Tag Archives: rambling

Rambling alert! Sunday, February 16

February 10, 2014

This Sunday, February 16, the Detroit Area Rambling Network will be taking a long walk on the beach! Meet at the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle at 3:00 with your boots and other wintry accoutrements. Since there will be no coffee stops, bring your warm beverage of choice to tide you over until we’re back on the mainland.

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It’s supposed to snow, but when isn’t it supposed to snow? Like it or not, today is the first day of the official state takeover of Belle Isle as Michigan’s 102nd state park, at least until the lease runs out in 2044. Maybe by the time we get there, some snowplowing will have happened. In case of severe snow, the outing will be postponed until the following week.

As always, walking is free and open to the public. If you’ve already celebrated your birthday this year (and renewed your vehicle tabs), you’ll need a recreation passport to board the isle. You can still walk on for free.

If you miss us this time, you can amble vicariously through the rambling report, or catch up with us on the next expedition in April. Have a look at the 2014 schedule and mark your calendar accordingly.

Rambling report

January 6, 2014

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Thank you, intrepid ramblers! Snowpocalypse be damned; this weekend we walked right into the polar vortex. We met in the deserted Guardian Building lobby and traipsed through the drifts downtown, covering something like a 4.5 mile jaunt for which most ramblers were surprised to find themselves overdressed as temperatures graciously hovered near freezing.

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We cut through a number of buildings, exploring interior and exterior spaces connecting various destinations, following an excellent route planned with historic preservationist Timothy Boscarino and Joe Krause of Backseat Detroit tours, whose knowledge of the city may be as vast as the city itself. You can also catch up with Joe on select Saturday afternoons when he guides walking tours for D:hive.

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The elevated tubes at the Millender and Renaissance Centers gave us shelter and perspective as we made our way to the riverfront, an essential stop in any downtown sojourn. The only ship in our foggy field of vision was a motionless freighter, waiting out the storm. Ramblers worried about a lone family of ducks whose runty offspring were bravely surfing the icebergs.

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We squiggled through the deeper accumulations in Hart Plaza, untouched by buses and business as usual. Finding the snow imperfect for sculpting snowmen, a halfhearted snowball fight broke out.

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Aiming to traverse as many tunnels as possible, we were foiled by locked doors at Joe Louis Arena, which was just as well, judging by the scent making its way out of the window grates. Intentionally or otherwise, we made a fairly complete survey of every set of stairs in the area.

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After some alleys and a visit to Capitol Park, the ramble ended at dusk, with 50% of ramblers in favor of looping back to Lafayette for consolation coneys and pie, the whole group disappointed by the dearth of establishments open and ready to serve them hot coffee during the ramble. We were undoubtedly the snowiest patrons there this slow evening.

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Rambling home later in the night, I happened upon success where earlier we had failed — a snowman stood in the middle of a field, wearing an uncertain expression as the wind gusted mightily.

Rambling alert! Sunday, January 5

December 30, 2013

This Sunday, January 5, the Detroit Area Rambling Network invites you to take a darn hike! We’ll be meeting at the Guardian Building at 3:00 to make some intriguing loops through downtown during off hours.

Walking is free and open to the public. In case of unsavory weather, the outing will be postponed until the following week, so check back for updates.

If you miss this adventure you can keep pace online with the rambling report, or catch up with us February 16 on Belle Isle, where we’ll take a long walk on the beach for Valentine’s weekend. Have a look at our 2014 schedule and mark your calendar accordingly.

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In distantly related awesomeness, voting for National Geographic Adventurer of the Year is going on until the end of January. One candidate is Sarah Marquis, a solo female explorer who’s walked thousands of miles across several continents. “For me, walking is more than walking. I’m like a little bridge between humans and nature,” she explains. Certainly her career highlights make for more inspiring reading than the average LinkedIn profile.

