Like begets like and sitting in my chair on a beautiful day today would have meant more of the same in the near future. No run was scheduled for today, but I had the camera and workout clothes, so I changed out (to keep my work clothes from getting icky) and decided to talk a walking photo tour of my current favorite short run route in Downtown Richmond. Sadly, as soon as I got to the top of the floodwall, the most scenic spot on the whole route, the batteries in the camera died. Go figure.
14th and Cary Streets. The former home of These Four Walls and 10,000 Villages. This section of Cary Street and 14th have been hit very hard recently by closing businesses.
The Turning Basin at 14th and Dock Streets. One day I am going to take one of the Canal Boat rides they offer in the Spring and Summer here.
This is the gate for the Flood Wall at 14th Street. It is kind of hard to imagine that they can close that gate and keep the James River at bay if necessary. I hope we never see the need to do so.
Crossing the Mayo Bridge. The Bridge passes over Mayo Island in the middle, so this is the first half, the northern side of Mayo Bridge. Lots of birds use that sandbar in the river for shelter.
Still on the northern side of the Mayo Bridge and I am looking west on the James River, towards Belle Isle and way off in the distance, directly behind the train bridge, is the Lee Bridge.
This is the southern side of Mayo Bridge, south of Mayo Island. You can see the rapids and the southern flood wall in the distance.
This is how the City looks as you approach it from the south on the Mayo Bridge. It was such a beautiful day.
This is the end of the Bridge and my destination. The paved switchback-like path is my goal. It takes you off the bridge and inside the flood wall to a paved path along the River.
This is a great spot to put in a canoe or kayak or just to walk along if you want to explore the southern bank of the River.
Peering under the bridge just to make sure no trolls are lurking under there. The Mayo Bridge is one of the oldest in Virginia; you can tell. No one decorates a bridge like this anymore. The concrete details are beautiful.
You can see more of the bridge and its details, including the concrete obelisks in this shot, as well as the City looming up over the River to the north.
The flood wall looms large over you on this route. It is both comforting and slightly disconcerting. In the distance, you can see the top of the Southern States grain elevator behind the wall. I cut through the Southern States parking lot on the loop back to the office. The grain dust is a definite downside of this route.
One of the reasons I love this route is it is very quiet. As you go along the paved path in the cool shade of the flood wall, you are sheltered from wind and noise. The sound of the rapids have died away. The cars that seem so loud along the bridge are hushed. The only noise I heard today was the chirping of birds and the hushed sound of large vehicles off to the east on I-95.
Trains have gates in the flood wall as well. Just beyond the train tracks, the solid concrete wall comes to an end and the flood wall becomes a massive hill of rocks and earth, leading east towards I-95.
I am not kidding when I say the flood wall gets steep. This is looking up at the top of the rock/earthen flood wall from the lowest point on the paved path.
This is the I-95 James River Bridge that I cross twice a day, every day. Since I started running this particular route, I watch it keenly when we head home and can see it as we drive south. The bridge looks smaller from my perspective on my runs, and the path I run on looks miniscule from way up there on the bridge on the ride home.
Now it is time to go from River Level to the top of the flood wall. The hill is climbed in two parts. This is the easier part.
I call the second half of the climb the “Road to the Sun.” I have yet to run up this hill without having to stop to walk.
This was the last photo I got before the camera died on me. I am almost on the same elevation as the James River Bridge, and it was a nice view of Richmond on a particularly beautiful day.
While the route is a lonely one, it is not too isolated. I see a couple of people along the way every time I go; tourists, runners, and today, people out fishing and canoeing. Two weeks ago, a bald eagle soared above me as I closed in on the Southern States grain facility. Today, one of the peregrine falcons tailed along behind me for much of the distance. Almost impossible to see in the view screen, I took several desperation shots to see if I could score just one decent photo. Here are the only two that you can even tell are the bird.
Days like today make me particularly appreciative of my city and its surroundings.