Solitude close to home

solitude close to homeI had lots of fun on a nature walk in the city with my kids and some friends a few months back. I’ve been looking for closer places but I’m always too busy. I guess I haven’t been looking hard enough. After 16 years in my house I just found a good place to hike, practically in my own back yard – a trail head about 2 miles from home. It splits into 3 trails right at the start. One goes south and then turns west and winds around to the top of a hill overlooking the valley. One heads south and leads to a park in a different part of town, and the last heads east and ends at a ditch. For our hike, we took the trail heading east.

Makings of a microadventure?

The sign at the trail head warns that overnight camping is illegal. Whatever. We saw only a few people on the trail. The land is surrounded by houses and businesses on 3 sides so I was kind of expecting to see more people. Thankfully there weren’t many. I did see a few places I could easily spend the night and not be noticed. Maybe a good place for a microadventure?

Round trip was about a mile. There’s a pretty nice hill so coming out was good exercise. The trail ends at an irrigation ditch running along the edge of private land. Doesn’t look like it holds any fish. It was really nice finding a place so close to home with so few people.

Dirt road coming up to the irrigation ditch. Doesn’t look like it’s been driven on in a long time.

Ditch at the end of the trail. On the other side is a private ranch.

Next to the ditch, looking north.

Looking north-east as we approach the ditch. The road is the one we took to get to the trail head. The green area in the middle is a private ranch. I hope they never sell it and build on the land. That would really suck…

Looking south-east. Feels nice and remote even though we’re surrounded by homes and buildings. There’s a highway less than a half mile behind us. Thanks to the hilly terrain, we can’t hear the traffic at all.

My family walking back to the car. This was so much nicer than just walking to the little park by our house.

Back side of some businesses along the north side. The owner of the white truck was doing some dumpster diving. Don’t know what the businesses are but it looked like he was finding stuff to keep. This is only about a quarter mile from where we were at the ditch.

Solitude close to home…

Glad I found this place. It has a nice, remote feel to it even though it’s so close to homes and businesses. Even the highway along one side doesn’t break the solitude. I’m thinking really hard about spending the night there before winter hits. It will be my first microadventure. Until next time…

Peace out,

Solitude in the city?

Solitude in the cityI stay pretty busy at work and my side jobs, so it’s hard to find time to get out of the city. Last Saturday my church hosted a youth hike at a local park, so I decided to check it out with my son. Is it possible to find solitude in the city? I was kind of disappointed when we got there. The small parking lot was full and there were lots of families in the picnic area. It turned out to be a good day anyway. Once we got away from the picnic area there weren’t many people.

The good…

The park is a small picnic area and a big “nature study area.” It’s a city park, but the study area is maintained by the state Division of Wildlife. There’s a trail loop that runs about a mile, with the first part of the loop running along the river. The river is running high and the sound of the rushing water was very relaxing. After veering away from the river, the trail winds through trees (cottonwood and Russian olive), through a small meadow, and past a small wetlands.

According to signs along the trail, the area is home to herons, hawks, mink, beaver, mule deer, coyotes, rainbow trout, and more. We didn’t see any of those, but there were lots of quail and blue jays. I didn’t see any “no fishing” signs so later in the year when the river goes down I’ll check out that trout claim.

Walking slow, it took us about 45 minutes to walk the loop. We only saw a few other people on the trail, so yes we had solitude. It’s a city park, so no camping activities, fire making, etc. In other words, no practicing backwoods skills, but still a good place to see some wildlife and enjoy some peace and quiet.

The not so good…

Lots of the trail signs were sprayed with graffiti. Considering the people I saw using the picnic area, it wasn’t surprising. Still disappointing though. Also, in spite of the signs forbidding camping, there were a few spots that were obviously being used for camping by homeless people. I felt safe (I’m a guy, I was with a group, and I CCW). I don’t think I’d feel good about my wife walking there alone or with our kid though.

All in all…

All in all though I had a good time. I still haven’t found my perfect place but I’ll keep looking. There are some places closer to the back yard I’m checking out, hopefully a little more “interactive” if you know what I mean. Until next time…

Peace out,