It's a trail, like big deal, huh?
A nice trail is a treat to a walker and I am a walker, have been all my toddling days. I sort of sat on my feet in recent days, combination of the pains of age and a medication that wasn't working. I wanted to hike, but I couldn't face the jolts and so I abandoned one of the delights of my life.
I have been going here and there. Some mornings, usually when I am too lazy to move my son's car out of the way of my own, I just amble up or down our street and turn randomly at the corners. (I recently described such a walk in this place.) Other times I would drive to a park here or there.
We got a bunch of State Parks. You've been looking at pictures of one, Bellevue State Park. Consider this the start of this journey, although in reality it was the starting point of my return trip.
Bellevue is the largest of these, it has a lot of trails of its own, plus a horse stable, a bandstand, tennis courts and a nice picnic area.
My son and daughters go to Bellevue and play Frolf on its Frolf Course. (I guess technically it isn't really Frolf if it's played on an actual laid out course, but they call it Frolf and so will I. Nitpick if you will. If you don't know what Frolf is, look it up.)
The thing on the right has nothing to do with Frolf. This is along a mile around track in the center of the park. They have several stations where a person can stop and do some physical exercise, like pushups on a log, but I have no idea what that thing is. It has a bunch of chains and hooks. It looks like some medieval torture devise.
I don't know what it is, but here is another one exactly like it out in the middle of this meadow.
What are they up to in Bellevue State Park?
Is this some secret military experiment?
Is there witchcraft afoot?
Will there be crop circles around the next turn?
Let's take a turn and see.
That's right, a simple walk. I'm not into jogging like the lady that sped into my len's range. No, no, no, none of that jarring of the body, that loosing of ligaments, that jolting of the joints, I prefer a more civilized and comfortable brisk saunter through the pathways of life.
By the way, she took a sudden turn off that mile long track I mentioned and down a side trail among the pines, right across my vision as I depressed the shutter button. Now she has her moment of fame on my Blog, lucky lady.
Whoa, am I having a near death experience. Don't those people who claim they kicked off and got kicked back always speak of a tunnel with a light at the end?
Maybe I'm confusing them with those who say the light at the tunnel was an oncoming train, which would be a near-miss experience or real death.
To get you all oriented, take a glance at the map at the top of this scribbling. I am over in the big dark green square to the middle right, walking down that red line from where you see a dark blue oval. Those dark blue lines are trails wandering around in Bellevue and the oval is the track I told you about.
I chose to go left through this gateway to the West and out of Bellevue State Park.
Here I pause momentarily.
I mean pedestrians. There may be pedophiles, but it'd probably be a waste of their time. I never see any kids our on these trails, except ones in jogging strollers being jostled along by fitness-freak parents. If there are any pedophiles crossing the road, you don't have to yield for them. Park on a pedophile is always in season.
I double time across while the double-timing is good.
Now I am entering the first of those lighter green blotches on the map.
This is Bringhurst Woods Park.
First thing you get as you enter here is a map of the Greenways. Actually the map looks a bit intimidating with all these blue dots covering its surface. Shows you how extensive this trial is, though, and what to see as you go. It's nine miles long so maybe you wouldn't want to do a lot of wandering about its edges sightseeing. I'd like to walk the whole thing some time, but I may do it in chunks. I think I could walk the nine miles maybe, but making the other nine back to where ever I parked, I doubt. I walk this thing one end to the other, I'd have to get a motel for the night. You don't want some of the motel choices around some of the end points. Too many rent by the hour, if you get my drift.
You don't need a map to find your way in Bringhurst Woods. There isn't much here but trees, accounting for the "Woods" as its middle name. My path, that red line, which hugs the upper border, which in turns hugs the shoulder of another road, is the only route.
Before entering the "Woods", I linger long enough to snap this old stone house and guard shack. I had to linger a bit because just as I raised my camera a bus pulled up to unload. Despite the length of time it took, only one woman de-bussed and then slowly ambled pass the stone wall.
The house has some historic significance I am sure; I just don't know what.
They said bring Hurst, but brought a lot of wood to the woods instead. You get a lot of wooden fence along this trail in here.
