Pedagogy of the Plants

Archive for the ‘Cycle Hikes’ Category

Kudzu Vista

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Kudzu On the Tracks

The latest section of greenway spits cyclists out near Lexington Road. A short ride west under Loop 10 leads to the now-vacant homeless camp called Tent City, which sits on one of many recently clear cut and mulched embankments around town. Hike up to the top of the hill, past a handful of abandoned huts and peek under the overpass for an incredible view of kudzu blanketing a stretch of buried railroad.

Written by Cameron Brooks

May 26, 2018 at 11:53 am

Tent City

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On the morning of the last day of school, one of my students pulled me aside and discreetly mentioned, “This weekend we’re moving to a place called The Salvation Army.” I explained where it’s located and talked it up as a place where they’ll be well-taken care of until they have to move again (a familiar ritual). After our conversation, I wondered how the residents of a local homeless camp were faring given recent destruction of woodland habitats, and recalled my first visit to Tent City.

I drove across town to join a small hodgepodge of volunteers from Athens and Atlanta in a Lowes parking lot on the morning of January 6th, 2008. The meeting was organized by an Atlanta-based nonprofit called The Mad Housers. We drove two miles west to Tent City on Lexington Road, a homeless camp tucked into the woods along a stretch of Loop 10.

Wielding tools and panels constructed the day before, we hiked up a shady trail dotted with tents and rudimentary lean-tos in varying states of disrepair. It was hard to discern which were occupied and which ones were abandoned. Once the path leveled a bit, a gentle war veteran named Radar greeted us with firm handshakes. He was the reason for our visit.

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Radar and the rest of our crew spent the next few hours chatting while building his new home, the now-vacant hut pictured above.

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The Mad Housers returned to Tent City and built more homes over the years. Radar passed away, then a woman named Sissy shared the hut with her ailing mother.

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Now everyone is gone. Crews contracted by the Georgia Department of Transportation are in the process of felling trees and clearing undergrowth alongside major roadways. According to a piece on the WUGA website, the project “pushed back the tree line to reduce shadows on the road and ensure falling trees wouldn’t disrupt traffic in storms.”

Whether it’s a mom unable to pay rent and utilities, a chipmunk or garter snake seeking refuge from predators, or military veterans and the mentally ill seeking shelter, the DOT has disrupted more than a few fallen trees and shadows on the road ever could.

 

 

Written by Cameron Brooks

May 26, 2018 at 11:47 am

Palma Sola Bay to Sarasota Bay

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A bicycle tour south through Bradenton Beach and Longboat Key begins with great egrets, brown pelicans and an opportunistic gull.

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After grooming atop a pole, an agile resident settles into a standing split.

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Vying for scraps, a laughing gull plops down on a pelican’s back as it dives for mullet.

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Next is a ride through the Robinson Preserve.

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Stretches of paved path yield to elevated sections winding through mangrove forest.

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Hidden breaks in the forest lead to amazing vistas of the bay.

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A flock of white pelicans slowly bobs up and down until one notices a school of fish.

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An awkward orange, black and white ruckus erupts. The collective briefly takes flight.

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Crashing down onto one another, the frenzy lasts maybe a minute (but it doesn’t appear that many catch a snack).

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Compared to Robinson, Perico Preserve is a smaller and younger restoration project. Bikes are restricted to a small loop, but the route includes curious flora and fauna, including fallen trees and sharp turns.

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Drivers and cyclists on Manatee Avenue are forced to take in the view as a yacht lumbers through the drawbridge over Anna Maria Sound.

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More avian natives eye tourists from a weathered jetty on Coquina Beach.

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Taking such subjective advice in Florida (and across the US) is hard these days.

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A dune daisy blooms below one of many towering resorts occupying Longboat Key.

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The day’s ride begins and ends on Palma Sola Bay.

St Marys River

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How many photos of a place are too many?

Written by Cameron Brooks

June 6, 2016 at 5:41 pm

May Day Flurries

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A flurry of cottonwood seeds occupy an entrance to the North Oconee River Greenway.
 

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Absence

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Spokes on the Water

 

Thirty spokes gathered at each hub:

absence makes the cart work.

A storage jar fashioned out of clay:

Absence makes the jar work

Doors and windows cut in a house:

Absence makes the house work

Presence gives things their value,

but absence makes them work.

-Lao Tzu

Written by Cameron Brooks

July 13, 2014 at 10:53 am

Nat Arnold Building

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