With the smell of sewage, and the sound of running water, I eventually came across “Clear Creek”. While the sight of the inaccessible body of water was nice, the smell was not. The creek provided, for me, a sense of home. Where I live, there are creeks, streams, ponds, and lakes in nearly every corner. The trees, the creek, and the humidity reminded me of home.
The sign that describes how this “Clear” creek is an urban creek that contains sewage, and cannot be swam in, came as a sudden reminder as to where I was located. I was in a city. And this creek, while a beautiful sight, was filled with sewage and “runoff contaminants” that would prevent me from enjoying the water. I suppose there’s only so much you can do to create a sense of nature in the midst of an urban metropolis.
The Eastside Beltline was mostly deserted with the exception of a jogger or biker every 10 minutes or so. As I walked, I could not help but feel isolated in a hideaway inside the city “too busy to hate”. The skies were clear, the wind was calm, and the Beltline was a beautiful site to see. The smells were no different to any park, other than the occasional overpowering scent of sewage. The main trail had several winding, hidden trails, as pictured in the third image. Through following these seemingly secret trails, they usually never led anywhere interesting. The only souvenir I took from taking these hidden paths were several insect bites (whose presence was overwhelming). Overall, the feeling the trail gave was almost an eery, isolated feeling. However, this may be different on weekends.
As you walk the Beltline trail, it’s easy to forget you are in the middle of an urban city such as Atlanta. The sound of the cicadas and the rushing water in the creeks make it easy to feel surrounded by nature. However, occasionally the trail comes too close to interstate 85, or a plane leaves Hartsville-Jackson, and the average passerby is reminded of the city. Another factor that comes into play is the occasional stretches of the Beltline that run next to industrial and other business buildings.
Despite the small hints of the city during my walk, I could not help but feel as though I has successfully escaped from the city landscape. The greenery, the smells, and the sounds made me think of home.
The Eastside Beltline trail can be most easily accessed through the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Piedmont Park. This section of the trail turned out to be very thin, rocky, and generally unnoticeable. Walking around Piedmont Park, the Beltline was virtually invisible. Without looking specifically for the trail, it would have been very difficult for the average park visitor to simply stumble upon the trail. As pictured, the trail has some remnants of its history as one of the main train rails around Atlanta.
On the average weekday evening, the trail seems virtually unused. The occasional jogger or biker may pass by, but there’s nearly no one there. In either direction, there are no big attractions or destinations, just more trail, with the occasional piece of artwork.
Throughout the Eastside Beltline Trail, numerous mysterious works of art and sculpture can be found. “Thad’s Shadow” was an interactive, mechanical sculpture that required someone to sit down on a blue bench and rotate the pedals to allow the sculpture to move. This movement caused the figure to ring the chimes pictured. The figure itself was very strangely shaped and seemingly random. Any specific meaning behind the sculpture is unknown. It was located in an open, gravelly part of the trail with no other nearby landmarks.