If you remember, but you don't have to, because I'm going to tell you again here anyway, I discovered this long, long trail a month or so ago. (If you are muttering, "I know, I know, you've reminded us before ad infinitum," keep in mind there just might be a new reader [one can always hope] who doesn't know this, so bare with me. Skip ahead a paragraph or two or hum something to keep yourself entertained while I fill in the late arrivals.)
By the way, is it "bare with me" or "bear with me"? I think it might actually be "bear with me". I get those two confused. I think "bare with me" might imply an entirely different activity and would have been more appropriate to my post of a few days ago called "There is Nudity in this Post". That proved to be my most popular post to date, my readership really spiked upward on that one.
Now I had already ambled down many of the parks and trails within the link, but a few I hadn't and I began to pick them off. One of these is the Alapocas Run State Park. So a couple Sundays back I set my sights and my battered faux-suede walking shoes in its direction.
Aren't the trees along the parking lot lovely in their autumn reds?
Speaking of forks brings us back to that choice at the fork in the path. Which way, which way, but never fear I have a map.
Yes, you pays your fee and youse gets your program. There was a bulletin board with a bin full of maps, the park all in green and the pathway in red. This should make my visit a whole lot easier. So I started off. I didn't really look at the map yet, because there really was only one way to go until I came to that fork and it looked reasonable to go right. That way seemed to head toward Concord Pike and I knew somewhere along the line I had to get to the other side.
I found myself going in a big circle behind the other side of this field, almost in a kind of ravine. To my left, through a fence line of brush was a golf course.
I stood about and snapped a couple of pictures while a lone lady jogger bounced by with a panted good morning.
No, I didn't want to go that way. I wanted to find the main trail and try to hike the park length.
I looked at the map briefly, but decided it was obvious I should continue the way I was going and see if it didn't circle back to where I would have been if I had turned left way back when.
There was an arrow and some primitive drawings. There seemed to be a man running hurriedly across the path. He looked similar to those figures painted on restroom doors; perhaps he had to go badly.
Below him it appeared to be a boy wearing a mortarboard on his head riding a bicycle. Maybe the man was running to get out of the way of the boy, although the bike wasn't pointed in his direction.
There looked to be a path across some marshy crevice from me. Perhaps that was the trail that led to the woods. I could see ahead that this marked up macadam I was upon circled around further up so I headed in that direction.
I'm going to get into the heart of this park by hook or crook.
As I went I saw the trail that had gone left joined this one up near the tip of the curve around the marsh. I had really made a big circle, hadn't I?
Here I go, singing low, swinging through the cat'o'nine tails, which those plants actually weren't, but they had a similar look that took me back to my boyhood in a swamp in Pennsylvania. We had real cat'o'nine tails where the Red-Winged Blackbirds would frequent.
I use to dip a jar in the murky water beneath them and scoop up tadpoles in the spring.
This marsh-looking land here didn't really have any water in it.
Of course it was ambiguous. The arrow pointed in opposing directions. I had just come from the way to the right, so I assumed continuing in the leftward direction would eventually bring me to my destination of choice.
At least there were a few trees ahead, so maybe this was the entrance to where the wild things were.
Now as I go wandering here, moving inextricably toward that fencing ahead, I am peering up and down the map of the park. I am turning that paper this way and that, right side up and upside down and for the life of me I can't seem to get my orientation. All along my right is that golf course and I haven't come near the Concord Pike and on the map it sure looks like most the forest lies to its other side.
I fold the map up and stick it in my hip pocket.
I press on.
I reach the knoll and find more illustrated people, this time two people running toward each other while carrying lunch boxes.
Ahead is another spate of wooden rails and one of those fortified bridges so popular in these parks.
There does appear to be more trees, though.
Here then is a thicket all bathed in the early morning sunlight of this Sunday morning.
Here are some scenes from the next section I go through.
But the thing is I can still catch glimpses of that golf course on my right and houses through the trees on my right.
Not little houses either, not troll shacks or old log cabins. These are big gables houses.
I suddenly pop out of any trees onto a manicured street of these mansions. I don't see any mansions in on my map.
Where am I?
I follow the street all the way out until it dead ends into a country road. At first I think I have wandered well off the Northern Greenway, but up at the corner, down on the sidewalk, there is one of those painted symbols with the arrow pointing around the corner toward the country road.
I start to wander down this road and there is a feeling of being here before, a déjà vu.
I pass a fenced drive and it comes to me.
If I continue to walk under the two overpasses ahead I will soon come to the backside entrance to Rockwood, the park where I first discovered the Greenway, the park where I have walked often.
Maybe I will wait until December when I won't have to pay $3.00 to get lost.
Maybe I will follow the directions on that website and approach from I-95. Somewhere beyond the Concord Pike, beyond the clouds so high where bluebirds fly, over the rainbow is the central parking lot I should have started from.
You see I wasn't on the map. I was off the beaten path. That marsh like finger of land I had looped around was the red line on the right side of my map and I had followed it right on down off the edge to I became that little black smudge in the white.