I live near the river valley. In my area, it’s a beautiful mess of park, trails, roads, trails, recreational facilities (golf course, etc.) and more trails. Most of the trails are paved bike/pedestrian trails. Some are maintained year round (which is a fancy way of saying “the snow is cleared in the winter”). But, there are also some hidden trails. I’ve known about one of the hidden trails for a couple years. I saw some questionable looking people turn off a set of stairs off through a gap in the railing one evening and amble off along a faint trail into the trees. I was curious, but not curious enough to get over my nervousness. I tend to be a bit overly suspicious of places and I prefer to know a bit about it (where it goes, etc.) before exploring. But, as an unofficial trail, I wasn’t able to find out anything about it. So, I forgot about it until yesterday, when I was walking past those stairs and noticed a beautiful tree full of blooms at the opening of the hidden trail.
As soon as a stepped off the stairs to take a picture of the blossoms, I couldn’t resist. It was early enough in the day for any drunks to be sleeping off their booze, but late enough for there to be a lot of traffic and people in the general area, so I figured it was safe enough to check out the trail. Or, as it turns out, the network of trails.
I wasn’t appropriately dressed for a hike (for example, I wasn’t wearing proper sneakers and I didn’t have any water with me), so I only wandered about 1km in, but it was lovely. It meanders along the slope below the promenade and buildings, in and out of dense trees and mini clearings. It periodically branches off (presumably to connect to the buildings above) and the trail eventually splits to either head up (to the neighborhood above) or down (towards the roads below). I opted for up and quickly ran into a homeless encampment. It was getting a bit steep and I wasn’t sure how I felt about getting too close to the encampment (I wasn’t sure if the trail ended there and didn’t want to intrude – plus, let’s be honest, not all homeless people are nice).
It’s pretty clear that the trail is used by cyclists, so I had to make sure to keep my eyes and ears open for speeding bikes (though, I only met one cyclists, on the way back up and he stopped to let me by well before we were at risk for a collision). But, it was pretty quiet and I didn’t see or hear anyone other then that one cyclists.
The trail reminds me a lot of the unofficial trails in the park area near my old apartment (which I explored several times). They were exceptionally lovely because there weren’t any roads nearby by. Oddly enough, I felt safer on them even though there were fewer people around. I miss those trails.
Anyway, it was just a short trip (30 minutes of wandering, at most) but I definitely want to visit them again.