We completed the first semi-organized event of 2012 with a 12-mile walk from Trenton to Princeton this past Sunday, Mar 25th. With a moderate temperature but a threat of rain we had 21 walkers and one canine (Briggs Roe) show up for what proved to be an excellent day for a pretty long walk.
Because of the distance and the logistics, most of us started unofficially parked in Turning Basin park in Princeton and carpooling to the Trenton Transit Center well in time for our 8:00am start. A handful of hardy New Yorkers arrived at 7:47 on the NJ Transit train and we were off at about 8:15.
The streets in Trenton were deserted as you might expect at this time except for a hundred or so young adults dressed as if to go to church filing into the State building for a "Youth and Government" conference. Odd but inspiring!
We headed down to the Delaware River to pick up the head of the D&R Canal and East Coast Greenway trail which for this day would be one and the same route. Here we walk through some odd older historic sections carved out by the canal until we head back toward Route 1 and parallel that road for miles to come.
You can easily walk or ride a bike in this area on asphalt or hard packed surface but mostly open to views of a modern highways or remnants of old industry. Some plants have been converted to new industry like recycling or even a new-age farm (Halo Farm). Makes you wonder whether other re-births of Trenton's glorious industrial past are also taking place here.
Now we are on the hard-pack towpath for a few more miles and signs of the canal's past like an old lock house, we come upon a great modern pedestrian bridge spanning across Route 1. Its a welcome change in the walking routine and a sign that we are nearly halfway in our walk to Princeton. From here, there a constant towpath trail.
There's plenty of natural surroundings to see, but the walk become more routine for a while until we cross Quaker Rd. where the trail is briefly re-routed due to recent flooding damage. Basically we cross over to the south side of the canal for a half-mile or so and then back over to the north side. All you really need to know do is stay by the water. At this point the trail is much more active with runners and other walkers.
Mike Kruimer, the NJ Chairperson for ECGA, trail expert, and main support guy, has been with us all the way and has helped in car pooling, pointing the way, cheering us on and even bringing his grandkids to join us. If you followed last year's events, you probably know of Mackensie Roe (7yrs. old) who took the honors of Best Young FreeWalker last year. Both she and her sister Kelly (4yrs. old), their mom Kathy, and their new dog, Briggs, joined us for the tail end of the walk. Mack is back walking about 5 miles with us and now Kelly is ready to walk having logged 2 miles on her own.
Heading up the tail end of the walk we finished just before 12:30 with a number of FreeWalkers greeting us at the end. The word was that everyone enjoyed the walk and we all made it to Turn Basin from where we started.