Four years ago, Philadelphia beckoned. With its historic streets, ample museums, and plethora of restaurants, there was never any reason to be bored.
What surprised me the most, though, was the vast geographic area the city took up (135 square miles, to be precise). Living in the northwest corner of the city, my husband Jeff and I often cruised a stretch of road called Lincoln Drive, which passed underneath a deeply forested area that reminded us of Jurassic Park. I soon learned that this wooded wonderland encompassed the southern tip of the Wissahickon Valley, a hiking, biking, and fishing destination within the confines of the city limits. People traveled from all over the region to enjoy outdoor activities in the 1,800-acre valley.
It wasn’t long before my visits to the Wissahickon were an almost daily occurrence. I’d bring my dog, Baby Girl, with me to meander along a wide dirt path called Forbidden Drive, which ran adjacent to a babbling creek. On some days we took the upper trails, where park patrons discovered breathtaking vantage points. And even on quiet days, a traveler to these woodlands would never truly be alone. Here was a place where deer, raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, and all manners of birds made their residence.
Anytime I wanted to clear my mind of life’s daily stresses, I would hike with Baby Girl through the wooded trails and feel my troubles melting away almost instantly.
Four years later, the Jersey Shore beckons. As I say my final farewells to the city of Philadelphia — my adopted hometown — I think in particular about the joy the Wissahickon has brought both me and my canine companion.
Last night, I took Baby Girl into the woods for a quiet walk along Forbidden Drive (whose name derives from the fact that automobiles are forbidden there). I snapped a quick video of the pooch wading in the delicious (according to Baby Girl) waters of the Wissahickon Creek. Turn the volume up to hear the chortle of the videographer, yours truly, whose clumsiness can be downright comical, as this video demonstrates. Turn up the volume to get the full experience.
I have so much appreciation for the Wissahickon, which time and again has kept me sane through the healing power of nature. Traveling backwards through my iPhone’s camera roll, I share with you a few of my favorite Wissahickon moments from the past seven months.