While no one is going to win this prestigious title on our ramble, we also won’t have to contend with -22 degree temperatures, six months on the Gobi desert staying alive by collecting drops of condensation in a plastic bag, unruly Mongolian horsemen, or surviving a bout of dengue fever. That said, you should definitely come ramble with us!

Rambling report

November 11, 2013

We’re back from another successful ramble this weekend, just in time for the first snow. Thanks very much to the intrepid souls and soles who made yesterday’s walk possible. Nobody even got a flat tire. It was a satisfying jaunt covering about 6.5 miles and three places where vehicles are unlikely to be found — pedestrian bridges, a car-free street, and train tracks.

We started in the Woodbridge Pub Community Garden, moving northeast against wind and traffic din across three pedestrian bridges spanning M-10 and I-94, the endangered status of which warrants frequent checks on their perseverance. In between, we admired a stand of Detroit’s ubiquitous milkweed and speculated on its warmth as a jacket filler.

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After stopping for beverages to warm our hands at Stella Good Coffee in the Fisher building, we tried to explore underground tunnels advertised on the green Michigan historical site plaque in the lobby. The tunnels were appealing but mostly inaccessible, protected by glass sliding doors that slide aside for authorized personnel only. Reemerging to find the wind had died down, we resumed our northeasterly path.

Our destination was the charming carless block of Pallister, where houses face a brick-paved street ending in a nice park (surveillance cameras in use, a sign warned). While in the neighborhood, we visited Virginia Park, another oddly curved street that truncates at a small green space and low brick wall at Woodward.

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Leaves crunched underfoot. None of the usual fauna were present on this walk — no dogs on leashes, no strays on the tracks, barely any pigeons. Instead there were the graffiti iguana guarding the pedestrian overpasses, a skeleton at the side of the train tracks, and on Virginia Park, one rambler yelled about seeing whole turkeys. Another gullible rambler scrutinized the shrubbery before realizing that the birds were advertised at an eatery across the street.

We went south on Third, cut back to Second, and boarded the train tracks at the easy-access ramp so generous it looks like it was designed with ADA compliance in mind.

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The subject of urban exploration came up, and we discussed the meaning of the phrase in the days before Instagram and vanilla ruin porn, back when the infamous zine Infiltration was a most admired source of information on sneaking and entering with finesse. “It used to mean something a lot more like this, I think,” rambler Timothy Boscarino commented. “A certain way of interacting with the built environment. Wandering around seeing what there is to see.”

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Trains came and went, passing us like large, sedately lumbering beasts, and we watched the sun descend before exiting the tracks and winding back through the north end of Woodbridge as evening set in.

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Rambling alert: this Sunday, 11.10.13!

November 7, 2013

This Sunday, November 10, the Detroit Area Rambling Network suggests you take a darn hike! We will be meeting at the Woodbridge Pub Community Garden at 2:00 and venturing out on a walk, returning at sunset or thereabouts. Warming up with beverages and Sunday evening Pie-Sci at the Woodbridge Pub is a potential bonus for successful completion of the ramble.

We hope you can be part of making this happen! Walking is free and open to the public. Let’s have some fun together.

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Rambling report

November 13, 2012

Warm thanks to all who rambled with us this weekend! The weather was unexpectedly lovely. We convened in Scripps Park at 3:00 and enjoyed a modest southerly circuit. At the riverfront we sunbathed momentarily and admired the willows, the sinkholes in the concrete, the typeface of the United States Post Office sign. We then headed north, winding through Corktown, past the train station, and paused for refreshments at Astro Coffee.

The stately USPS Fort branch.

We used a pedestrian bridge, innumerable sidewalks, some roads and fields, and one forlorn playground. We only met one dog, and only one person that we know of trod through dog poop.

Some ramblers up ahead on the bridge.

We saw the usual amount of outdoor art, and one cardboard box full of salad (no dressing) that may or may not have been a part of art.

While we were out, we talked enthusiastically about future walks. For those who were unable to make it on Sunday, don’t worry — we will be rambling again soon.