Today I went to meet friends at the buddha garden
. When they left, I decided to explore along the train tracks
. I walked under an overpass
checking out the graffiti
when I heard a "chink, chink" kind of noise up ahead. I walked on the balls of my feet over the ties, though there was so much noise from the highway
overhead that I don't think you could have heard me if I'd been stomping through the gravel
. I saw a long articulated platform on the rails up ahead, so I went back under the overpass, climbed up a ridge, and hopped over the light rail
tracks to a place where I could see further. I saw that the platform had a piece of construction
machinery on it that a guy in a hard hat
and safety orange
vest was working on. The platform was coupled to a little switch engine
. I watched the guy until he finished what he was doing, got into the engine, and pulled away. When he was out of sight I climbed back down and resumed exploring along the tracks.
After a little while I came to a bridge that went over Falls Road
. After a little dithering
I decided to cross over it; there was a platform to the side where I could stand if a train
came. I got halfway across, and was starting to enjoy myself--it was a beautiful day and peaceful there in the gorge of the Jones Falls
--when I heard someone yell "Hey!" from below. I looked down and I saw a guy on a motorcycle
who I took to be a CSX
cop--I don't know which line operates that stretch of track. He zoomed up out of sight, presumably to wait for me where Falls Road meets the tracks. I didn't particularly feel like having a discussion with him, so I looked around for other options.
Across the track to my right, I saw that there was a ridge of land that descended steeply into the river gorge. However, a chain-link fence
ran across the top of the ridge. From where I was standing, it looked like I could walk along the top of the ridge using the fence to keep my balance, and come out into a parking lot
that gave onto the city
It turned out to be not that simple. I crossed the first stretch of fence in high spirits at the fast one
I was pulling on the cop--until it turned out that I had seen an optical illusion. Really, to get to the parking lot, I would have to traverse a second section of fencing.
This was a little rougher, as the native flora
had started to reclaim the top of the ridge here. I had to step over little bushes and clumps of grass. When I came to the third section of fence, which had been overgrown to the point that I had to push my way through tree
branches and the attendant vines, I was distinctly annoyed. And I had to pee
. The sound of the river didn't help that at all.
I came to the fourth section, and that's when I seriously considered turning back and looking for another route. This fence went not along the top of the natural ridge, but along the top of a thin brick retaining wall
that stretched some 20 feet down to the ground. I went very carefully over the wet bricks, holding myself as close as possible to my good friend the fence. My toes were on the wall and my heels over air.
Finally I came to a place where I could climb down to a gap under the fence. From there I was able to go down a fire escape
on a handy building there to a gap in another fence, squeeze through, and walk down to Falls Road
, where immediately I took a long wooden staircase up to Howard Street
and the surface areas of Baltimore
. I walked to a friend's house where they were preparing for a party
, and made someone drive me home so I could bathe and change.