Last Saturday morning I woke up at 5:00 A.M. for an volunteering event, “Anytime Fitness 5K”, at Mile Square Park. Those in the race would run 3.2 miles in a circular path throughout the park. The first job I had upon arrival was to help set up advertisement booths in between the start and finish line. I did this with the company of a few close friends, which made it surprisingly enjoyable. My second job was to walk with a group of three friends to the fourth cheering station (while avoiding getting lost), where we would cheer on the passing runners. Unfortunately, at our station we didn’t pass out cups of water to the runners at our station. Instead, we congratulated the runners for finishing their first mile and encouraged them to keep up their good work.
The major highlight of the event was walking inside of Mile Square Park for the first time. Although I had lived near the park for the majority of my life, I had only walked around the exterior of it a few times. It was exciting and surprising to see the beauty that had been hidden inside of the park, and how vast of an area it is to explore. On the mile long walk to the fourth cheering station I saw squirrels, various species of birds, and more trees than I believed could exist in the middle of a crowded city. To add on top of the greatness, the map above shows how small of a fraction this path was to the rest of the park.
In areas where private property was fenced off, the land stretched on until it faded out of my field of vision due to the fog. Although frustrating while driving in the early morning, fog also has an element of mystery and beauty to it. Despite the fact that we were in a rush to reach our station before the runners passed it, I managed to stop and take a few pictures of this. I’m extremely happy I did, as although they’re not the best of quality, they’ll definitely help me keep the motivation to revisit the area and explore more of it. Nature is my favorite thing about the world, and camping is my favorite thing to do. It’s saddening that despite how much I enjoy it, for the next year I might be to busy with my education, summer job, and other responsibilities to go on long camping trips like my family used to. I’m thankful that Mile Square Park exists, because I’ll be frequently visiting it instead.
After the event was over, I encouraged my group to walk around the area for a while, instead of immediately returning to entrance of the park and leaving to go home. As we walked around, we stumbled upon the entrance to a Nature Area path! Although it was closed off during the weekend, it was exciting to know that some of the land that hides behind fences is actually available to the public. Unfortunately, its’ gates stay locked during the days and hours that I attend school, so I’ll have rare opportunities to visit it. I have school off next Monday for Washington’s Day, so I’ll hope for the best and check if they’re open then. Until next week, I’ll be daydreaming of nature and a time where I can freely travel.