After the 5 June 2011 meeting in consideration of the adjacent property to AFM, I realized that I had never fully walked the trails beyond our own AFM nature trail system. So this time, I decided to follow the trail all the way to the Unitarians to get an idea of the nature of the area. The AFM kids have used this trail system often in communing back and forth with the Unitarians, but some of us adults have never had the chance. So this web page attempts to capture this experience. (Our own trail system that circles our lot is not shown here). It should be noted that this trail is just a small part of an overall system of trails that our kids and other youth have developed through the Luce Creek Watershed. Click here to see an overall map.
Existing Trail System: Currently access to the AFM trail is from the hallway door and out the sidewalk to the east as shown below[A]. As seen on the map to the right, the trail proceeds along our eastern property line down into the ravine and up the other side. There it turns left towards the Unitarians. The trails to the right (behind our property) are on the lot that is currently for sale and being considered for purchase. For more detail on that Lawrence Ave land, please see the page.
Begin : From our meeting house and the end of the sidewalk we walk past our memorial garden on the right and down into the woods as shown below[B].
Past our Memorial Garden : This trail above heads on a gentle slope down into the ravine[C].
Down the Hill: The path is left adjacent to our eastern property line and passes between two large tulip Poplars at the bottom of the ravine. Notice that the creek bed is completely dry at this end of the property[D].
Climbing the Other Bank: These 25 steps carry you up the other side to the top of the hill and onto a wooded clearing in the north eastern corner of the new lot (currently for sale). You enter this area from the left of the view below[E]. Since this location is a major trail junction in the Luce Creek wilderness area, we have simulated some possible trail signs to show the distances to the other Churches and Youth areas. But, before heading towards the Unitarians you can pivot to the right to see some more views.
Point Pleasant: Looking opposite from the direction of the Unitarian path (above) you can see a very large tree with a hole under it (below)[F]. Behind this tree from the left is a dip from this new property down into the ravine (to the right) that could be used as a more gentle sloped path for access to the Ravine and a possible new path to AFM. It is on this site shown below, that a small wilderness shelter could be built that would provide a suitable meeting place for a handful of friends with a nice view out over the ravine back towards the AFM meeting house. To see more about that concept, visit the walking tour web page about the Lawrence property.
The View to AFM: Looking further to the right almost back from whence you came, you can see the AFM building brick colors seeping through the trees in the ravine and the light from the treeless area of our AFM property. The winter view of the AFM meeting house will be in the area highlighted here with a grey box. In the lower center of this view is a yellow line strung across the ravine whre a dream bridge could be built (see walkway page). Again, the grey box outlines the AFM building which is hard to see through the trees[G].
Continuing Towards the UU's: Completing your 360 degree turn to the right, you can proceed down the path towards the Unitarian Trail System[H].
Overall Area Map: At this point it might be a good idea to take a look at an overall map (below) of the entire area to help you get your bearings. The large image below covers all the trails between the Unitarians and AFM. Notice, that if we do not purchase the back lot, we will have no access to the Unitarian wilderness without the approval of us to cross the 4 corner property lines of our two neighbors. This map does show our AFM circular trail.
This path from that four-corners area extends eastward (to the left in this southern view) probably 100 yards towards the Unitarians[I].
The Unitarian Nature Trail: Once into the Unitarian Trails System you will notice many trees are marked with nature trail placards and can see an occasional bench for the foot weary as shown below[J].
The Unitarian Field: A side path to the south opens up into the nice green field that marks the western end of the Unitarian property and is open to Lawrence Ave.
This field marks the western end of the existing Unitarian property. On the far side of this field is the shared property line with the new property that is currently for sale. The right end of that property line runs into the AFM eastern property line.
The Gazebo: Turning back to the east, you come to a path to a gazebo in the woods. This seems to make a nice quite place to have a meeting or gathering. For any future ideas for AFM, I might suggest a structure with a translucent roof so that the light can shine in. The tree canopy provides plenty of shade for the structure, so the roof is only need to protect from rain. A central fire place could extend the useable seasons of such a structure.
The Trail to the UU's: Turning back from the gazebo, the trail winds through the woods towards their building compex.
The Memorial Garden: The paths eventually come out into the Unitarian Memorial Garden above.
The Labrynth: But first if you turn to the left you can see their Labrynth. The first time I walked through, I saw a kid patiently tracing his way thorugh the maze. Later when I came back with my camera, I found this family sitting in the middle of the Labrynth. The UU's have an annual Summer Program for kids called Camp Beagle that involves kids outdoors learning about the environment.
The UU's Garden and Deck: Turning back to the right and entering the Memorial Garden gives a good view of their memorials and one end of their church building. If you continue to the left up and across the Unitarian parking lot the trail enters the Catholic Church area and from there it could proceed across Dubois, behind the Knights of Columbus and then onto the Baptist's land and across Ridgley onto the Presbyterians as shown below:
Luce Creek Youth Wilderness Area: The google view above has been used to show how these trails fit into the overal Luce Creek Watershed. The yellow areas show parts of the trail that cross separate property lines where there has been no formal agreement to its use as a trail. We think that before these properties are fully developed that we need to get all property owners to support this Youth Trail System.
We have put together another web page showing the property for-sale on Lawrence Ave. and also a far future project to visualize a possible elevated walkway across the ravine.