Marine Park is about 5 kilometers from me. These days I normally run 10 km a day, 5 km out then back. The entire West Trail is over 2 km, but if I were to travel it entirely in one trip that would add about 5 km more to my run. Not that I cannot handle a 15-km run, it just adds more time to the run. So, instead of doing the entire trail in one visit, I explored it by section. Ever since some guy erroneously told me the entrance to the trail on Avenue U was also the only exit, I made it a mission to find as many exit points as I can. I usually get to the Gerritsen peninsula via Avenue X then go south a block further from the last visit then try to find the entrance. Once on the trail I would head back north and usually exit around Whitney Avenue. I don't like the Avenue U exit because Avenue U is a commercial strip. I prefer to run in residential area, where there is fewer people on the sidewalk.
During my last visit to the area, I went as far as the Gerritsen Branch Library then entered the trail behind the bus stop. Today, instead of going a block south of the library, I tried to use the same entrance but planned to go south, to explore the rest of the trail. Alas, there was some man doing clean-up near the trail entrance. I prefer to enter the desolate trail without being seen, so I went a bit south and blazed my own trail. I found some path but all side paths leading toward the creek were blocked by fallen trees. I followed the wide path and ended up at the edge of Larry Veling Memorial Field. There was another path leading back to the trail so I took that. The trail was not quiet today. There was some model airplane circling overhead and then there were two dirt-bikers roaming about. Their noisy bikes gave away their positions and soon they zoomed past on the main road. I was not sure if they were friendly and there were two of them, so I held back on the side road to let them pass without seeing me. I doubt they would take the trail that runs along the water, so that's the path I took to get to the beach at the southern end of the peninsula. For a few moments, I was by myself and heard mostly water lapping on the beach but soon I heard the sound of many dogs barking. At the bend to the beach, I came upon a group of people out letting their dogs roam about. Good thing I am not afraid of dogs and just walked through the crowd, exchanged some pleasantries with some dog owner and ignored the dogs as they circled and then followed me. After the group of dogs and their people, I soon saw Gerritsen Avenue and even some city buses. But as I approached Gerritsen Avenue I could help notice someone sun-bathing in the nude, lying face down. Whatever, I don't want to bother anyone so I just kept on going. I was going to get back on solid ground, on Gerritsen Avenue, but then I noticed path leading away from the beach so I took it. It led me to the edge of field for model airplane, from where I got off the trail and found the skate park. That's it, I pretty much walked along the entire trail. Ideally, I should go south as inland as possible then loop back north along the water trail, assuming that part is not underwater at some point. It's definitely desolate on the trail so I don't want to spend too much time there myself. If my runner friend from the Marine Park Track Club would show me some tae-kwon-do moves maybe I'll feel more confident to roam around the West Trail some more.
|If not for the occasional litter, the trail can be quite beautiful.|
|Tracks left by the two dirt-bikers.|
|Something was visible in the water.|
|Gerritsen Beach area used to have many car hulks, so I heard. It still does.|
|In the background is the group of people with many dogs. The canines enjoyed splashing in the water.|
|Airfield for model airplanes.|
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