Urban Hiking is at once an act of desperation, and a celebration of place. I am finding more and more in my life that the experience of one is necessary for the existence of the other.
Urban Hiking is a response to the city.
It is a reclaiming of the tucked away spaces within a metropolitan area that are hidden, These places are everywhere, and often connected with one another, They are where you will hear birds singing. Some of them are catalogued and associated with an official public space, and others are hidden, and known only (if at all) by the people whose fenced off yards sequester their space from that space.
Urban Hiking, like skateboarding, is about taking back the wilderness. The invisibility of this wilderness to most of the population makes it special. In a place where asphalt and cars and buildings seamlessly meet one another, and where every square foot of space is owned by some entity, Urban Hiking is about survival. Survival of the plants and animals who call those spaces home, and survival of the few humans who need to know themselves in a natural context even as city dwellers.
These spaces often have trails - some better worn than others. They often run under larger city street bridges, under which some of the homeless population finds shelter, and through which graffiti artists have etched out a hidden trail of art known about only by themselves and the homeless who live in their galleries.
Some of the trails begin behind city parks, some of them on 'private land'. Some of them begin beside a softball field, or behind a shopping center, and others begin in between houses, or past industrial brown fields. They are sometimes paved, and more often traced by trails that are almost imperceptible unless you know what to look for.
What will follow are vignettes that will traverse these spaces. My interest is to encourage the more adventurous to walk these trails, and to find their own. It is also to demonstrate to the less adventurous that there is a wilderness nearby, and to soften their urban concerns with the knowledge that freedom often exists is just around the corner.