I hit the ground running this morning as it was my first weekend without any big chores to keep me hunkered inside the house. Besides, who knows if every weekend will be perfect weather-wise going forward … so, you seize the moment, right?
As I was lacing up my walking shoes, I decided today’s destination would be Elizabeth Park in Trenton. I had not been there in a few years and that was with my friend Marge, on a cold and blustery day in November. We had hoped to get some nice pictures of the Fall colors, but instead, we looked out the car windows rather wistfully at the colorful leaves whipping themselves into a frenzy as they raced across the grass. So much for our Fall foliage photos.
Once I arrived at Elizabeth Park, I wasn’t real sure of my bearings, so I parked near the dining hall Chateau on the River, so I could find my way back to the car when I was done walking. Unlike Council Point Park, which is basically two asphalt loops which resemble a lopsided-looking figure eight, Elizabeth Park has a looped vehicular drive which encircles the entire Park. On one side it is woodsy looking, and on the opposite side, you get a great view of the water and the marina.
So, I walked along the skinny sidewalk that is designated for pedestrians and bicyclists. I figured I’d walk four or five miles and explore a little as I went along.
Shortly into my excursion, I saw a set of rickety-looking concrete steps and went down them as there was a footbridge just across the grassy expanse and I wanted to cross it.
I climbed up the footbridge, lightly holding onto the black wrought-iron railing with its ornate design and curlicues at the base, and looked up and down the waterway. I saw a pair of kayakers in the distance. I watched them and they were so in tune with one another, as they rhythmically dipped each side of the oar into the water to propel themselves forward.
I took some pictures of them as they got closer to me, and just before they disappeared under the bridge where I was standing, one of them looked up and called out to me “so which magazine cover will we be appearing on?” I smiled and told them I was a walker, not a kayaker, and they would be featured in in my walking blog that day, amongst whatever other sights, people and/or critters that I came across. They laughed good naturedly and told me to have a great day and soon they exited from under the bridge. I watched them until they were nearly out of sight.
Then, I carefully climbed back down those shallow footbridge steps and headed over to introduce myself to a woman who was using a long-handled metal detector. I’d seen her in the distance from the bridge, and, at first, I thought she was weed whipping near the base of the steps, until I got closer and realized she was using a gizmo to search for metal in the grass. I asked her if she had uncovered any treasures today, and she told me “all I have found was three cents so far” and we spoke about several instances in the Downriver area in recent weeks, where people had lost cherished possessions at concert venues in big parks. One was a memorial necklace with a pendant containing a baby’s cremains and the other was a wedding ring. The necklace was found and the owner located, and that was a trending topic in the Downriver crime sites and this human interest story similarly made the local newspaper. The woman told me she had searched for the missing ring on her own to no avail. We chatted it up, I took her photo, then I climbed up the stairs and back onto the pathway on the vehicular road once again.
I roamed around, weaving in and out of the wooded areas, feeding a few squirrels and admiring a gaggle of geese who decided they were too pooped to participate in grazing this morning and were just taking it easy. Perhaps they were casualties of those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer that Nat King Cole crooned about.
Actually, there were dozens of geese, unlike at Council Point Park, where I’ve just seen them overhead of late, and not in the grassy areas near the perimeter path like earlier in the year.
I was going to check out the ponies in the livery stable, but it was deserted until later in the day according to the sign.
There were unique-looking exercise stations along the way, and some of those stations had equipment that looked a little strange, but each came with a description of what the equipment did, just in case you weren’t sure (like this one below).
I meandered along the trails in the wooded area, thoroughly enjoying myself, then headed over to the marina. Just like at Bishop Park, it was great to stroll along the waterfront and see all the people enjoying themselves on this fine Summer day.
Before I knew it I was back at my starting point, and, when I checked the pedometer, I knew I needed to bulk up my miles some more, so I did a second go-around the entire circular driving loop. The speed limit is only 15 mph, but you have to watch for cars and maintenance vehicles.
While walking, I was thinking about the first time I visited Elizabeth Park. It was the year we moved to the States – 1966. My parents made it a destination for a “Sunday drive” … that got me thinking whether people still go on a “Sunday drive” anymore? Probably not, after you battle the traffic jams all week long, and, for us Downriver folks, just travelling on Southbound Fort Street these days is like rolling along a major highway due to the River Rouge Bridge Project. But, we’d often go to Elizabeth Park, stopping first at the outskirts of that venue to buy root beer floats or soft-serve ice-cream cones.
I wondered if I went on the pony rides or if I was too old for them by that time?
Life becomes a blur sometimes when you look back a half-century ago (groan).