This morning I indulged in a guilty pleasure.
There I was, at Elizabeth Park, walking along the boardwalk and admiring the shoreline, while Floridians were enduring the initial wrath of Hurricane Irma on their own shoreline, an event which is certainly no walk in the park for them.
They have my sympathy for their loss of homes and precious possessions, and for some, maybe even injury or loss of life.
I cannot imagine a storm surge so powerful that it would devastate a whole town in a heartbeat. As I walked along the boardwalk, the occasional power boat would whiz by and the waves would leap up and wash over the large rocks, then the water shimmied back and forth until long after that boat was just a speck on the horizon.
I visited Elizabeth Park today, nearly one month after my last trek there on August 12th. On that Saturday, I walked the perimeter of the entire Park, exploring the little pathways and checking out the marina area. I recall I couldn’t get too close to the marina because the catering services for Chateau on the River, a popular place for wedding receptions or other large gatherings, was making a delivery, or for some reason the area was cordoned off.
When I returned home that day and uploaded my photos to Shutterfly, I forwarded some of my favorite shots of the trek to my friend Marge. I knew she would enjoy them, as over the years she made frequent forays to Elizabeth Park for photo-taking or just to relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere there. She also used to live close to the entrance of the Park, near the root beer stand, a fact I didn’t learn until after she left what would be her last comment on one of my blog posts shortly after I published it.
So, after forwarding those favorite pictures to Marge, she commented to me on each of them, wistfully adding that she wished she could have accompanied me on my trek to Trenton and Elizabeth Park. Then she added “but didn’t you take any pictures of the boardwalk Linda?” The boardwalk. Hmmm. I never saw a boardwalk, and told her so. She said “well you have to go back and walk the boardwalk at the riverfront and take in the scenery from that vantage point.”
I realized I must have missed something special, so I vowed to make that trip soon. Thus, Take 2 was today.
While Marge and I visited Elizabeth Park several times through the years, it was always a drive-through event, and, on August 12th I went by myself. I circled the Park to see where I’d park and exactly where I would be walking. On foot, I travelled on a skinny path designated for walkers, as the road is reserved for cars and geese. I explored several bridges, roamed through several hidey holes and immersed myself in a few wooded areas.
So, this morning, once I arrived at that vast Park, I walked that same circular drive, but with an eye to finding an access point to the boardwalk. Well, I discovered a set of stone steps I had overlooked last month, and, once I descended those stairs, I found myself in a quiet and secluded area full of ducks. There were ducks everywhere, including several pure white quackers.
We don’t have white ducks at Council Point Park, so I had to take a few shots of them, that pair nibbling on the grass and another duck, who was fresh from a bath in the icy-cold water and stepped out of the water amid a flurry of wing flapping. I waited until he was done with his version of “toweling off” and got him to pose for me.
A sweet little white duckling was waddling about, totally oblivious to the rest of the ducks. He was a bundle of energy, and a man was standing there watching it with the same delight as I. He remarked that “it must have been a late hatch for that little guy to be so small – hope he makes it in this chilly weather.”
There were many mallards in this secluded area, lined up near the water like soldiers. Most were still sleeping, one leg planted firmly on the ground, and their head tucked under one wing, while others contently sat along the banks of the water.
The mallards that weren’t sleeping or sitting were floating along lazily or preening themselves, like these two in this little inlet.
This was a rather idyllic scene, and I hated to leave, but I was bound and determined to find that elusive boardwalk. I passed a few picturesque scenes of unique-looking trees enroute to the big bridge.
Then, around the corner from this beautiful tree seemingly kissing the water, was the bridge.
Many local photographers come here to capture an image of the bridge, no matter the season, and Elizabeth Park has a photography contest each season for the best representative pictures of Elizabeth Park, which is clearly the jewel of Trenton.
After crossing the bridge, I found some gardens, then a sidewalk that led to the riverfront. Running parallel to the riverfront was a seemingly endless cement sidewalk, which I walked and eventually it became the boardwalk, which stretched all the way to Chateau on the River and the marina.
I walked the boardwalk twice, then retraced my steps getting back to the main road so I could then travel the path that encircles the entire Park.
That path gave me a chance to glance at two jays that were screeching at one another, and a gaggle of geese, which clearly were turned off by my very presence. Were they just camera shy? Believe me, I did not say a word to them, yet they hightailed it as fast as their webbed feet could take them.
It was a pleasurable morning, though a bit chilly – 46 degrees when I left the house, but who is going to complain about a wee nip in the air? Our weather was picture-perfect, something Florida residents would give their eyeteeth to have right now.
Elizabeth Park – Take 2 was just as pleasurable as Take 1 … the peaceful atmosphere was just right for Sunday strolling.