Daddy and behave, or you’ll grow up and be like those men.” The child would cry. We also cried a little but carried on bravely.


It seems that as soon as a mother is released from the hospital with her newborn, she is issued a high-end, German-designed, Italian-manufactured stroller and sent to this place to push, jog, and move about in packs.

If we ever return, we'll rent strollers to fit in. It was no surprise that these young women were quickly lapping us. Sometimes, the au pair, not the Mom, pushed and whispered Swedish or French directions to the youngster, who probably needed clarification. We probably all need au pairs.


The Willeo Park Boardwalk is terrific. The planks are made of a synthetic plastic composite with a nice give, putting a bounce to our steps. We’ll take all the bounce we can get. We’d love to have some of that Moon gravity bounce. Is the Moon on AllTrails?


At the end of the water crossing, we saw a magnificent bird posing in the water. A discussion/debate began over whether it was an egret or a heron. Someone said it was a blue heron. Someone else said it was egret-heron. The remains of John James Audubon turned in its grave. Those nearby swear they heard “What a bunch of idiots Trailheads are” rise from the ground.

We moved on in our ignorance. Roy noted that it appeared to have been placed in position by park personnel with a restraining device around its feet. Or it was possibly an animatronic character designed to bring true Disney nature to the hike. That Walt thought of everything.


Next, we encountered a snake! Was it deadly? Patrick screamed like a tea kettle on full boil. Roy slapped him repeatedly across the face and barked, “Calm down, man––‘tis but a baby snake, harmless as a Mother’s kiss.” Patrick looked at the slithery beast and ran away wailing, his arms flailing wildly.

Roy belongs to a Georgia Snake Identification group on Facebook. He quickly identified it as non-venomous and told the group, and anyone who would listen, that you must always say "venomous" and not "poisonous." Otherwise, the knowledgeable snake community will look down on you, not to mention the snakes.


Steve and Roy encouraged the little snake to cross the sidewalk to the waterside, and Roy acted as the crossing guard ensuring the journey was safe. The viper no doubt admired Roy’s stylish footwear… and appreciated not being assaulted by strollers.


We continued our excitement-filled journey of mysterious fowls, mothers with baby carriages lapping us, and snakes. There was a long boardwalk straightaway exposed to an enormous ball of fire in the sky that many call The Sun. This is where the ultraviolet rays causing skin cancers are manufactured and sent to attack us.

As we’ve detailed in earlier posts, most Trailheads have suffered from Mohs surgeries for basal cell and Melanoma carcinomas. On April 10th, we took extreme measures, using the Moon to block the Sun. While we were successful for a short time, the Sun eventually escaped and has been looking for us daily to exact its evil revenge.


The Sun saw its opportunity with a clear blue sky and blasted us with deadly UV rays. We trudged along, our pasty skins suffering the horrors of the attack. After ten minutes, we saw the fireball had the better of us and doubled back. We believe we heard the Sun giggle. Yes, it sounded maniacal. Patrick and Roy felt like human sausages sizzling away.


As we returned to the parking lot, we noticed children who had been herded by teachers for a school outing in the park. They crossed on the bridge over us, and we could have sworn we heard teachers saying, “Always obey us and do your lessons, or you could end up like those men down there.” At least the teacher didn't call us "old." Guy is sensitive about that, and it would have crushed his spirit.


Children, if you’re reading this, we’re sure your parents (and teachers) would love some genuine Trailheads apparel available here. And you will love knowing that ALL profits benefit Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy in their efforts to keep our environment pristine. And teachers, leave them kids alone. They might give you a Trailheads "Hike The Hooch" shirt instead of an apple. Lucky you.


On the walk back, Elvis and Fio enjoyed making some new friends as we tried to silence the angry rumblings of hunger pangs. Our selected barbecue spot was SmokehouseQ in Roswell. While none of us could remember if we had been there before, we pulled into the parking lot, and surprise–– we had! Read about it (here). It’s a good thing we take notes.


This barbecue joint is in a shopping strip anchored by a sprawling Publix supermarket. SmokehouseQ’s exterior is unassuming, but you’ll know you’ve arrived when you walk inside. An area by the counter is stocked with barbecue championship trophies and piggy figurines protecting them.


The cozy décor is Mid-Century Swine, one of our favorite styles, especially when we’re famished.


