Urban hiking

Usually when I talk about “urban hiking”, I mean that I am walking around down on the trails near Barton Dam, an area that doesn’t resemble a city at all, even though it is only maybe a mile and a half away from downtown Planet Ann Arbor. The Barton Dam trails are wooded with a meadow in the middle. It’s maybe a five minute drive from The Landfill (and it’s also possible to walk there from here), and you can “hike” a mile or two or maaayyybe three if you walk all the way along the berm and back. A quick getaway when even our own woodsy (but rather densely populated) neighborhood is just a wee bit too much.

Today, I had a mission in the downtown Planet Ann Arbor in mind (it’s a secret mission of sorts, don’t ask), so we took the opportunity to take a true urban hike, all the way downtown, over to U of M, across the diag, up to Washtenaw Ave. and back. It has been ages since I have walked the diag. The photo shows the top of the building at the end of the diag (it would be the beginning of the diag if you entered from the other direction. I dunno if it’s because nowadays I walk around with a camera iPhone in my pocket or because I am “old” but today, I actually looked *up* and saw these towers. I’m sure I have seen them before. But I don’t think I have ever really *noticed* them. Of course I had to instagram it.

I did not go to college at U of M. I grew up wanting to but through my own inattention to the college application process, I did not get in. No, it wasn’t because of my grades (or my SATs, kee-reist!). As much as anything, I think I spent too much time trying to dumb myself down in junior high and high school, in a desperate attempt to be “cool” enough to fit in with my classmates. Yes, that was really dumb. Kee-reist!

I have walked across the diag about a billion times. I don’t remember the details of most of those walks. The walk I remember was once when my old coot was still young (like I am now) and walked all over hell and gone no matter where he was. We got to the building in the photoooo and he hung a louie and we went *inside* that building with the two towers. He opened a door on the right and we went inside a room with a big pool-type thing with scaled-down boats in it. A naval engineering laboratory. How the heck did he know that was in there? Because he spent his freshman year at the U of M. And then… Mysteriously… He switched to Moo-U. He did not flunk out of the U of M. Not the guy who, a few years later was rated superior as a WWII pilot / flight instructor or the guy who aced all of his banking classes.

I can’t tell you what happened to my old coot because I have only once in my life heard him say anything about it. It was cocktail hour at the moomincabin and he was sitting there drinking a ‘hattan and watching the boats go buy and he blurted something out about a probably long-dead professor, referring to him with a word he probably later used to refer to his WWII enemies. I did a double-take! Say what? As much as I wanted to, I didn’t ask him or The Commander for the details. I didn’t really want to know any more. I think it is okay for people to take some secrets to their graves.

So, the Old Coot may not have graduated from U of M and, actually, he didn’t even finish his bachelor’s degree. WWII interrupted his studies and he never quite managed to get back to them. He did go to banking school. Through the U of M, I believe (I have those records but haven’t processed them yet). So what? He was a very intelligent person and he had a successful and *honest* career, unlike, well, you know…

In the long run, I live on the Planet Ann Arbor because I love it here and have always loved it here and it is in the Great Lake State so I can drive to The Group Home at Houghton Lake and The Moomincabin. I don’t have to take a plane ride. Although I am getting more comfortable with those… 😉 A part of me wonders whether I would’ve settled here if I *had* gone to U of M.

Good weekend here at The Landfill. 10 miles of walking today and lots of flinging. The next couple weekends will be ultra-busy.

Love y’all

2 Responses to “Urban hiking”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Ashley applied to UM and didn’t get in!! I was hoping she would so I could visit you. Instead I’m “stuck” going to sunny CA and hanging out in Santa Monica. 🙂

  2. jane Says:

    I went to the ‘wave pool’ once. must have been in Jr. High or High School. it was very cool when they got the waves going rather fast!