Monday, April 19, 2010
Riverwalk, Er, Stroll
The bloggerette and the lately-interminably-teen-age-angsty-moody-kid joined me for a jaunt downtown and a quick look at the Riverwalk and Riverfront Park in Springfield.
I've heard this one is best travelled by bike, but we risked it on foot and stroller.
With the weekend's relapse into the worst of early spring weather, the pathway wasn't too populated anyway. Just a few fishermen, a couple bikers and a small gaggle of kids were with us in the cool damp park.
There are better days to check out bike trails, but we made the best of our limited time and what fleeting good weather could be had by doing something close to home base. Cool overcast days can sometimes present their own qualities.
Parking in the lot under the highway that cuts overhead through the edge of downtown, we crossed the active railroad tracks to the park entrance.
Both the tracks and highway run parallel to the river and unfortunately both were laid down without any foresight to the potential for future development. They now effectively cut off the riverfront from easy city access; a big reason for it's long delayed and anemic development.
But a strong effort and some good progress has been made anyway. There is still plenty of land here for green and recreation.
From the main entrance we made our way south, passing the triple-tiered ramp and railway overpass that leads to the old Basketball Hall of Fame, now converted to an LA Fitness gym and the Onyx Restaurant.
...a little further on to the new Basketball Hall of Fame...
...and then backtracking and venturing north as far as the Memorial Bridge.
The trail goes much farther, on into the north end. But we were only here today for a quick scouting run. A more thorough exploration will have to be done with more welcoming weather.
City recreation must always be seasoned with a pinch or two of situation awareness. In spots along the trail was the inescapable graffiti and minor littering of a metro area, countering the grass and river views and reminding us of where we were. But old whitewashed sections of wall showed the marks of constant battle and vigilance against spray painters and ne'er do wells. And vigilance can be good enough.
Although I don't think I'd chance a night ride out here, the trail was pretty clean and well kept, all things considered. We passed up and down our section of it very nicely, making it back to the car unscathed, although not without loss.
It seems one of our party couldn't help but take the opportunity during an overlook stop to conduct experiments with the effects of gravity, trajectory, current and snack food. Science is not without it's costs, and although no humans were put at risk...
...let's just say some goldfish are now sleeping with the fishes.