The Germantown Museum

A project in the making

Enter Our Virtual Museum

In Times Past………..
By Andy Pouncey

Each morning at 6 a.m., I drive to the Germantown Greenway and park next to Mexican Deli. From there I walk westward to the third iron bridge, just east of the Riverdale Road entrance and return for a total of 3.25 miles. At 6 a.m. there are not many people, but much life occurs at the river.

An armadillo greeted me this morning. I have never seen an armadillo that wasn’t on his back. This one was grazing and waddled aside when I walked ahead. 

Moving westward to the Electric Overlook, there is a wonderful vista over the Wolf River (yes, vista). Someone is going to paint that picture some day. But don’t focus entirely on the river. A deer may run across the field to your left. I have walked up on three deer before and remember how we spooked each other.

Next, the hot August air is filled with the sound of the cicada in the trees. As you enter the spooky forest with the flying monkeys you hear the walkers saying “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” Sorry, got carried away with that one.

Then there is the first iron bridge over an offshoot of the Wolf. The water level is never consistent, fluctuating with the river. In this drought, it is a bridge over a sand bed. Look for creature footprints.

Take a right over the bridge and look out for the Blue Heron (looks gray to me) or the mother duck and her ducklings amongst the cattails in the wetlands. From there you pass between grassy areas where Harry and Peter Rabbit live. They don’t run and dive into the brambles anymore. They just sit and we eyeball each other as I walk through their territory. 

Past the culvert bridge is a lake that contains fish, a duck that had her ducklings later than the others and perhaps a beaver or two. You really have to get out early to beat the beaver that likes to cross over the greenway on his way to the river. You may miss him, but you may be lucky enough to see the wet track of his tail. 

If you don’t see beaver there, look below the next iron bridge continuing west. With the lack of water, they will walk through the sand from the lake to the river, but they are shy and will turn away if you make noise. 

In the near distance is the gas easement where you can see from Wolf River Boulevard to Walnut Grove Road. You get a clear view of the river before you duck back into the woods. 

The first thing that greets you is the Butterfly Garden brought to you by the Germantown 
Council of Neighborhood Associations. You get a nice view of the water from the overlook there and a glimpse of butterflies from time to time. 
At the next opening on your left (Blue Heron Rest) you may indeed catch a glimpse of a Blue Heron. Of course, you may be distracted at that time of day by the sound of Canadian Geese flying overhead.

Up the next hill, watch for turtles at you guessed it -Turtle Bayou. This is the highest overlook toward the manmade lakes and you may get even closer to the water via the boardwalk. 

Go down that hill and you may choose to rest at the log bench on the right around the curve. That’s where they left me my first time out. I was so out of shape I volunteered to hold down the bench while they ran ahead and returned my way.

After a few smaller hills you come to the final iron bridge under which there are Norwegian trolls that sound like big bullfrogs. You learn to appreciate this backwater area during all seasons of the year. Left to its own care, you are able to see the interesting changes that take place in nature.

Touch the bollard laying down beyond the bridge, turn around and experience all this life again. The Corps of Engineer straightened out the Wolf years ago, and the piles of dirt and sand excavated at that time provide the change in topography that give us the hills today and keep the experience interesting.

As you get closer to your car and to 7 a.m., the humans arrive in greater numbers. They are interesting to watch as well.

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