Gives it a nice finished look, don't you think. It kind of invites you to come in and see what this fence is protecting you from.
Is there a deep chasm on either side this barrier is protecting you from, not going to let you fall over the edge?
Yeah, that's probably it.
But you don't go far and suddenly you are on this doubly fortified bridge.
Oh man, is this Jurassic Park?
Is that the Tyrannosaurus Rex cage down below?
How deep is the canyon? How far away is the beast or how deep the gorge or strong the current of the mighty river you are being so protected from?
With fear and trepidation we approach the railing and prepare to peer into the mouth of doom.
And there, there it is!
A quiet little stream, still and as smooth as a mirror and a whole lot of rocks.
Nothing particularly scary here, it isn't even up a great height.
Oh well, we can go on pretending danger still lurks in the silent deep of the still water, slithery monsters or mutant crocodiles kept at bay by the reinforced sides of the little foot bridge.
Off the bridge and though the woods to wherever the fence leads we go.
Hope you like trees because that is what you will see here.
Some people do love trees. I don't mean tree-huggers, I mean those who got merit badges for knowing every type of tree from its leaf or nut.
Ooo, a fork in the road. This is exciting. Maybe there are other trails here after all. Let's go exploring.
I go off down this fork to the right and I loop a short semi-circle right back onto the main path.
Hmm, a path to nowhere. Must have been a politician who designed this.
Speaking of politicians and off to the side. This path does run just off a road and peeking through the brush is the corner of a large business complex, about the only thing along that road other than trees.
I guess it is just a general corporate mall now. I don't know what operates here anymore. It's got a new name, Rockwood Office Park, come park an office here. I wonder why Rockwood? Why not Bringhurst? Maybe that sounds too much like bring hearse in this depressed time of dying businesses.
What ever it was it probably isn't here anymore. I'm off that main path here and standing up in what was the parking lot. I suppose it still is the parking lot, but it is deserted and closed off from the road above. There are long metal barriers across the driveway preventing anyone from driving down here to park. Seems a shame to me.
The one lone picnic pavilion was forlorn and lonely looking. The inside was dirty and had some debris scattered about. The door toward the read side was sealed up.
There was a sign of life here. The trash can had a fresh plastic trash bag draped inside it. Someone cares.
Well, some more fencing and pathway beckons me to traverse this way so we go to see what we can see.
I turn around a bend before raising my finger to the shutter button again and snap this not much of anything. There is the path and there is a big rock and there is a broken off branch of one of the many trees.
Ant then again, many places with some wooden fences.
Are these fences holding you back from the trees or holding the trees back from you?
Ah, a question for the ages.
Much better than that silly, "If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?"
Killing time because there is just trees to see. But there ahead are the posts that mark this end of Bringhurst Woods where we will exit for the next phase, the next light green splotch upon the map.
This is Carr Road. It isn't as busy as Marsh was. Right now it is devoid of cars. I can stand on the yellow line and snap a picture and not be flattened by a FedEx truck or something.
The path has been paralleling this road and now it bends some and crosses the road.
Why did the walker cross the road?
To get to the other side, like the chicken?
No, to eventually get back to his car.
Speaking of parks, there is a park bench at the entrance into this next section. There will be at the next as well. Maybe they stick these benches thinking we older seasoned citizens need to park ourselves on park benches to make it through parks.
Maybe it's for hobos to sleep the night.
If a handicapped person can hike a rutted, gravel covered mud hiking trail, surely they can walk across a parking lot.
Oh look, more wooden fencing. Perhaps it is for the handicapped hikers to hold on to.
Now guess what we are going to see along the path through Carr Park?
Same thing we saw along the path through Bringhurst Woods.
Joyce Kilmer would be oh so happy here.
Did you know Joyce Kilmer's actual first name was Alfred? I wonder why he choose to go by his middle name? Of course if he hadn't, then we would have never had Shelley Berman's famous words:
"She said Joyce Kilmer wrote trees and I said, 'Who's she?' and totally embarrassed myself."
Shelley Berman said that a long time ago so if I said Shelley Berman and you asked, "Who's she?" Well, go look it up.
Jogger alert! Jogger alert!
Wow, look at him go.
