Today’s Adventure

Last Sunday, I reported on walking down to the American Legion, south of town. Today I decided to head in the other direction, north on Section Street to St. James Episcopal Church (formerly St. James’—it lost the apostrophe when it moved to its current location). This is a longer walk—over three miles—but I figured I needed it because a morning meeting yesterday had precluded a trip to the gym (and culminated in a hypercaloric lunch).

The route was almost entirely shady, and it was relatively cool (the sign in front of Fairhope Elementary School, in full sun, reported 81  at 9:50 a.m.), and there was a nice breeze most of the time, so it was really quite pleasant and not at all exhausting. But it is also quite hilly, so my Virtual Partner was ahead of me the entire way.

The map shows a slight diversion early on: contemplating the glaring sun on the sidewalk on both sides of Oak Avenue between Church Street and Section Street, I decided to detour through the Colony Cemetery. Impressively, the GPS trace on the map clearly shows how I started down the sidewalk, then backtracked to enter the cemetery gate. The second small jag was when I veered off the road to quickly view a glass-fronted display board containing a map showing the layout of the cemetery and location of all the graves. This may well have been the first time I had visited the cemetery since the early 1980s when my fellow den leader and I took our Cub Scouts there to make rubbings of the gravestones. Many improvements have since been made, and this was a reminder that I need to return and explore more fully.

Both this route and last week’s are part of the Eastern Shore Trail, a paved walking/running/cycling path that, when completed, will extend from the USS Alabama on Battleship Parkway (the causeway across Mobile Bay from Mobile to the Eastern Shore) to Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in south Baldwin County. Although there are occasional gripes about money being spent for sidewalks that no one uses, some portions of the trail are quite heavily trafficked: on my way to and from Baytreat yesterday, I saw bumper-to-bumper (as it were) cyclists, runners, and walkers along that portion of the path. This morning, although a few cyclists passed me (in the street—not on the path), I encountered only one other walker.

As I was headed down past the gully north of the Eastern Shore Art Center, I spotted a young woman who appeared to be wearing an oddly shaped backpack. It flared up around her head in such a way that I thought it might be the backrest of some kind of baby carrier. As she approached, however, I saw that she had a guitar over her shoulder. I speculated on whether she was coming from a gig somewhere—perhaps the Coffee Loft—or headed somewhere—perhaps a church—to play. On my return, meeting her again in front of the Summit gas station at Gayfer Avenue, I asked, “How did it go?” She started to say something, then asked, “How did what go—the walk or the [unintelligible]?” I said I thought she might have been going somewhere to play, and she said, “Oh, I was, but it was just on the grass somewhere, and I decided it was really too hot.” She did look pretty bedraggled, and I felt that the way I’d spent the time—mostly in the shade—had been pleasanter.

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