Tuesday, October 20, 2009


One of my favorite places to do an easy, scenic three-mile walk is along West Lake Cowdry Road. I park near the Lake Darling/Lake Cowdry bridge and hike along the road next to the lake.

Normally all the road signs along West Lake Cowdry Road are tucked behind long grass and tree foliage. But yesterday, because most of the fall leaves have already blown off the trees, the road signs stuck out like neon-lighted sore thumbs.

That’s when I realized what an incredibly hostile place West Lake Cowdry Road really is. Hostile and scary and downright intimidating.

Inviting little paths warned of dire consequences if I trespassed or hunted (I often hike with a shotgun, but luckily I left it at home yesterday).
And if just one sign isn’t intimidating enough, be sure to stick another one next to it that has the words "criminal" and “forbidden” and “prosecuted” in it. That’ll keep us curious hikers out of your inviting little country lane.

We can walk on the pavement, but wander six feet from the asphalt? Well, we’ve been warned. There are plenty of places to dispose of a body out here in long-grass country.

Another leaf-strewn lane announces that we might go in, but we’ll never come out.

Slow down for kids (not to mention little old ladies) who might be walking on this road. I was grateful for that one.

No parking—and if you don’t believe that sign, there’s another one reminding you twenty feet away. And twenty feet from that one. And twenty feet from that one.

Let me guess. You don’t want me to go here either.

As intriguing as this little creek looks, don’t be tempted. No loitering, no fishing. The whole time I was taking this picture, I marched in place to avoid that classic loitering look of slouching and leaning.
Oops, can’t loiter or fish by this culvert either. ‘Scuse me, I’ve got to keep moving.Along this little stretch, you can’t do anything as the four signs warn “no parking, no fishing, no loitering, no parking (again), and no speeding.” Whew—that’s a lot of signs in a row, even for West Lake Cowdry Road.

Every hundred feet or so, one of these yellow signs warns the uninformed that we shouldn’t be digging. I was grateful for the reminder because like most hikers, I was carrying a shovel.

The Cowdry/Darling creek bridge sported a big “Caution” sign, so I took the little path down the bank (cautiously, of course), curious to see what I was supposed to be cautious about.

This is all I found. It didn’t look too fraught with danger to me. (Fraught? Is fraught a word? If it isn’t, it should be.)

Ah, finally, a friendly gesture. As a passerby, it made me feel mighty welcome. I was, however, by this time suspicious that it was just a trick. I may be naive, but I wasn't about to fall for the old "Rest Stop" con game. I just kept moving along.

When I got back to my car, I realized that I had inadvertently parked right next to green high voltage box. Expecting the worst, I cautiously touched the metal handle of my car to open the door. Luckily the high voltage must have been momentarily turned down because I didn’t even get one of those carpet-shock jolts. I narrowly averted danger once again.

I think I like it better when all the leaves and grass of summer cover the hostile West Lake Cowdry Road signs. By the time I got home, I felt like I had risked my life to walk those dangerous three miles.


Cats Meow said...

I loved all these pictures. The area is really beautiful so I guess I can understand why the folks who live there would want to protect their privacy - a kind of "look and move on" attitude. I might feel the same way if I lived there.

2to4aday said...

Thanks for your comment, Cats Meow! I keep writing because--well, I just need to write. But it means a lot to get an echo back. Thanks.

bd said...

Pretty scenery, but where is Lady Bird "no signs" Johnson when you need her?

2to4aday said...

BD: I had forgotten all about Lady Bird and her Beautification Act--no billboards, no junkyards, plant flowers, the Great Society--all that good 1960s stuff. I'm going to march right over to West Lake Cowdry Road, show them a copy of that legislation, and demand that they let me loiter near their culverts!

Elaine said...

I wish I had some pictures of my favorite sign. In the West, there is a very popular sign posted to keep out hikers, children, senior citizens, and snoopy people in general. "WARNING-Rattlesnakes in area" is posted in the most unlikely locations, such as physician's parking lots, the patio at wineries, and wedding gazebos. Personally, I think it is a message to keep off the grass, just presented theatrically. It does grab a person's attention. In fact, at the dr's. parking lot, there are two rattlesnake warning signs about three feet apart.

2to4aday said...

Elaine: That's brilliant! If I could get my hands on a couple of those rattlesnake signs, I'll bet those people on West Lake Cowdry Road would pay big bucks for them. They'd all probably be willing to chip in for a couple of rattlesnakes, too! :)

Mommas Soapbox said...

I was busting up laughing at your post.

Dangerous country roads. LOL

By the way....that table freaked me out a bit.... nice idea but I think I would have been looking over my shoulder for either a robber or a camera.....LOL

2to4aday said...

MS: You're right, of course. That "Rest Stop" could merely be a trap set by some psycho to lure dumpy ladies in orthopaedic tennis shoes into a vulnerable position. Maybe someday, when I'm short on blog topics, I'll sit myself down in one of those flowery plastic chairs and find out what happens. Stay tuned for THAT post!

Tamara Jansen said...

What a cute post! I'm so glad that my road is not quite as fraught with dangers :)