A Story About A Bridge

I’ve got a story about a bridge to share. The bridge isn’t as impressive as the huge suspension bridge I raced over, or even the bridge I set out to find in Omaha, but a bridge is a bridge. For an infrastructure nerd like me, every bridge is worth a visit.

Before I get into that, though, I wanted to share a few words about my friend Richard Simmons. He’s been back in the news this week, with outlets reporting his ‘return’ after six years. His team, a few weeks ago, began posting new content on his YouTube channel, to provide locked down folks some Richard-filled workout options. The content isn’t new – it’s classic Richard from a few decades back – so don’t fall for the clickbait headlines about Richard’s return.

I’m all for Richard spreading some positivity during these tough times. I think it’s great, and I plan on exercising this week with some of those videos. Mostly, though, I want the same thing I’ve wanted ever since Richard first stepped back from public life: that he’s healthy and happy.

Now on to the bridge! I’ve been honoring my state’s lockdown orders, mostly only leaving the house to walk around the neighborhood with JJ. But I’ve taken a few short drives on weekends, with JJ, to go to a local trailhead for longer walks with a change of scenery. The trail is pretty empty, but wide enough so that if anyone passes, there’s plenty of room to maintain proper social distancing.

It’s called the West Bloomfield Trail, and it’s part of a much-longer trail, that stretches across a couple counties, which used to be a railroad, originally built in the 1880s. As a result, the trail is rather straight, cutting through woods and alongside a bunch of lakes and ponds.

There’s an easy access point that’s about a five-minute drive from my house. I took JJ there two weekends ago, and we headed west for a nice, long 3.4-mile hike, venturing off the trail to explore one neighborhood.

The next weekend we parked in the same spot, but headed in the other direction, and covered 5.7 miles on our hike.

Then, yesterday, we went back and set out in search of the infamous pedestrian footbridge that was a few miles beyond the farthest point we had ever hiked. It’s not really infamous – I just had never walked to it, and it seemed like a great goal for the day’s hike.

We parked at a different access point, and started west, passing by wetlands and woods. JJ was on high alert, because there was a lot of wildlife. He saw squirrels, deer, a rabbit, a turkey, geese, ducks, and a snake. He heard frogs croaking in the cattails, but he’s not saying whether or not he saw any hopping around. We also saw a very striking bird, which I looked up later and learned was a red-winged blackbird.

After a few miles, we came into a clearing… and there was the bridge!

The bridge crosses M-5, a major 6-lane boulevard, just a half-mile south of where that road ends. I imagine this road carries a lot of traffic, but on this Saturday morning during a lockdown, cars were pretty rare.

It was a very wide bridge – plenty of room for people to walk in both directions, and will have room for bikers to pass.

We got to the other side and decided to turn around, since we had already been hiking for over an hour. That’s when I saw that the other side of the bridge was more adorned.

We had made it to Commerce Township! Woo-hoo! Commerce Township is the next Detroit suburb over, and it’s mostly residential, dotted with lakes. Commerce Township doesn’t have any big claims to fame, but it was home to a 17-year-old Eagle Scout named David Hahn, who, in 1994, built a nuclear reactor in his backyard, ultimately leading to the EPA cleaning up the property to eradicate the radioactivity.

Well, that’s the story. It isn’t the best story, but it resulted in a lot of exercise, so it’s definitely worth sharing. Our hike totaled 7.2 miles and took about 2 hours and 15 minutes. JJ and I were both pretty tired afterward!

Keep it up, David!

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