The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Urban Trail

The first part.

Hey everybody, this is Bert. We're roommates at the home for recovering drug addicts.

The other night Bert and I were watching The Matrix on TV. When I saw it the first time years ago in the theater I was so stoned that all I could do was grok at the special effects. I couldn't follow the story. Seeing it now sober I realize it has some fascinating concepts in it about the nature of reality.

Anyway, during the commercials we were discussing nature trails, and Bert asked me whether I take the nature trail to the bus stop every morning. "Trail? What trail?" I asked.

From such questions are adventures born.

This morning Bert showed me a great woodland shortcut downtown. It is a small part, the urban section, of a longer trail through wooded areas. Rest assured I will show you that section another day. But this morning we entered the trail through the parking lot of the former National Felt Company.

I found this blurb about the company online.

Founded in 1905 as National Felt Company,
National Nonwovens originated as a manufacturer
of wool felt for use in apparel and home furnishings.
A supplier of felt and other textile materials to the
U.S. Government since World War I, the company
has been at the forefront in the development of
fiber and fiber-processing technologies for a
multitude of military and commercial applications.

The current corporate incarnation is located in Easthampton, today the old Northampton factory is primarily used by Smith College for an array of academic activities.

Anyway, from the parking lot you enter the trail here.

There is what appears to be a nice park behind the factory, but you can't really see it now because it is buried in snow. I'll have to check it out in the spring.

The trail is cleared only by virtue of people walking on it. I imagine it is quite messy at certain times of the year.

The trail passes through otherwise very heavily settled territory. There are buildings in plain view much of the way, although I imagine it is more private when there are leaves on the trees and bushes. Some of the dwellings seem quite upscale.

Others appear less so.

Behind where the new Smith parking garage is there is this ancient stone wall. Who built it and why?

At the end of the trail is the South Street overpass. The building straight ahead is the Peter Pan bus station.

Under the overpass is a lot of junk, like this wrecked car and abandoned tires. Lots of graffiti too, like the phrase "Pirates Rock" written on an actual rock!

Someone put a lot of effort into this image of a guy smoking a joint.

The trail leads into the parking lot where this apartment complex is. Now they are expensive digs, but in my day it was a flophouse where a lot of drug dealers lived, sort of the one-stop shopping center for substance abuse. You can put as many yuppies into it as you want, but frankly it still looks like a flophouse to me.

These stairs lead up to the back of the Academy of Music.

And right in front of the Academy is the bus stop!

What a great short cut downtown, one I will now use every day! Soon I will follow the path in the other direction, away from the city, and show you what is to be seen that way.

In Amherst today I came across the International Symbol of Anarchy scrawled on the wall of the CVS. Fully copyrighted of course.


Redthorne said...

Although I haven't looked it up on Google earth, the stone wall perhaps marks the trail, in whole or in part, as once having been an old railroad line. Things like that stand out on Google earth as unnaturally straight lines. I'll check it out when I get a chance.

Glad to see things are working out for you in the positive!

seaking said...

That trail is actually owned by the city, and is destined to become a paved bike trail in the near future (this summer I think). It's the first leg of what will eventually be a bike path down to Easthampton, linking up with the Manhan trail. It's a nice trail to walk already, but yes, it does get pretty muddy some of the time.