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Running in West Philadelphia

May 23, 2010

I’ve settled down into a nice running schedule recently:  2 days on, 1 day off.  I’ve also gotten my run length up enough so I’m able to get out to nicer areas at least at the far point on my runs.

I often run by here.

This is definitely one of the worst examples of areas I run through, but trash, broken sidewalks and abandoned buildings are quite common.  Don’t get me wrong: I don’t feel unsafe running through here (well except for my ankles, maybe), its just not the most pleasant running environment.

On the other hand there are some nice murals scattered throughout the area.

Mural at Sayre, a school that I often run past.

Another mural that I sometimes run past at 57th and Haverford.

Public artists are really active here in Philadelphia.  Of course, a corollary to that is that the, shall we say, less sanctioned artists are at least as active as the muralists.

Graffiti on the Sayre mural.

Graffiti and murals in West Philadelphia.

So, I do enjoy getting beyond these areas in West Philadelphia on my runs.  I’ve got a couple of courses that take me out to a bike path that runs along next to a stream and series of narrow parks…

On beyond West Philly.

…and I noticed the head of a trail that I thought might run parallel to one of my courses after the bike path ends.  It looked like it might be a sketchy path and something I would end up wanting to avoid, but I finally took the plunge and decided to explore it a month or so ago.

More "public art," but of the less-than-reassuring variety.

But what I found was a very pleasant surprise.

The trail that runs off along Cobbs Creek.

I fully expected the path to be full of trash and badly overgrown.  I had hoped it would be nicely maintained, but didn’t think that was very realistic.  What I found was rather strangely in between.  There is a little litter, here and there, but only a very little.  And the path is strangely clear of weeds, especially since it’s clear that there hasn’t been any sort of major official path clearing push in quite a while…

Obstacles on the Cobbs Creek trail.

…and the fact that trees and tall shrubs had started to make serious inroads into the path space in several places.  But all in all a very nice place to get away from the sidewalks of West Philadelphia.

Last week it occurred to me that I could, like Dad, go ahead and fix the overgrowth issues myself.  So I carried a small handsaw with me and cleared some of the over head overgrowth away.  There is still a fair amount of dodging that I have to do, but no more ducking; and it’s quite nice.  Carrying a saw on my run in turn made me realize that I could carry my camera every once in a while, inspiring this post.  So yesterday I took the camera with me and had a nice, photo-documenty run out along the newly cleared trail.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2010 12:13 am

    That broken chair picture is actually kinda beautiful.

    • Craig Douglas permalink*
      June 8, 2010 5:51 am

      I’m rather proud of that one myself. And I really lucked out with it: I often run by there and the 1 time I was carrying the camera was the only time the chair was there.

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