Monday, April 11, 2022

Walking from Riverdale to Laurel in Maryland (Nice Walk #1)

ACCORDING TO LEGEND, WHEN GEORGE Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, he said (something to the effect of), "Because it's there." That may indeed be true, but I can't help but wonder if Mallory decided to climb Mt. Everest simply because he got the idea to do it. 

Mallory is dead, of course, so I guess I'll never know. Nevertheless, I can tell you that when I get a stupid idea about doing something like that, I have trouble thinking about little else. It becomes something of a quest, and I can't rest until I do it ... or at least attempt it. 

Most recently, the dumb thing I've been thinking about is walking from the Starbucks in Riverdale, Maryland (it's next to the Whole Foods, duh), to my home in Laurel, and after a few weeks of tossing and turning it over it my mind, I finally scratched that itch on the morning of April 10.

To be clear, Riverdale and Laurel aren't that far apart. According to the Waze app on my phone, the two localities are separated by a distance of just eight miles. The problem with that number, of couse, is that a thinking person would never walk the same roads Waze advises one to drive. It's too dangerous. Even the alternate routes Waze would suggest are a one-way ticket to the loss of life and limb because the pedestrian infrastructure throughout the area is severely lacking (assuming it's there at all). In short, Maryland is built for cars the people who drive them.

This explains why it took so long for me to put my plan into action: I had to find a safe, or rather slightly less dangerous, route. Fortunately, I didn't have to start from scratch. Along the first half of the trek, there are (rather narrow) sidewalks, and a even a network of walking/bike trails to take advantage of. The last half, however, is a sidewalk desert. This, I am not too proud to say, made me nervous. Nevertheless, after a little investigating, I picked the roads less traveled -- by car -- and it made all the difference. 

The map at right gives you a glimpse of my overall route. It doesn't show you exactly where I walked because the bike path/walking trail I relied on isn't shown on the map. I also took a few "shortcuts" (i.e., allies or driveways between buildings), and those don't appear on the map either. The smaller maps below that I've paired with the photos I took along the way do a better job of illustrating my actual route.

When it was all said and done, I walked just over 10 miles and took 24,000 steps, at least according to my phone. I am aware that 10 miles isn't exactly a world record and that many people have walked much farther than that. Shit, I've even walked farther than that. I also realize that this blog post is something of an exercise in self indulgence. Nevertheless, I will fully admit to being a little proud of myself for making this happen and for not finding some bullshit excuse to sit on the couch.