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Thursday, August 13, 2009

12th and Grand, Part 2: A brief odyssey

In most of my 100-plus posts on Astoria, Oregon, Daily Photo, I've limited the photos to one per day, following the suggested format, and also as a personal discipline (I post tons of photos on my personal blog). However, today I'm taking you on an odyssey. The length is only a few yards (or metres). In this post, I showed the uphill intersection of 12th and Grand, where 12th morphs from a street to a path "to where?" In today's post, I'm showing you where it goes. The photo above is the downhill side of the 12th and Grand intersection - they're actually quite a few yards apart, as Grand ends in one latitude and starts up again in another. I've taken the photo above looking up, up, UP, because that's how the land lies.

"Two paths diverged in a wood." The one to the left is a private drive. The path you can barely see going up the hill into the trees is the public "street" - here nothing more than a walking trail. The building to the left is currently the Church of Christ, and was at one time an obscure fraternal order. I'll have more on that someday if I re-photograph the building.

The beginning of the path is nicely paved, but steep, and made a little bit treacherous with loose stones and gravel. Anyplace as old as Astoria (the oldest European American community west of the Rocky Mountains), is going to have some wonderfully strange archaic places, and this is one of them.

A few feet up the path, you encounter a stairway to get up the steep slope. Let me tell you, it's old and somewhat slippery - hence, the hand rail.

Here are the tiny steps. Don't ask me what year they were installed. It's been awhile.

Now we break out into the light again onto a paved trail. The visual end point here is just about where the photo in the other post ended. You can see it's not very long.

From where I took the last photo, I turned around to go back down. You have two choices: the stairs on the right (shown above) or the dirt path on the left. I figured I wanted to go back down on my feet, not on my butt, so I chose the stairs. It's steeper than it looks.

Ah! The view from the bottom of the trail. You see Grand going away on the left, and 12th plunging down one of Astoria's steeper hills on the right, headed for the river. Ahead of us is one of the most beautiful old Italianate Victorian houses in town. I've heard that it has quite a history, and it will deserve a post all its own someday.

As a new resident, I don't have much history with this corner of town, and as I said in the first post about 12th Street and Grand, I had never taken the trail before, imagining that it was private property rather than a city street. I'll bet there are a number of Astorians who could tell tales about this hidden trail.

On the blog's Facebook Page, Branden Wilson said, "These are soo much fun to TRY and climb when it's raining cats and dogs." Bon Asher said, "Even more fun Branden, when we get the ice/snow!! haha" Sandra Wilson said, "so cool...we love these paths." Stephanie Roley commented, "I'm surprised you haven't used the path before. It has always been one my favorite ways to get up the hill. It doesn't seem quite as steep as some of the other routes but I wouldn't want to try the stairs in the rain."

Someday I'll be investigating the "steeper routes." I do know where some of them are!


TheFrogBag said...

Wow, how beautiful and mysterious! Watch out, some of those "hidden" paths might just lead right out of our reality into some kind of fairy tale realm!

Don and Krise said...

This reminds me of my neighborhood growing up and the shortcuts we would take whether walking or tearing through town on our bikes. Good investigative work!

cieldequimper said...

This is great! I remember the older post in which you wondered! I'll be waiting for the "steeper routes" now, but you be careful, we don't want you on your... ummm... ;-)

Jacob said...

What a super series of shots...with the commentary it was like reading a short story with photos! Terrific place, terrific photos! Lots of fun. And the Italianate Victorian is to die for!

Jon said...

I used to walk that path every day when I was a teenager. it was the easiest way to get to the down town area from my house on the other side of the hill.

Vogon Poet said...

You discovered and followed a path for us and that was very funny. I'm obviously curious about the other steeper routes, the beautiful house and even of the obscure fraternal order. Very good post and nice photos.

Babooshka said...

I'm all for a little rule breaking and with a virtual journey like this you just have too. I often wander down a road or path with the camera. Who knows what you'll find.

nrpittard1 said...

Can hardly wait for the history on the house.

nrpittard1 said...

Can hardly wait for the history on the house.

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