Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rollin’ on (or near) the River

You don't always have to be on the water to enjoy the water

For those of us who live in the desert, water, any water, is special. It is in short supply, and so it is highly valued.

In a city, a river can also be special. It makes for a ribbon of nature that can transcend both urbanization and blight. Two of the blogs that I frequent, Captain JP's log and Beer and Trucks, have recently made posts about bicycling upon trails that run alongside rivers through urban areas, one along the Thames through London and its environs, and one along the Arkansas through Little Rock and North Little Rock. Albuquerque also has its own Paseo del Bosque Bike Trail alongside the Rio Grande.

I haven't been able to ride a bicycle since I suffered a medical malpractice incident that I'd rather not dwell on right now. But I can and do walk – lately, not as much as I should. Provided everybody is reasonably civilized, trails can be shared by walkers, runners, bicyclists, and equestrians.

JP reports on a bicycle trip he made, Putney to Kingston and back by bike, through a bunch of places whose names will be familiar to fans of the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical Cats, as places terrorized by Growltiger, the pirate cat. He has pictures to prove that, even in a heavily urbanized area, a river creates an environment that feels distant from the city.

Andrew doesn't provide any pretty pictures, but he does give us a map of the bicycle trail system, which is still very much under construction. I'm not sure whether it's coincidence that the Bill Clinton Presidential Center is in the same place as Heifer International. I haven't been to Little Rock since the construction of the bicycle trails began, but I do remember that there were parks along the river that provided welcome green space, and I imagine that the bicycle trails expand upon that concept.

Meanwhile, here in Albuquerque, we are increasingly aware of how precious our bosque is. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a bosque is a wooded area alongside a river in an arid region – the southwestern equivalent of an oasis. It is a sanctuary for much diverse wildlife. It draws its sustenance from the river, and therefore, it depends on the river to remain healthy. Through the early 20th century, the river flooded every spring, providing sustenance to the bosque, much as the Nile did in ancient Egypt; subsequent flood control made the land along the river safer to build houses on or to plant farms, but gradually the bosque was dying. Recently, we've discovered how to manage the river with controlled flooding, rather than flood control, and the bosque is coming back.

I know there are other cities with rivers flowing through them, such as San Antonio. I have chosen to feature these three as examples of where the river provides an antidote to the city. If you have other such cities to recommend, go ahead and tell us in the comments, and provide links if you have them.

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Blogger JP said...

Canberra in Australia is another example, with tracks all round its lake.

Thanks for reminding me of Growltiger - I had forgotten the Putney connection!

(ps the word check was "exsailap" - is that an application that used to involving sailing?)

Sat Jun 13, 09:01:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous andrew Teague said...

North Little Rock has always been the 'lesser' of the two cities, yet the river trail is completed on their side of the river, Burns park (#10 in the map) hosts regional and nationally recognized soccer tournaments, and Regionals for the NCAA Woman in basketball at Alltell Arena (#13). And a Maritime Museum!

Sat Jun 13, 06:46:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

So North Little Rock is to Little Rock as Greenwich is to London -- and both NLR and Greenwich have maritime museums. Cool.

Sat Jun 13, 11:55:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Tillerman said...

Boston has the Charles River Bike Path. It's actually a mixed use trail (as JP's trail by the Thames also is apparently) and although I've never biked it, I have run sections of it many times. Whenever I went to Boston on business or visited my son in college there, I always used to try and get out for a run by the river.

And before we get into any arguments about whether it's really in Boston or Cambridge, the answer is both. There are trails both side of the river for much of its length.

Mon Jun 15, 08:19:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Programming not: FWIW, visitor #53K was somebody from Kansas City on one of the usual searches.

Mon Jun 15, 11:54:00 PM MDT  
Blogger bonnie said...

HI! OK, I'm late, but New York?

OK, the Hudson is really an estuary. But I wouldn't have lasted as long in NYC as I have without all that water to play on.

The interesting thing has been watching the public perception come about over the 10 years I've been paddling & sailing the Hudson. Serious boaters are still a little outside the mainstream but more and more, the reaction people have when they hear about my hobby is "Oh, yeah, I've heard about that, it sounds like fun" if not "Oh yeah, I've tried that".

When I started, I'd say the universal reaction was "You've had your shots, right?", or questions about fish with three eyes, or whether I'd developed any propensity to glow in the dark, ha ha ha.

Been spending an odd amount of time in Western PA of late (today's deer picture was on Lake Mahoning). Haven't gotten out on Pittsburgh's rivers yet but may try to do that sometime.

Mon Jul 06, 08:40:00 AM MDT  

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