Monday, June 01, 2009

'Round Randolph

I don't suppose anyone really spent any time wondering where the pictures in this blog's previous entry were taken. After all, it's not as if I have the money to travel right now. But in case you did wonder, yes, it was in Tucson, and no, it's not Reid Park. It is, however, adjacent to Reid Park, on the "David Bell Multi-Use Path" that surrounds Randolph Park.

(N.B. Numbers in red refer to the photos in the entry below this one, numbered from top to bottom.)

Randolph Park is twice the size of Reid Park, occupying the entire eastern half of the square mile between Broadway and 22nd, Alvernon and Country Club. Reid Park only covers the southern half of the remaining area, the rest being taken up by an historic, upscale neighborhood. Most of Randolph Park is golf course, and the rest is tennis courts and a handful of Parks & Recreation buildings.

Now I knew all this, but on Thursday evening around 6 PM I nevertheless decided to take Cayenne and Pepper on the jogging path that runs past Randolph Park along 22nd Street. Had I done my research or the math, or realized that the vast majority of Randolph is closed off to non-golfers, I would have known that the path is three miles long (2.98 miles, but close enough). It runs west from Alvernon to Randolph Way, up Randolph to Broadway, east along Broadway to Alvernon and back down Alvernon to 22nd. There is no shortcut, no way to shorten the walk other than to turn back before you get halfway - which I refused to do.

From David Bell Path Around Randolph Park

The first part of the walk was unexpectedly pretty. It wound past that multi-purpose city building I photographed for an Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot several weeks ago (2), quickly disposing of the urban setting in favor of a very lush, green tree-lined creek (1). I heard redwings and even a frog. This in turn gave way to a manmade "urban lake," as Parks and Rec would call it, with the golf course in the distance behind it. I had never seen either that creek or that particular lake before, or even suspected their existence.

The path then dumped us back on 22nd St., on the stretch I drive past every day on the way to the dog park. That stretch of road is lined with banners advertising the Toros. I approve.

Randolph Way lies halfway between Alvernon Way and Country Club Road, and marks the boundary between Randolph and Reid Parks. It also leads to the entrance of Reid Park Zoo and then, about half a mile in, the Hi Corbett Field ballpark. I should have turned back at the south end of Randolph Way, but I did not. As I passed the Hi Corbett parking lot I asked someone on the path if it led back to Alvernon up ahead. She said that it did, and failed to mention that first one had to go all the way to Broadway.

Just past the ballpark, at the corner of Camino Campestre, I rested briefly at a little plaza celebrating the life of Mr. Randolph himself. Epes Randolph, it turns out, was a civil engineer and an executive with the Southern Pacific Railroad in the early 20th Century. He was an investor in mines (I found online some case law related to someone trying to rip him over the price and ownership of a mine in Mexico) and hotels, including the Santa Rita Hotel in Tucson, which I've photographed. He suffered from tuberculosis, but it didn't slow him down much. He presided over a successful attempt to save Imperial Valley, California from the Colorado River changing its course, after other plans and engineers had failed (3). He hired Native Americans in his projects, and expressed respect for honest labor, whether with hands or the brain. Sounds like a good guy.

When it became obvious that there was no route back to the car except to a) walk another mile and a half down Broadway and then Alvernon or b) retrace my steps and save maybe a quarter mile of walking, I called John. He was all for my turning around, but I explained it was too late. And really, I don't regret it at all. It was an interesting walk. Aside from the creek and Mr Randolph's plaza, I was quite interested in this sign about wild coyotes who had been "collared," much as birds are banded.

The Broadway stretch was directly across the street from El Con Mall, a semi-dead mall I'll write about at length one of these days. Eventually the path veered away from the street to run past some of the Randolph Park tennis courts. (4) A mother was walking ahead of me with a little boy. I decided that if a small child could handle this walk, then so could I. Not that I had much doubt at that point!

By the time I got past the tennis center, and approached the Doubletree on the other side of the street, it was getting dark. On my side of the street I passed, among other buildings, a pottery studio, and wondered how much use it got. Beyond that was the golf course entrance and then, last before the beginning of the path and the parking lot containing my car, the driving range where people go to "hit a bucket of balls." Even at night it's a popular spot. (5)

About 8 PM we made it back to the car. The dogs seemed at least as worn out as I was, and glad enough to go home. No dog park that day.

Next time, I think I'll turn around at Randolph Way.


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