Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Roswell Area Park

Yesterday was the first day in at least a week that I didn't feel really sick. In fact, I felt energetic. Stuffy, but energetic. I almost went for a road ride, but I didn't want to jinx it so I ended up going for a walk instead.

Roswell has a bunch of parks and every park has a trail system of some sort. I've been working my way through them lately, and yesterday it was the Roswell Area Park's turn.

 Roswell Area Park Trail Map

I'd been there a couple of times before actually, for gym meets. In fact, Iz has a meet there next weekend. I'd always noticed the trails but never had a chance to set foot on them.

When I got there it was surprisingly chilly. This winter has been a joke. I think it was legitimately cold for about one week, but otherwise it's been in the 50's at least. For the past few weeks it's been in the 70's even, but yesterday it was cool and I actually needed my jacket.

The trail was easy to follow. For the most part it looked like this:

 Roswell Area Park Walking Trail

Occasionally it was paved. When I'm on that kind of a trail, I don't think of it as "hiking", but rather as "walking." Actually, just about everyone out there was jogging except me. There were elderly men and women out there jogging. Maybe someday.

Whenever I get to a park trailhead I read the rules and frequently they leave out whether the trail is open to bikes or not. This was the only indication I could get one way or the other:

 No Bikes

It was at the very back of the park, diametrically opposite the trailhead. A kid on a bike who didn't know better, wouldn't know better until he was at the furthest point he could possibly have ridden in either direction. It was almost as if it was there with the intent of maximizing the likelyhood of unauthorized use.

There were a few little neighborhood connectors. One went to a school. One went to an apparently very exclusive neighborhood.

 No Trespassing

Keep moving boy.

The rest of the side trails just led to other parts of the park. One led to this gravel storage area. Hah.

 Gravel Pile

Most of the way around there was a pretty little lake.


Along the edge, I got to watch a woodpecker (or birdpecker as Sophie is prone to calling them) looking for a meal.


I heard it at first, then I saw it, but I figured it would fly right away. Nope. It couldn't have cared less about me. I watched for like 2 minutes while it hacked at the tree. In my mind, we had a primitive dialog:

Me: "What are you doing man?"

Bird: "I'm doing this." (peck peck)

"Yeah? Are you looking for a grub, or making a nest, or what?"

"I'm doing this. Right here." (peck peck)

"Yeah, what is that?"

(silence... stare...) "I'm doing this." (peck peck peck)

Yeah. That's my bird conversation.

At the very end of the trail I saw what looked like a Ring Tailed Hawk swoop down, land briefly on a branch, then bomb down and grab a mouse or something. It spent quite a while on the ground trying to get a grip on it. I didn't want to scare it away so I went a different direction, hoping when I came back around that I'd see it eating, but when I did, it was gone.

I think I walked around for two hours or so. I'd hoped to clear my head, literally and figuratively. Literally, it pretty much worked. I've apparently got exercise-induced rhinitis, which is great when you're trying to get rid of the last little bit of a cold. Figuratively it didn't work so well. At that trail school a couple of weeks ago, various people made points about how one of the the purposes of a trail is to rejuvinate ones mind and spirit. God I wish that still happened. These days, I notice the construction of the trail. It comes to mind what I'd have to do to fix the little problems. My mind hefts the weight of the work that would be involved. The little side trails jump out at me. Some are user-created. I remember conflict over those and allegations of other conflict. I remember manufactured conflict, ignorant and misguided hate, paranoia, hate-driven rhetoric and a guy that might just go all Mike Vandeman on me one day. I remember being pursued and hunted. I watch my back. It's quite the opposite of mental and spiritual rejuvination. I usually net-enjoy myself, but it's a balancing act. It's not pure. I yearn for that purity. I remember it.

Maybe next time.

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