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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Exploring the Neighborhood on Foot

Not far from where Old Dixie Highway joins Aripeka Road there is currently an interesting parcel of land, currently accessible to the public. I was disappointed to learn that this area was not swapped to Pasco County by SunWest but the other way around, and it is slated to become, eventually, a golf course. I have nothing against golf. I have dear friends who are golfers. But have you ever known a golf course to revert to wild land accessible to the public? Yet much “undeveloped” (I call it “wild”) land is turned into golf courses. Is there some national shortage of golf courses? Is there a national shortage of condominiums? –But let me not become distracted by my wishes for a different future from that planned by developers, because the truth is that the present world offered us some very pleasing new vistas on Sunday afternoon in our Aripeka neighborhood. Also, my negative remarks in the last post didn't go over very well, so here's some happy talk today.

Any chance to get off the road on foot, away from cars and houses and commerce, is a delight. When there is water involved, the delight is compounded. Sun on the water? Signs of spring? Boundless joy!

The pond is a former limestone quarry. Limestone mining was a big thing around here, most of the material (I think this is correct) going for road base. A little distance away from the pond, the remains of an old roadbed lead to the remains of a building that once stood on the spot, housing an office, stone crusher and scales. Any kind of “ruins” bring out the amateur archaeologist (i.e., little kid) in me, and the closer one approaches, the more small details one finds to observe and appreciate.

Like Leelanau County’s Lime Lake, these old quarries with their limestone bottoms are remarkably blue. The bottoms of old quarries, however, do not slope gently.

The same informant who told us what the old building was used for also speculated that the pond may be 30 or 40 feet deep. When Sarah impulsively decided to step in for a swim, she was surprised and startled to find that her feet weren’t touching bottom and that it was pretty difficult to scramble up a vertical shore--not the piece of underwater shore pictured above but over on the other side of the pond. Still, a dog swim is usually a good swim. It’s invigorating and gives a dog a glorious sense of freedom before going back on the leash.


Dawn said...

Lovely walk on lovely land. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Sarah! (PJ, you must've about had a heart attack.)

I suppose the quarry pond will make quite a satisfactory water hazard.

P. J. Grath said...

Water hazard. Took me a minute, as a nongolfer, to relate that phrase to the old quarry pond, but I'm sure it will serve that purpose.