Walking MY Town

If you're up and out early (between 4:30 and 7 most mornings) in my town, you may see me out there walking.  I've been an avid walker for a long time, but I seriously started tracking where I went (and how far) since June of 2013.  (Which is when I started using the website/app MapMyWalk.)  Generally, since then, from April to October, I'm up and out most days.  It all depends on weather (a misty kind of rain is fine; a constant drizzle is not) and temperature (hot weather does not usually stop me, but cold weather means icy patches that I'm not ready to risk).  I generally move my walking indoors from late fall till spring not just because of temperature, but because it is REALLY dark out there.  (Seriously, I LOVE walking in June because it's light from almost 4:30 on.  By the end of July it's only starting to get light by 5:30.  And just this morning I put on my reflective vest again because I knew I was going to need it.  The days are getting shorter my friends; they really are. :( )

When I started walking, I made up my own routes and generally stuck to them.  But that got boring, so I tried to mix things up.  Make slightly different turns; try new places on the weekend (when I had no time constraints).  But it wasn't until this spring that I realized that if you keep walking on Park Place you can reach the track at middle school where I had never walked before.  (Unless you count the times when I was a student and we walked/ran there.  Doesn't count in my book and let's face it I NEVER ran even back in junior high gym class.)  Having lived in the same town for most of my life, I realized that there were some places that I had never walked/explored. It was time to change that.

So before the summer was through I determined to cover all of the roads in town.  ALL of them; including the dead ends, the one "private" one (shh...don't tell) and some that walkers generally avoid (the road which leads to the town dump).   I set up a few "rules" for myself:
  • I had to walk at least 3/4 of the road to make it count. 
  • I didn't have to walk it all in one go.  So I can easily say that I've walked all of some of the steepest roads, even if I didn't do it all in the same day.  There are A LOT of hills and as tough as I'd like to think I am, it was wiser to "break" things up.   (I did a BIG chunk 8/10 of a mile straight up hill one day...KILLER!)
  • In order for it count, I would have to cover the area during the 2017 "season."  So although I had walked some "newer" roads in 2016, that didn't count.  I had to cover that territory again.
  • Every walk had to begin and end at my house.  So I couldn't drive to a location and walk a "new" area.  (Since I live on the east/south east side of town, walking to the top of locations on the far west and north west were REALLY challenging.) 
  • When writing about this adventure, I could use photos, but they had to be photos taken over the summer.  (No using "old" photos.)

Although I "started" the season in April, the undertaking of this project really begin until mid-July and I can say that I "finished" by the first week of August.  To be honest there were a couple of times I thought I was "done," but then I'd consult by Google Map and MapMyWalk app to make sure that I'd actually walked a certain section or street in the past few weeks.  Which is why one day I ended up walking back to the park, because I KNEW I'd gone down two of the roads that lead there, but wasn't 100% sure I'd gone down a third (which just happened to be in the middle, paralleling them) recently.  I cut through the park, up one of our hilly roads (because I hadn't walked the section from one street to the next), walked some even/flat ground to Hillside (do I have to tell you how steep that road is?  There is a reason it is called HILLside) and ALL THE WAY up till it dead ends. Then back down and across so that I could do that last little hilly bit of another road.  With all the hills I'd climbed, do I need to say that my legs were a bit sore?

Undertaking this "project" I finally got to "see" pretty much every inch of town.  And perhaps I  didn't realize how "hilly" we are until I walked/climbed to the top of them all. There is a reason why my town has streets named:  Mountainview, Mountain, Hillside, Upland, Hill, Cliff, Hillcrest and Overhill!

And I can also say were a quite green...trees, lawns, gardens...we've got them.  And it shows in the way some of the streets are named:  Forest, Elm, Maple, Pine, Linden, and Woodland.

I "explored" all three parks.  How many towns of less than 3 square miles can claim three parks?  
Let alone one with a castle?

 (Not to mention an awesome view of the city.)  Now, granted one of the parks is pretty tiny, but it's still a peaceful and beautiful place.

My town has playing fields galore:  4 that I counted, which does not include the playing fields behind all our schools. (And the high school has 2!)

 We've got a lake, a pond, and a river

 We've places to hike:  3 trails.
 Now I confess that I only explored one (because these were paths and not roads), but it was amazing.  It was also kick my butt as it was in the far northwest corner of town and getting there required yet another climb up a steep, STEEP hill.  But it was so worth it.  As the sun was rising, I was alone in my own world.  To explore the other trails (which are not officially roads) is something I intend to do as well.  (But that's going to require time on the weekends when I have no plans for the day.) 

There's wildlife!    Wildlife that you wouldn't necessarily expect in a suburb of New York City! Besides your regular bunny, squirrel and chipmunks, I've seen deer of all sizes, groundhogs, skunks, and foxes.  Strangely enough I saw none of these will I was tramping around the Hilltop trail.   What more could I ask for?

Well maybe we could ask for less like less traffic.  
Rush hour traffic can be brutal on our two main thoroughfares.
 But before the sunrises and in the hour or so just after they are pretty empty and have their own special beauty.   

There's a lot to see and enjoy in my town that I might not have seen if I had NOT decided to explore all the roads and check out new nooks and crannies. I encourage everyone to take a walk some time and look at YOUR town with fresh eyes.  You might be surprised at what you find.


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