He should slow down and walk. You run all you can think is, "When am I done, when am I done, when am I done, am I gonna die, am I gonna die!"
You can't see the forest for the pain.
When you walk and don't run, you can enjoy the light patterns through the trees rather than the spots before your eyes.
When you walk and don't run you can breathe in the fresh country air rather than gasping for air, any air, to breathe.
If you can avoid bicyclists, you have a much better chance of seeing the little posts ahead that say you are almost through Carr Park, you have lived to wander some more through the indigenous trees of the northern south.
So here we are, we have officially crossed Carr Park or the no-named land, successfully.
We Southern ladies and gentlemen stand poised on a new frontier, a new place along our path to explore.
But first we must do something.
No, we must cross another road.
This is Shipley Road. It had a few more cars on it than I expected this early on a weekend, especially this far down the road. Further north it gets pretty busy.
That is the ubiquitous I-95 on the overpass.
I'm no predator or pervert. I'm no threat to anyone as far as I know. I have my faults and flaws and fantasies like anyone, but I'm not going to be chasing women through the woods. I'd be like the old car chasing dog anyway. If I caught one, I wouldn't know what to do with it.
I've had some times I felt the same way. Usually I don't give it a thought. I've been walking solitary trails a long, long time; a very long, long, long time.
I'm still not ready to sit down in the benches they keep providing at the entryways of these parks.
No, no, no, I want a bench in place of any tombstone. It doesn't even have to have my name on it. It can have engraved upon its back, "Sit and rest your weary legs a moment. No one will bother you here."
And up we are going.
Let me ramble a bit about Rockwood Museum. First of all I used to get it mixed up with Rockford Park, which touches this trail further along on the western end. Rockford has the tower, Rockwood has the mansion.
Still walking up the hill, by the way.
Oh, we reached the top of the hill and turned down another path. Take a look up here. The hill actually goes up a bit further although the path doesn't continue to the very summit. But can you see the gazebo at the apex.
Yeah, kind of hard to spot it, isn't it?
It's there over toward the right.
This photo was taken from pretty much the same spot four years ago. Can you see the gazebo now. Back then you could walk straight up to it across the hillside, now you need search along the paved path for a small foot trail through the brush.
Nature endures when man ignores.
Today it is a museum and park.
It used to be the home of the annual Ice Cream Festival. The paths on these grounds all have names related to that ice cream theme.
I'm not here for the mansion or the Garden Tours or ice cream. I'm just taking this simple walk and this was my starting point and my ending point.
This is a very long, steep, uphill path. Even though I arrived shortly after dawn, before the temperature could rise and while the park was still rather dark, I was still perspiring by the time I reached this path's end, puffing and huffing, too.
Don't let this tranquil photo lull you in thinking this is a gradual grade, this is a hill to be mastered or to be mastered by.
I could have continued down to the parking lot, but instead swung right and went along the ridge path toward where the mansion sits.
On the way was this lovely weeping willow.
There it sits in the distance. On this side is a conservatory or greenhouse room, windowed on three sides and full of exotic plants and some high backed chairs.
You can just make it out sticking to the left from the side of the building.
I stood on a platform and looked over the front path I usually come up when I visit this park. I hadn't used it this time because they have been laying new concrete and the bottom portion is still barricaded off.
Instead I parked on the further side of the parking lot and walked up on the circular driveway beyond those trees and wall.
When I had arrived there was a police car parked not far from me. It was soon joined by a second police car as I began my walk up the hill.
They weren't. I don't know what they were doing there, perhaps just hiding out and having breakfast from McDonalds or killing time. They were about to give me a scare.
I always feel nervous around police. Don't know why, maybe I have a guilty conscience, but most likely it is just some paranoid reaction to guys with guns. It makes me nervous to have a police car behind me, even though I know I'm not speeding or disobeying any rules of the road. Seeing cops gives me visions of those iron barred gates closing behind me.
I feel like he is glaring right at me.
My heart begins to flutter as if I were a wanted criminal found out and cornered.
He steps ever closer, then turns and steps into a porta-potty.
I walk over and take a last picture of the fountain as the officer comes out, gets in his car and drives away.
My simple walk has ended.