AFM/Unitarian Trails

Bob Bruninga, lastname@usna.edu, Annapolis, MD

Annapolis Friends Meeting environmental efforts have strived to preserve the wilderness and natural setting that surrounds our property. After the 5 June 2011 meeting in consideration of adjacent properties, we realized that it might be nice to have a photo tour of some of the trails that our AFM kids have used in communing back and forth with the Unitarians. This web page attempts to capture this small protion of the trail to the Unitarians shown here. Our own trail system that circles our lot and connects into the Luce Creek Trail system goes off the map to the right and circles around down into the Luce Creek ravine and comes back up behind our solar panels. The trails on this page are just a small part of the overall system of trails that our kids and other youth have discovered through the Luce Creek Watershed. We invite other churches to join in this Luce Creek Interfaith Trail system. Click here to see an overall map. This page has been updated in February 2014 as we enter spring and hopefully some trial work.

Existing Luce Creek Interfaith 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 (D) and up the other side. There (at E) it turns left towards the Unitarians. The trails in our ravine encroach slightly on adjacent property owners and we hope to correct that in the future.

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]. Just prior to this photo is the turn to the right that gets you onto our circular trail down into our ravine, across the creek, then down into the Luce Creek ravine and then back up at the end of Dubois Road behind our solar panels.

Climbing the Other Bank: These 25 steps carry you up the other side to the top of the hill and into a wooded clearing in the southern most corner of our lot. 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. The sign on the left is pointing back the way you came since you need to be on our circular trail to get to the main trail down in the Luce Creek valley. But, before heading towards the Unitarians you can pivot to the right to see some more views.

Simulated Signs:

Point Pleasant: This is not our poperty and we should stay out of this area. We hope to put up some kind of aesthetically pleasing indication that this property is private and should be respected. 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 our neighbor's private property down into the ravine (to the right. The outline of our meeting house is shown with a yellow line.

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 (bottom of page) 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 the area behind our meeting house belongs to our neighbor and should not be used. 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 Interfaith Trail: 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. Critical to connecting the Baptists and Presbyterians is the cut along the back property of the Knights of Columbus. (see detail). We hope that they can work a small buffer at the back of their property to make this connection possible. Before they build, we thought now is a good time to open a dialogue with these other property owners to support this Interfaith Youth Trail System.

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We have played with lots of imaginary ideas such as a far future project to visualize a possible elevated walkway across the ravine.

Bob Bruninga
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