Saturday, May 24, 2014

Heinz Wildlife Refuge Loop

Today I went for a walk. I had planned on 8 or 9 miles and ended up with 10. That's what happens when you walk. It's easy to get motivated to check other things along the way.

I decided to do my walking at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge but I didn't feel like just going out and back. Instead I parked at the Route 420/Wannamaker Road end of the refuge then walked south to Route 291 and followed that up to 84th street and to the Lindbergh Boulevard entrance to the refuge.

291 is also called Industrial Highway and for a large portion of the part I walked on it lived up to it's name. However, I also walked through Tinicum and Essington. I saw some really cute houses, Mel's diner and a softball field. I wonder if Dave knows about that one. It's amazing how many softball fields are tucked away in Delaware County where you'd least expect to find them. Mel's might be worth checking out sometime. It's a diner - how bad could it be?

291 is also called Gov Printz Boulevard in places and as I walked along it I was reminded of the half
hour special we watched on TV earlier this week about the Lenni/Lenape Indians who lived here originally. And how this region was settled by the Swedes and the Dutch long before William Penn got here. That show is where I also learned how Quakers got to be called Quakers. I never knew that before. I didn't choose today's route because of the show we had just watched. It's just interesting how things work out like that sometimes.

One thing about walking - that doesn't happen when I run - is having to pee. What a nuisance. Fortunately there was a super Wawa at 84th and Bartram. It was another mile to the refuge visitor center and I was glad not to have to wait for that. TMI? Sorry.

Despite the industrial nature of the 291 route it was perfectly safe. There was sidewalk or wide shoulder most of the way. 291 is the 'on road' alternate for the East Coast Greenway here. The off road portion goes through the refuge. The ECG wants to have as much off road connections as possible. I can see where the alternate might be better for someone with a road bike and tires. It is pretty rough in some spots. If you don't know the ECG - when complete - will be a system of trails connecting Canada to Key West. The goal is to get as much of on trails as possible.

Finally I arrived at the entrance to the refuge and was happy to switch off the pavement and onto the trail. I was glad I did the street portion of the walk first. This way when I began to tire I'd have nice scenery to look at and birds to listen to as I continued. It's amazing how the birds CAN be heard above the noise of 95 and the airport which runs alongside.

There were a lot of walkers and cyclists on the trail today. Despite it being a cloudy day there is a lot to see there. I should have brought binoculars. It is funny how different things look when you walk rather than run the same path. I discovered a toad/frog habitat that I hadn't seen before. It could be new but I think more likely I just missed it running past before.

All in all it was a good outing today. I had planned on it being about 9 miles. 10 was ok though. It was all flat as you can see from my garmin. If you look closely at the map you can see where I veered off for the Wawa stop and again for the toad/frog habitat. I did not see any frogs or toads by the way but there sure were a lot of crickets there.

I had wanted to get some miles on my feet to make sure I'm ready for this year's Independence Day Walk. I think I'll be good. :) I have minor shin pain on the left. It's been a long time since I've done that much pavement walking, though. I'm sure it's temporary. My left hip flexor did some griping at the beginning of the walk too. That's typical. I really have to remember to warm up and stretch that sucker.

Planning on a bike ride tomorrow. Keep smiling and keep moving.

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