A large menu board hung behind the counter, and the friendly woman working handled our essential question, “What’s your favorite here?”

“I like the brisket,” she said. “And the pulled pork. But the chicken’s good, too.”

Okay, we get it––everything’s great.


We placed our orders and sat at a picnic table out front. Fio lay under the table, and Elvis stood sentry at the side. They both were anticipating table scraps falling their way. The food trays arrived as the dogs tried tripping the delivery person. They failed and had to resort to doggy begging.

Steve liked his pulled pork plenty. “The bark is delicious,” he cooed, working a forkful to mouth. “The meat is tender and tasty.” Brad agreed the pulled pork was mighty fine swine.


Roy got the beef brisket, as did Patrick and Guy. Roy ordered the brisket sandwich and thought it was a potato bun, which is always a good choice. However, he wished it had been toasted. Trailheads are fans of Elwood from The Blues Brother, and we adhere to his order of “dry white toast,” although we change it to a toasted bun with smoked meat. We like toasted!


The brisket was very good but a little dry on this day. Did that stop us from inhaling it? Nope. Especially after we dressed the meat with one of the four fabulous SmokehouseQ barbecue sauces offers: Original Sweet, Spicy, South Carolina Mustard, and North Carolina Vinegar. Pick any of them, and you’ll be happy. Or mix them like a mad scientist and enjoy your bold discovery, you innovating mastermind.


Guy and Patrick also had the baby back ribs, and said those babies were delicious. The meaty ribs are lean and eat clean to the bone. Doll them up with a glaze of sauce and dig in. Welcome to Pig Heaven.


Let’s run the bases on the side dishes. Steve raved about his Brunswick Stew. “This is a real winner,” he said. “The flavor is fabulous, and it’s loaded with meat.” His spoon was getting some serious RPMs. We think he got Brunswick Stew

Elbow from his workout.


Patrick was cuckoo for his brisket chili. “It’s made the way I like it— Texas style, with no beans filler. Just lots of tasty smoked meat in a spicy sauce with some tomatoes running interference.”


Brad, our collard greens expert, gave a big spoon up to SmokehouseQ’s version of the Southern classic. “This is authentic,” he said. “Any grandma would be proud to call it her own.”

Why can’t grannies be more ethical?


Roy, the consummate coleslaw expert, was happy with his cabbage concoction. “This is good stuff,” he proclaimed. “It’s crisp, flavorful, and has a nice crunch.” Steve and Guy were in the same camp, it’s called “We Like This Coleslaw Camp” and isn’t very popular with kids.


Patrick gave a passing grade to the green beans. “A little bit of onion helps kick up the flavor. It’s a nice touch.”


And Brad loved his baked beans. He said the sweet flavor was excellent. Was this the “toot sweet” George referred to earlier?


Two young guys were sitting at the picnic table next to ours, curious about our Trailheads shirts and caps. We gave them a brief history of us and discussed our favorite barbecue joints. Patrick gave the men his author business cards (he’s constantly pimping his debut novel, available here) and told them to check out this site for hiking and barbecue reviews and general silliness. If the I.T. recruiting guys we met are reading this, welcome. And feel free to get your own Trailheads gear here. After you buy Patrick’s book (it’s also available in an audio version so you can rest your eyes).


Our day was done. Had we hiked or walked? Who cares––we ate like champions! Check out SmokehouseQ soon.



Rating: Four Ribs*


4401 Shallowford Rd #168

Roswell GA 30075


*About Our Barbecue Rating System

Trailheads do not claim to be food experts, epicureans, or sophisticated palates. We are hungry hikers who attack a selected barbecue venue and ravage our way through whatever smoked fare and fixings they're dishing out. 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.

  • barbecue

  • AtlantaBarbecue

  • bbqsauce

  • brisket

  • Brisket

  • ChattahoocheeChallenge

  • Chiggers

  • Elvis Loves Fio

  • hikingforfood

  • HikingGeorgia

  • hiking

  • North Georgia BBQ

  • Pierre de Coubertin Medal

  • Pulled Pork

  • quicksand

  • Ribs

  • Trailheads

  • Trailheads Approved

  • Whitesauce

  • TrailheadsHike

  • City BBQ

  • Summit Coffee

  • Okra

  • AJC

  • Olivia

  • Glacier National Park

  • Island Ford Trail

  • Pulitzer

  • Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution


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