Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Here's the Point

I am continuing with the never-ending story of the Northern Greenway. Perhaps readers, if there are any, may be tired of it. I'm not.

To reiterate, maybe for the first time, in which case I suppose it is simply iterate, this is the make up of the Northern Greenway. We'll pick an arbitrary start point that can just as easily be considered the end point if the direction is reversed. We are traveling west to east.

It begins in H. Fletcher Brown Park and from there goes through Brandywine Park, Rockford park, Alapocas Run State Park, Rock Manor Golf  Course, Rockwood Museum, an unnamed forest, Bringhurst Woods Park, Bellevue State Park, Cauffiel House Green and Fox Point State Park.

I've walked most of these, some many times, but a few I haven't and I am determined too. This morning it was Fox Point State Park's turn to feel the burn of my feet.

I really didn't start out to chase The Fox. I went first to one of my usual jaunt sites, Rockwood Museum. There are two and a half miles of trails in Rockwood alone over a variety of terrains. I hiked up the first hill and did a lap about the perimeter, past the mansion, down by the creek and through the woods, then decided I'd go to Fox Point.

You read about the Greenway and it sounds as if you can walk a trail the whole 9 yards (actually it is nine miles), but you can't exactly. At certain junctures you have to trudge down some streets and roads to make the connections. This is certainly true of Fox Point. You can walk a path from Rockwood all the way through Bellevue and down from there to the Governor Prince Boulevard, but then you are stymied. There is no crossing across Governor Prince, I-495 and the Amtrak Railroad tracks that parallel it. If you are going to walk to the Point from there, then it is down along the Boulevard you must go to Marsh Road then up to Lighthouse Road. This doesn't take you through the best of climes, and if not quite the worse of climes, it is still a clime you may wish to decline to climb.

I choose to drive.

This is a State Park, which means there is a fee in season. The "in season" runs from March 1 through November 30, so I expected to pay $3.00 for the privilege to tread upon this ground. However, there was no toll taker on duty when I arrived a bit past eight this morning. Dereliction of duty means it's a free ride, baby.

There were a couple of cars in the parking lot, but that was all. I parked and began my exploration.

There is a shrine just up a grade from the lot. There is a ship's mast with some pennants flapping in the river wind and at the base a stone of dedication. I began at this spot. Immediately I realized it may have been better to have come in the afternoon when the sun was in the West. This was early morning and the sun rising to the East. All my vistas would be toward the sunrise, often a hazard to picture snapping. Here the sun is hid behind the mast and you would think night was still upon us and moonlight upon the water.

You know when I arrived here the temperature was 50 degrees and when I left it was 68, a pretty good jump up the Fahrenheit scale in a short period. I had left home wearing a sweatshirt, but now I tied it about my waist by the sleeves.
I suppose there was a certain practicality to this encumbrance over leaving the sweatshirt in the car. Perhaps further along the river a sea breeze will pop up and chill me. On the other hand these long walks have reduced my waist and I find myself constantly tugging my trousers up as I walk. With my camera strapped to the back of my belt and my wallet in the hip pocket I've experienced lately a steady slide downward of the material across my rear. At least the sweatshirt will hide any undue slippage.

The river here is the Delaware. You can look down on it from my home in the winter after the leaves have fallen.

 It's a shipping lane. You can see a barge or ship heading up the river.

Where this vessel is heading, I do not know. It could be heading all the way up river to Philadelphia. The stacks you see on the left are the oil refinery in Marcus Hook. That ship went past there and under the bridge you can barely see in the center of the photo. The land across the river is the shore on New Jersey.

The bridge is the Commodore Barry, which comes out of Chester. They say you can see all the way to Philadelphia from this park. You can't make it out here, but I could see distant tall buildings beyond that bridge that could have been the big city.

When you turn and look south, you can see the twin towers of the Delaware Memorial Bridge and beyond.

I walked the entire trail along the river until the end and then followed its loop back the other way.

This was the first time I walked Fox Point State Park, but not the first time I was here on these grounds. The first time was almost twenty years ago. I was here with my son, who was a wee lad then and we had come with a group to clean trash off these grounds. I don't recall anyone mentioning then that this had been a toxic dump site. We spread out across the rough scrubs pretending to be some kind of grass with plastic bags and picked up anything that was marring the landscape. There were things half buried and my son found some odd looking material tat the leader came and said not to touch. It almost looked military.

As I went along a tanker came down river, probably out of Marcus Hook. I've often seen these ships while driving on I-495 and they always appeared to be almost standing still in the river. But walking, I was startled by how quickly the ship caught up and passed me.

And there it goes heading south down to the bay and out to the ocean eventually. With my weak eyesight I was unable to read the ship's name written large across it sterns. I saw no flag of its home port either.

As I came back to the parking lot there was that tanker seemingly sitting atop my car.

Centered here is a pavilion and a picnic area. Later there were a couple having their breakfast on these tables and all I could think was this used to be a toxic waste dump. Yum!

Just beyond is a playground where some sort of mutant creature lurk awaiting the youngsters. (That toxic dump site again!)

Along the way are these outlook stations, some with information boards to tell you what you see. This particular one identified the various vessels that might sail across your vision.

 I decided I would follow this path as far as it would go just to see where it ended.
Here seemed to be a marker for the present boundaries of the park, yet I could see the path went further down through a grove of trees. So I kept going, too.
And here is where it ended, leading into the road and then some smoky factory along the river.

Off to the side down here they were dredging and there was some small mill race or something running along side the path.

There was a high fence and a warning sign that the area behind the fence was private property and trespassers would be dredged into the muck or some such thing.

And then a huge trash bin, not toxic I hope, with the words, "Can Do" on the side. Yes, I can do some disparaging political comments here, but I will reframe.

There were some other things along the way, such as these electric grids. This is a very interesting corridor here representing every mode of transportation. On one side of me were the ships going up and down the river.
And to my other side, perhaps hard to catch in this photo except as a line of blue objects in the center, went a speeding train perhaps on the way to Washington.  Beyond the train tracks in an Interstate, I-495, and then another main travel road just across it. And as I walked a plane leaving the Philadelphia International Airport flew upward above my head.

Yet despite so much activity of transit about it is a quite oasis to walk your dogs.
Or just stand and contemplate the flow of life.

Or take pleasure in a passing pleasure boat.

Here's the point, just enjoy the moments as you  travel along this road of life.

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